Friday night I was solo parenting at home with DS (18 months). DS was a bit fussy and took an extra hour to go to sleep. He was up again at 11:30 for an hour, then up at 2:30 with a high fever. 104.3. I gave him ib-profen and a bottle of milk. I called the emergency room to find out if it was high enough to bring him in. They said to give him Tylenol as well and monitor the fever, but that I could bring him in if I wanted to. He had fallen asleep by then so I just kept checking his forehead and his fever seemed to be coming down. He woke early but was mostly his normal self. We headed to my inlaws Saturday around 11. When we got there DS hung out for a bit then went down for a nap. I went to take a nap too.
Then the terror started...
I woke to my MIL screaming that DS wasn't breathing. I was dazed for a second, then jumped to life. I took DS's limp body from my FIL and ran to the couch. I thought he was choking on something and flipped him over and pounded on his back. Nothing happened and I flipped him back over and reached into his mouth and throat. I couldn't feel anything. I leaned down, after shouting to everyone to shut up, and could hear ragged, gasping breaths. FIL was talking to 911 on the phone and MIL had run out to get my SIL who lives next door, to go get DH and BIL. DS was limp, but his neck, head and jaw were rigid. There was a tinge of blood by his lips, but I think it was from FIL and I trying to check to see if there was anything blocking his airway. I sat on the couch with DS in my lap. His eyes were staring off. For a few moments he would look at me, then they would roll back a bit to the side. FIL was still on the phone with 911 and the ambulance was en route, but from the highschool home coming game which was 10 miles farther away than they should have been.
MIL's sister and cousin (a mom and prior EMT) heard the call on the police scanner and flew up to the house. Jenny, the cousin, ran inside to us. She was more clear minded than I was at that time and realized that this was likely a seizure due to his fever. We took his temp (105.3) and she helped me get him undressed and we got cool cloths on him. DH and BIL rushed in too. I was vacillating between being calm and trying to get DS to keep looking at me and hysterical panic crying out for the ambulant and EMTs. Finally a state trooper arrived, followed by an emergency responder and then FINALLY the ambulance. They had us give him IBProfen. He was breathing better but still mostly unresponsive. I carried him to the ambulance and laid him on the stretcher. DH couldn't ride with us, but he rode with SIL in her car right behind us. In the ambulance they hooked him up to sticky pad things on his arms and legs and a monitor on his finger. His heart rate was fast, but slowly slowing down. His blood oxygen was in the normal range. He finally started moving his head a bit and looking around and on and off he started crying. His eyes followed the EMTs hand and were dilating. We got down to the ER and they wheeled him in. DH was there and I had a vice grip on the stretcher making sure I didn't get pulled away. We had to wait a few minutes for a room, but he was already a lot more responsive. They let me pick him up and we finally got a room. A nurse came in and took his vitals and temp. It was down to 103.5. He was just in a diaper at this point. We had to wait for the doctor for what seemed like forever. The doctor finally came in and we recounted what had happened. She did an exam and he had an ear infection in his right ear. DS had started to doze off and I kept my hand on his chest to make sure he kept breathing. DH, SIL and MIL were there with us. They came in to do blood work and hook up an external catheter for a urine sample. (A plastic bag with an adhesive opening that they stick to him around his penis and testicles.) They made me lay him down on the bed for the blood work, but let DH and I stay with him and hold him. He screamed and screamed, but they did an IV hep lock, so it was only one stick. (They got it on the first try, thank God!) He was then mostly upset at being held down while they drew blood for the tests. They wrapped his arm and once they were done he cried for a little while before falling asleep again. Then we waited. They took rectal temps every hour and his temp continued to drop. They gave him antibiotics and tylenol. Every time he woke, he would cry for a while before finally drifting back to sleep. I finally called my parents to let them know what was going on. At that point it looked like they would just be monitoring him for a while, and since he was now responsive and acting normal (for being sick and tired) we would follow up with our pediatrician on Monday. They decided to give him IV fluids since he was refusing to drink anything. We remembered (well MIL and SIL remembered) a couple diapers and his blanket, but no bottle or sippy. He didn't have the patience for a straw which he's used before, so he refused the milk they brought. MIL went to the drug store across the street and bought a bottle. He slept through them hooking up the IV, doing a rectal temp and (miraculously) them removing the catheter bag. But the IV machine was finicky and kept beeping. Eventually the nurse just stayed in the room holding his arm out strait, which woke him up. But after the IV was done, he drank over 6 oz of milk from the bottle. His temp was 97 and stayed there for 2 hours, so they discharged us home.
His temp has continued to rise if we don't keep alternating IB Profen and Tylenol, but we have a follow up with our pediatrician this afternoon. He's drinking milk and some water and eating a little now and then, but not a lot. Thankfully he is still peeing and pooping, so he is at least getting enough to maintain for now.
This was the scariest day of my life. DS had choked once before, but I got the piece of food out and he was fine. This was a whole different level. I have to purposefully stop myself from thinking about what happened because my mind floods with images of him before we got into the ambulance and I'm paralyzed with fear and anxiety. I tried writing this post a few times already, but couldn't bear it. Hopefully writing this now will help some.
Has anyone had a similar experience with febrile seizures? Did they recur or was it a one time incident? Did your LO have a follow up EEG? Any after effects?
How do I cope with the ongoing fear and worry? I'm so scared of his fever rising again. I'm scared to send him back to daycare because I'm 35 minutes away at work. I'm scared to leave him home alone with DH. After he choked, anytime he gagged on anything or coughed while eating I could feel the adrenaline rush and I started to panic that he was choking again. That lasted months and still comes back now and then. I came into work today because I had to deal with a few things before leaving to go to DS's doctor appointment (and you can see how productive I am being at work now...). I just want to go back home with DS.