Friday, March 07, 2014

Part 3: The night we could've lost Brody

Read part 1 & part 2 first.

"Da da," Brody said looking at Klay who is standing in front of him.

A few gasps of relief fell out of Klay and I, along with the strangers in the room. Everyone stopped talking; all focus was on Brody.

"Hey, buddy," Klay said immediately moving down on the floor to be close to Brody.

Brody looks around examining everyone, rolls over and sits my lap. I can't imagine his confusion. Last thing he knew, it was the three of us. Now there's a room of at least 10 people.

Everyone is talking to him. "Look at all of these people who came to see you Bro. Can you say hi?" I say trying to see if he would talk.

He responded by smiling; that was a good sign.

The paramedics explain that it was most likely a febrile seizure caused by an illness and a sudden spike in fever. "I just don't get it. He wasn't shaking like a seizure," I said to them.

The police officer advises us to take him to Children's Hospital in Dallas to get checked out. Klay and I scramble to get our things together as they place Brody on the stretcher. Now, he brings out the water works. He doesn't like being strapped down and taken away from the house with these strange people.

Since they only allow one person in the ambulance, Klay said he'll follow in my car and make the calls to our parents.

The ride in the ambulance was loud, bumpy and cold. There was a chance of sleet that night, and it was sprinkling while we were en route.

Brody became a little restless and anxious, but fell asleep just before we arrived. In the meantime, I answered all of the paramedic's questions and called our parents and my sister to update them and ensure he was OK. They ask if they should to come out to Children's but I told them to hold off because of the bad weather and I'd keep them posted once we talked to the doctor.

By the time we got there it was probably 11:30 p.m. or so. We were exhausted and Brody's diaper needing changing. His pants were soiled and it seemed he suffered from loose bowels during the seizure.

The doctor agreed it was a febrile seizure. Even though he didn't shake, he was rigid which is less common, but that's what they diagnosed.

Apparently, febrile seizures are hereditary. What I didn't know then is that it runs in my family on my mom's side. Febrile seizures is mostly common among kids, and there is a chance he may have more until the age of 5-6. It normally phases off then. They also said this may be his only one; he may never have another.

I've always heard from people through the years that high fever can cause seizures. I think this is misleading to those who don't know much about febrile seizures. They are much more common than you'd think, according to doctors. Take a look at these facts from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes:

  • Approximately one in every 25 children will have at least one febrile seizure, and more than one-third of these children will have additional febrile seizures before they outgrow the tendency to have them. 
  • Febrile seizures usually occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years and are particularly common in toddlers.
  • Children rarely develop their first febrile seizure before the age of 6 months or after 3 years of age. 
  • The older a child is when the first febrile seizure occurs, the less likely that child is to have more.

If you take away anything from this story, let it be this: It is not how high the temperature gets, but the sudden spike in fever that causes them. I'm not saying high fever won't cause them to convulse but what I've been told, the sudden spike is the primary cause. The fever is accompanied with illness, obviously; it's the illness though that lowers their threshold for seizures. And a sudden spike either up or down can cause someone to seize. That's why doctors say never put them in a cold bath, don't keep them covered if they're warm, etc.

OK, back to that night:

The nurses and doctors had been in and out checking Brody's fever with a temporal scanner (aka head thermometer). I have a beef with these devices. In my experiences with these devices they are more than a few points away from an accurate reading. Remember when I talked about Bro being sick two weeks prior to this incident? Well, while I was at the doctor's office with Brody, he was running fever and we could tell from touching his forehead. The nurse used a temporal scanner to check it and it came out normal. She voiced that he felt feverish to her, so she wanted to double check. She went to grab an ear thermometer and it read 102.1. That is a ridiculous difference, people! He had woke up running fever the night prior to that, and it read 101.5, but he felt really hot to Klay and I. We used a temporal scanner, which probably meant it was much much higher than that. Later that day I went and purchased an ear thermometer for better accuracy.

Because most doctor's offices and hospitals use these thermometers, we carry our ear thermometer wherever we go.

When I asked Children's to take it another way, they said they didn't have anything else (except for rectal). That was either BS or laziness; I think both.

We had ours on hand and checked it, I mentioned this to the doctor and nurses, who disregarded it. Brody still had a fever, but it wasn't quite as high (around 100ish). But by their records it was 98, so he was in the clear.

They discharged us at 1-ish a.m. and Klay brought the car around front so B and I didn't have to walk far in the cold.

Leave it to me to get lost on my way out of the hospital (while still inside, mind you), calling Klay on his cell to come and find me. I'm directionally challenged.

Once the hubs rescues us, we walk out to the car, covering Brody with Klay's jacket and strapping him into his carseat. He is awake. I sat in the back with Brody just in case something were to happen on the way home. I wasn't letting this kid out of sight anytime soon.

Unfortunately, I'm wedged between two carseats. I watched my niece that week and needed the extra seat in the car.

I call my mom to let her know we were on the highway headed home. She asked all of the questions and I explained to her the docs said.

We're about to go under Klyde Warren Park (which is on a bridge for those who aren't from Dallas) when I see Brody convulsing.

"Oh my god. He's doing it again! No, no, he's doing it agaaaain," I sob.

Mom: "Get him back to the hospital. I am on my way." Click.

Klay turned on the light speeding to get off at the next exit.

This time Brody's hands are balled in fists in front of him like he's ready to box. His head has fallen on his right shoulder. His teeth grinding against each other. A small groan and hum comes from his tiny mouth.

"Whyyyyyy is this happening?" I bellowed while Klay tries to find his way back to the hospital.

"His lips are turning blue! I need to take him out!" I say trying to undo his buckles. It was too bumpy and too crazy to actually pull him out in all this chaotic driving. We were stopping abruptly, and picking up speed quickly downtown.

"I can't while you're driving!"

Klay pulls over swung open the door rushing to the passenger side back door where Brody is. I've got him out of the carseat, Klay grabs him turns him on his side and pats him on his back.

The icy, wet air is making me shiver. I'm watching Klay pat Brody in horror. I look at the clock to check the time 1:19 a.m.

Brody's lip is no longer as blue, but he's still shaking. His teeth still grinding. The slightest groan sneaking out between his clenched jaw. I'll never forget that sound, that moan.

"I'll have to hold him the rest of the way," I say to Klay who handed him to me.

Hauling ass back to the hospital, unsure of where to go, Klay managed to make it back in less than 3-4 minutes. Thank God, he was driving and not me.

I cradled Brody talking to him in his ear, still sobbing. We arrived back at the ambulance entrance, I instruct Klay to run him in. I'm wedged between the two carseats, my fat rear will have trouble enough getting out alone.

I pass Brody over my console back to Klay who parked the car in the entrance. Carrying Brody, Klay jets back into the hospital.

I crawl into the front seat to park the car, but I can't move. I'm alone now, and I can't control the crying. I've never felt pain or fear like this before.

I sit there for a few minutes weeping unable to function from fear that something else might be wrong with Brody.

I just cried and cried.

I muddled up the last bit of strength I had to park the car and run into the hospital to be there for my son. I had to stay strong for him. I needed to know what was happening to him. Was this febrile seizures or was it something else? And why had he had two in less than 4 hours?

These were the questions I needed answered.

I knew one thing though--I could not watch him go through that again.

Click here for Part 4...