Febrile Seizure

First, I would like to say that it has been way too long since I have posted in here.  A lot of things have been going on and time is just flying by.  I find that keeping up on my blogs falls behind reading, catching up on TV, and surfing the web 😦  Hopefully, this summer I will be able to get my act together and contribute to this more!

Febrile Seizure: also known as a fever fit or febrile convulsion, is a convulsion associated with a significant rise in body temperature. They most commonly occur in children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years and are twice as common in boys as in girls (Lissauer, Tom-Illustrated Book of Paediatrics 3rd Ed.).  These are two words that I fear!  At the end of February my son had his first febrile seizure and it scared the crap out of me and so far has been the scariest thing that I have experienced in my life.  Below is the story of it happening.

My son had gotten a common cold and had a runny nose and a little coughing, but it wasn’t much.  He was pretty active and seemed very normal.  The cold was going on two weeks and my husband and I thought that by now the symptoms would be gone, but we figured that he would be done with it soon.  One day my son woke up and he didn’t seem to have any symptoms so we thought that it was safe for us to go to the Parent and Child class that we normally go to every Tuesday.  My son was playing like a normal almost two-year old.  He was running around and laughing and when we got to the class he was playing outside on the play structure and playing with a lot of the toys outside and inside.  Around 10:30 my son just came over to me and sat on my lap with his head on my chest and was trying to get comfortable to fall asleep.  In retrospect I should have seen this as my first warning sign that something was wrong.  My son never just comes and sits on me like that unless he isn’t feeling good.  At the time I just assumed that he was coming to me to fall asleep because he didn’t get a good night’s rest the night before.  He fell asleep right away and some of the parents were joking around about how their kid never does that I just kept saying that it must be because he is so tired.  Around 11 the teacher brought out the little table and chairs for snack time.  My son is a HUGE eater and never likes to miss an eating opportunity.  In the class he is always the last one at the table eating and it isn’t because he is slow it is because he likes to eat a lot.  I woke him up and asked him if he wanted to eat anything.  He said that he didn’t (again, I should have seen this as a warning sign), but I took him to the table and tried to get him to eat and drink some food and water.  When he didn’t take any of it I then knew that he was not feeling good.  I checked his forehead and he seemed pretty hot.  I told the teacher that we were leaving.  I got him in the stroller and walked home.

When I got home the first thing I did was go and take his temperature.  It was at about 102.  I then undressed him down to his diaper and gave him a dose of Tylenol.  I then went and got a book that has suggestions on what to do when your kid is sick.  I went to the fever section and so far it seemed like I was doing everything correctly.  I didn’t put him in a lukewarm bath because I knew that he would be a no-go for that and fight me trying to get into the tub.  I figured that with Tylenol and being undressed he would be fine.  I got to a section that talked about what to do if your kid has a febrile seizure.  The first thing it says to do is call 911.  I remember thinking that I hope he doesn’t have a febrile seizure, but he just might so I better pay attention to what this book says.  I put the book down and then I took his temperature again.  He was up to 103 now.  I took him to the couch and we laid down together (he wanted to lay on top of me).  At around noon his body starts to twitch from falling asleep and then the convulsions started (just writing this all down brings me back to that day and makes me all emotional about it!).  He was convulsing and I picked him up and I saw that his eyes had rolled into the back of his head.  I was freaked out by now.  I was yelling his name thinking that if I did this he would somehow come out of it.  He didn’t and his eyes were still rolled back and his arms and legs were convulsing.  I got up with my son in my arms and got my phone and started to dial 911, while in a panic.  It took me a a couple of tries to dial 911.  Hard to dial when you are holding a convulsing baby and are shaking from what is happening before your eyes.  I got a hold of one dispatcher and told her what was going on and she connected me to another dispatcher.  At this time my son was turning blue because he was not breathing.  He also had a ton of drool that was just coming out of the side of his mouth.  I was really freaking out at this time because I knew that this is what my son would look like if he died.  I also didn’t know if I would have my wits about me to give CPR if he needed it.  When I was on the phone with the dispatcher he had to tell me multiple times to calm down because he couldn’t understand what I was saying.  I also took my son outside during this time thinking that some fresh air might help.  Soon after I got on the phone with the dispatcher my son stopped convulsing and he started breathing again.  It was a huge sigh of relief to see him turning back into his normal self.  The color came back to his face and he was a limp noodle against my body.  I was able to calm down on the phone.  The dispatcher asked me if I still wanted the paramedics to come and I said that I did because I wanted him to be checked out and I wasn’t sure if he was going to have another seizure soon after.

I hung up the phone with the dispatcher and called my husband and told him that our son just had a seizure and that I had called 911.  He said that he would be coming home right away and was pretty calm about the whole situation.  Now that my son had stopped convulsing I just held him close.  I stayed outside waiting for the paramedics to come.  I was standing there and a firetruck just passes by and I was waving them down, but they kept going and then 20 seconds later another fire truck comes with an ambulance for us.  The paramedics have me take my son inside and they ask about the details of the seizure.  They ask how long the seizure was and since I didn’t time it I had no idea.  When bad stuff like this is happening it always seems to take forever so I was trying to underestimate the time that I thought it was.  I told them 30 seconds to about a minute.  I know that this time was a gross underestimation because from when he started having his seizure until I was on the phone with the dispatcher it was definitely a couple of minutes, if not more.  They took his temperature and it was almost at 103 (I am guessing that it went up to 104 when he had his seizure).  They checked his vital signs and everything looked good.  They just remarked at how lethargic he was.  They asked if I still wanted to be taken to the ER and I said that I did.  We got in the ambulance and I sat on the stretcher with my son on top of me.  It was both of our first rides in an ambulance.  My son just laid there the whole time.  The EMTs were very nice to me and gave me a little plastic fireman’s hat for my son.  We got dropped off at the ER and because we were not a high priority we waited to be seen.

We were seen first by a triage person and they took my son’s temperature and it was between 102-103.  They then gave him a dose of Motrin.  We then saw the Doctor.  The doctor looked over my son and said that what he had was a febrile seizure and he explained what it was to us.  He said that in my son’s case his temperature went too high too fast and that is what most likely caused it.  He said that it does happen frequently in children and that most kids grow out of it by four, but by six all kids should have grown out of them.  He said that the seizures do not affect the brain in any way and because my son had this seizure it doesn’t mean that he will be epileptic.  All of these words were reassuring.  He then said that since my son now has had one febrile seizure he is going to be prone to them and we have to keep an eye out on him whenever he gets a fever.  He said that as soon as he gets a fever we have to give him medicine until there is no longer a fever.  He had us wait 30 minutes after we talked to him so that they could take my son’s temperature again and make sure that he was good to go.  After the 30 minute wait my son’s temperature was taken and he was down to 97.  The doctor said that a lot of times they have found that Tylenol doesn’t help reduce kids’ fevers like Motrin does and we should get some Motrin for our son.

We were released and given information on febrile seizures and told that we had to keep our son medicated until he no longer had a fever for 24 hours.  We stopped and got some Motrin and gave my son Motrin and Tylenol alternating every three hours (that is the minimum wait time between the two).  You could do Tylenol every four hours and Motrin every six hours if you wanted to stick with one medicine.  We also gave him a lukewarm bath, which he didn’t like and took him on some walks outside during the night when it was cool.  We had him sleep with us and we set an alarm to go off every three hours so that we could give him medicine.  My son started acting more like himself when we were at the hospital and as the night progressed he was turning back into his normal self, which was such a great thing to see.  We had my son on medication for about a full day before his temperature was back to normal.  We also called our Pediatrician and told her what happened and we made an appointment to see her a couple of days after he had his seizure.  She basically told us all that the doctor said, but she did add that the kids that she has dealt with that have had febrile seizures usually have had only one or two of them.  That was a good piece of information to hear.  Maybe it is because parents are on the lookout for when their kids get sick and feverish?

Since this incident I had looked up a lot on febrile seizures and of course there is a ton of information out there.  I really like this website http://marloelaine.com/febrile-seizures-facts-prevention (their story is very similar to ours).  When I talked to people about how my son had a febrile seizure I was expecting them to react more than what they did.  I got a lot of “lots of kids have febrile seizures and your son will be fine” or “It was just a febrile seizure.”  My husband wasn’t nearly as freaked out or worried about it and I told him on multiple occasions that if he had been there and had to witness our son having a seizure and then turn blue he would probably think that it is a bigger deal than it is.  It seems to me that the people that can sympathize with me the most are other moms with kids around my son’s age.  In the process of talking to other moms about what happened to my son I have found out that more kids that we know have had febrile seizures too and it is more common then I thought it was, but not a lot of people talk about it.  For days after the seizure I couldn’t go to bed without remembering what had happened to my son.  It scared me to death and it would make me very sad every time I thought of it.  It got better as the days went on and he turned back into his normal self.  I think that with my son having this seizure it made me have a greater appreciation of him being in my life and I tell him every day how much I love him :).

It has been three months since his febrile seizure and he has not had another one.  He currently has a cold that is working on being here for two weeks.  I have been keeping a close eye on him and checking his temperature and forehead for any signs that he might have a fever.  I also now know that when he wants to lay on top of me instead of play he is sick and not being extra cuddly or tired that day.  I just hope that the febrile seizure he had back in February is his last because I don’t think that I could watch my baby go through that again!

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