A week ago, our 3 year-old Zoephi went to bed sick - the usual cough, runny nose, slightly hot. I left to check out a night market that I've signed up to be a vendor at, feeling a bit uneasy.
45 minutes later, my mom called, choking on tears "Zoephi fainted, come home, NOW!" I ran at top speed to my car, the worst thought crossed my mind "What if she died?" I called my mom back, I could hear Zoephi crying. "Thank God, she's alive!" My husband was describing what happened to the paramedics. Zoephi was asleep, then he heard choking sounds. He went into her bedroom and Zoephi was stiff as a log, blue lips, teeth clenched, saliva foaming, pupils rolled back. He called 911 and failed 4 times. She regained consciousness after about 2 minutes, weak, dazed, but alive. First responders checked her vitals and told us she like had a febrile seizure and explained all the do's and don'ts.
We were transported to the children's hospital. After a 5-hour wait, I measured her temperature at 39 degrees C (102 F). It didn't occur to me to ask for some Tylenol. She fell asleep in my arms for about 10 minutes; I dozed off. Suddenly she fell out of my arms. My husband and I both caught her, and she had her second febrile seizure mid-air. My husband rushed her to the nearest triage room. A nurse measured her oxygen level, timed the seizure while giving her an oxygen mask. The room filled up with about 7 doctors and nurses. She regained consciousness after about 2.5 minutes, looking very confused. A doctor put an IV in her hand. Let me tell you, she wrestled 4 adults, screamed and raised her heartbeat to 185/minute. Poor thing.
Zoephi was exhausted and wanted sleep. We waited for 3 hours for most test results to come back as expected. Slightly elevated while blood cells count, indicative of a viral infection. No sign of a worrisome bacterial infection. She was up and joking around, put on her sunglasses and wanted to socialize with the night nurse. We were released, relieved and drained.
Six days have passed and Zoephi still gets her nightly fever and incessant cough. Grandma, dad and mom were all bed ridden at some point during the week. Today, her doctor checked her lungs and additional test results, everything is looking normal. Tonight, we took her along for donate some books. She fell asleep during the entire ride, having fought her nap so hard earlier. While taking the books out of the trunk, I could see Santa and hear the most jovial "Ho Ho Ho." Christmas lights, a bonfire, a coffee station, and cameras look so inviting. Zoephi woke up from her nap, so we took her to see Santa. We had an early and frigid start to winter. But today, it was a comfortably cool night. Lots of warm white lights wrapped around the trees. He was welcoming, inviting and engaged Zoephi enough for a couple of photos with a shimmering Christmas tree in the background. For the first time in a week, I finally breathed! We all breathed proper breaths of fresh air, feeling truly thankful.
Here is a quick summary of Febrile Seizures
- Febrile seizures are common in children between six months and 6 years old
- Febrile seizures are episodes of uncontrolled jerking or stiffening and loss of consciousness caused by fevers
- If your child is having a seizure, keep them safe. Do not try to put anything in their mouth. Call for help if the seizures lasts more than 3 minutes
- Most children recover well after a febrile seizure and do not require any special tests or admission to hospital
- Treating your child with fever medications will help keep them comfortable but will not necessarily prevent a febrile seizure.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention If:
- Your child is less than 12 months with a febrile seizure
- Your child's seizure does not stop after 3 minutes (call 911)
- Your child is not behaving normally 20 to 30 minutes after a seizure or is very difficult to wake up
- Your child has more than one seizure in 24 hours
- Your child has a seizure without a fever.
It was important to me that I also share this information in Vietnamese, so here is a summary on Febrile Seizures. My mom definitely felt better reading up on this information in Vietnamese. I hope other parents and grandparents find this helpful.
Khi con bị co giật do sốt (febrile seizure):
- cần giữ bình tĩnh
- Bế con nghiêng người để con dễ thở (đặt con nằm nghiêng trên giường)
- KHÔNG cho bất cứ vật gì vô miệng con
- Canh đồng hồ xem con bị co giật trong bao lâu
- Môi tím do thiếu oxy, nhễu nước miếng là điều bình thường
- Con cứng đơ từ đầu tới chân là bình thường, để yên cho con co giật, KHÔNG cản/đè lại
- Khi con tỉnh, nuốt được thì cho uống Tylenol hoặc Advil giảm sốt ngay
- Sau khi co giật cơ thể mất nhiều năng lượng, con sẽ rất mệt, ngơ ngác không hiểu chuyện gì. Cần được ôm ấp an ủi.
- Con biếng ăn không sao, nhưng cần uống nước.
- Co giật trong vòng vài phút sẽ không ảnh hưởng tới sức khỏe hoặc thần kinh. Đó là cách cơ thể khi sốt dùng để điều chỉnh lại nhiệt độ.
Bị co giật 1 lần trong 24h là điều bình thường, co giật dưới 3 phút, có thể để con ở nhà chăm sóc. Nhưng nếu bị 2 lần hoặc hơn trong 24h là điều bất bình thường, cần đưa con đi cấp cứu ngay để bác sĩ làm xét nghiệm thêm.
In closing, while a febrile seizure is scary for anyone to witness, there are so many other heart-stopping situations parents can go through. I wish you peace and health for the upcoming holiday season. What are you thankful for today?