Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Caleb's First ER Trip

This past Monday, Caleb woke up with a fever from a cold. The day before, David had taken Josiah to the doctor to check up on his cold (which had lasted a week) and it turns out he was fine. However, the doctor gave the advice that when children have a fever (even up to 106 degrees) that it is wise to wait it out for the first three days and not give Tylenol or Motrin, so that the fever can kill the virus off quicker. Taking that advice, I did notice Caleb's temp increased steadily throughout the day though didn't seem to "spike," (as that would be an indication for febrile seizures) once taken under the arm 101.5 (add a degree) and then later 103.5. I was very tempted to give him Motrin as he was very lethargic and whatnot, but he was so sleepy and so I just let him sleep instead. Soon after he fell asleep on the chair, I heard him start to cry and so I ran over to see what had happened. He was having a febrile seizure, and so I quickly called for David (who was working from home that day) and he came out to care for him while I searched for the phone to dial 911.

When the firemen came, they checked his vitals and his temp was 104.7 in the ear!! His heartrate was of course elevated and he seemed to still be asleep afterward as he wasn't responding well to us or the fireman. Once he cooled down a bit (they took off his pants and got a cold cloth for his head) he sort of woke up and then started to cry again when he saw the fireman. He said at that point that we should give him a dose of Motrin, so I got that out for him. The paramedic soon arrived with the ambulance and took down all the information, and then advised us to have him go to the ER since it was his first seizure. Also, he was still very out of it and they said it would be best to transport him in the ambulance in case he had another seizure...I wasn't arguing with that. He looked horrible at this point! I called our babysitter's mom and got them to come over to watch the other two kiddos and rode in the ambulance to the hospital and then when the babysitters arrived, David also came to the hospital in the car.

It turns out that David got to Tacoma General before we did, as the ambulance driver took a very circuitous route to the hospital. Apparently, the paramedic in the back informed me that he was used to driving around Sumner and wasn't as familiar with the Milton/Fife area. I could have thought of two shorter routes than the one he took! Oh well, thankfully by that point, Caleb had calmed down and was falling asleep in the ambulance. He kept looking with his eyes only to the right, which the paramedic said is sometimes a side effect of the seizure. Eventually, his eyes returned to normal and he would look both ways again.

The doctor in the ER informed us that his seizure was of course related to his high temperature and that in the future we should treat any temperature of his with a regime of Tylenol and alternating Motrin every 3-4 hours to prevent future problems with febrile seizures. We stayed in the ER room until Caleb could show he could take some fluids (a popsicle--he loved it) without throwing up. He was very shaky and wanted to sit with me or Daddy at all times. We did lay him down on the bed though for a bit and laid my coat underneath him to keep a Mommy smell around him. A couple times in what seemed like a deep sleep, he would jerk out of sleep and tried to roll over and nearly fell off the bed! I had to sit by the bed in order to catch him just in case.

When he first come home from the hospital, Daniel greeted him and gave him a hug and kiss and Caleb gave a sweet shy smile back. He wanted to walk, but wasn't too steady on his feet yet. I asked him if he was hungry and he tried to run to his highchair (like usual) and he tripped and fell and did a face plant on the rug. This was NOT popular. His legs were not cooperating very well!

We were told that after a seizure that usually a child will sleep a long time as the seizure really takes it out of them! However, we found the opposite to be true that he wanted to be awake and was extremely restless and kept waking up screaming the entire night. I began to wonder if he was scared to sleep, since he had the seizure during his nap. I'm not sure if he would have a memory of that necessarily, but maybe? It wasn't until the next day after repeated attempts at getting him to take a nap, did he finally sleep for a straight hour (3:30-4:30pm) and after that he was a little happier and more like himself, although still very shaky. That night, he slept VERY soundly (much to our relief) and the following day was back to his normal self. We knew that if he started to break out into random dance that he would prove his normal Caleb-ness was back, and he did a little jig for David in the morning.

Febrile seizures are common in young children with high temps, and also there is a higher risk if someone in the family has had them. I had them also around the same age as Caleb, so there you go. Needless to say, we learned a lesson and will be very careful about fevers from now on for sure!

Thanks for all who prayed for our precious little one. We are very thankful that he is back to normal and not hospitalized or permanently injured or whatever!

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