Febrile seizures… I never knew what these were until last Saturday night, and it will be a part of me forever. Last weekend was supposed to be great! We had family in from out of town, who have two kids, similar to my daughter’s age. We had lots of fun things planned… going to the Philadelphia Zoo was one of them. When my daughter, let’s call her “M”, woke up on Saturday, she seemed a bit cranky, but she is also only 22 months old and has her fair share of mood swings, so I brushed it off. At the zoo M seemed fine, but towards the end of our trip she appeared tired and fell asleep in her stroller. I figured maybe she was just overtired.
When we got home she felt a tad warm, so I gave her some Tylenol. She took a brief nap, and like any other weekend day, we did one of her favorite activities and went to the park. M was running around with her cousins and having a blast. We got back at around 6:00 PM and she crashed. She was lethargic and she felt warm. My husband and I were trying to think of our next move: Do we take her to the urgent care? Do we give her Tylenol to bring the fever down and put her to bed? Also, I should note that she has never been sick before. Sure, she has had a cold and one ear infection, but never sick with a high fever. Within 10 minutes, the most horrific moment of our lives happened. She started convulsing in my arms, and her body went limp. “She’s going to die”, I thought. I yelled for someone to call 911. We laid her on the couch, which we now know should have been a hard surface. We turned her on her side and tried to comfort her. The whole world stopped around me. Is this real? Is this really happening? The paramedics arrived within 5 minutes (it literally felt like 5 hours), and thankfully she had stopped seizing by that point.
We were rushed to Doylestown Hospital by ambulance, where her temperature had spiked to 106 degrees. We had an amazing group of nurses and doctors helping us, and they were able to reduce her temperature to a normal degree. Thankfully, my parents also met us at the ER because my husband and I were both in need of emotional support. This was devastating. How could this be happening to our baby? After 6 longs hours in the ER, and multiple tests performed, we were discharged. This was also so scary. What do you mean we are free to go? Shouldn’t she be observed longer? What if it happens again? How do we keep her safe? We arrived home after midnight, we knew neither of us were going to be able to sleep. We decided we should camp out on the floor in her room. Every little movement she made, we jumped… it was awful.
We are now 3 days post the incident, and we are still so shaken up. We had been to her pediatrician, done all of the research we could on febrile seizures, spoke with nurses and doctors we personally know, and we are still a mess. The thought of leaving her is agonizing. We can’t get any of it out of our heads. Will it ever get better? We are told it will, but just like everything else, it will take time.
How does this tie into exercise and working out? Well, I can’t even bear the thought of leaving M, so every class I had scheduled between Saturday and Tuesday have been canceled. I have not been taking care of myself. I am anxious all day every day. I am worried. Will this happen again? There is a 30% chance that it will. I have not slept since Friday, I have maybe eaten one meal a day, and I have not exercised since last week. This just goes to show that even though I am a crazy person when it comes to staying physically fit, something so traumatizing can throw me off my routine entirely. M, is who is important. I am sure any mom (or parent) would agree that your child(ren) come first. I keep trying to tell myself that she is OK, and that tomorrow is a new day. One day at a time. Just breathe. Tomorrow, my goal is to go to an exercise class, and to leave M with my husband. It will only be an hour… baby steps. Wish me luck!
I really hope that none of you reading this will ever go through this experience. It is traumatic, and unnatural, and no one wants to see their child unwell. If anyone has experienced this, and wants to offer advice or suggestions, or maybe even needs any advice or suggestions from me, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Thank you for reading. Sometimes talking it through can make a huge difference.