Summer is winding down and fall is supposedly creeping in but I can’t feel it because it’s still hot as crap and the rain still won’t stop and I can’t differentiate my Mondays from my Thursdays or my Saturdays because everything is always the same.
Except this past Tuesday. Tuesday was vastly different from any other day of my life.
Late Monday, I noticed that Dax was running a bit of a fever. I never actually took his temperature, but I could feel that he was warm to the touch. Apart from that, he was acting completely normal; he was playing happily, sleeping fine, not coughing, not sniffling, not anything out of the ordinary. So I chalked the fever up to teething and just gave him Tylenol sporadically and thought nothing of it.
When I came home from work on Tuesday (thankfully a half hour earlier than I normally come home on Tuesdays) I found him lethargically lying belly-up on our babysitter’s chest.
Jeez, I thought. These 12-month molars must be brutal.
I took him from the sitter, handed her a check, and said goodbye. I then took Dax into his nursery to nurse him and put him down for a nap. When we sat in the rocking chair, he nursed for maybe thirty seconds before stopping suddenly and throwing his head back.
His eyes rolled back and he started to shake and stopped breathing and it was a seizure.
The next few minutes were a blur of me screaming uncontrollably into his lifeless, purple face, splashing water on his body, crumpling to the floor and clumsily dialing 9-1-1, scream-sobbing into the receiver that MY TINY LITTLE BABY BOY IS HAVING A SEIZURE MA’AM AND HE IS ONLY ONE YEAR OLD AND PLEASE GOD CAN SOMEONE HELP ME HE’S NOT BREATHING DID YOU SAY SOMEONE IS COMING WELL WHERE ARE THEY HOW MUCH LONGER PLEASE HELP ME I AM SO SCARED PLEASE.
And then suddenly my house was flooded with upwards of ten men and women in different uniforms — EMS, firefighters, police officers — all trying to simultaneously calm me down and take care of Dax who, by that point, had stopped seizing and was draped across my chest in a collapsed heap of laborious breaths and pained sighs.
An ambulance ride, ER admittance, flu swab, chest x-ray, and long chunk of waiting around later, we found out that Dax came down with some virus (probably roseola) which caused him to have that high fever. The sudden temperature spike in his body triggered a febrile seizure.
Thankfully these seizures don’t cause any injury to the brain or the child — they’re just terrifying as hell for anyone, particularly a parent, who happens to be present.
And so, I learned the hard way that (until he’s older than 5) anytime I sense that Dax may be getting a fever, I have to be incredibly aggressive in treating it to avoid this happening again.
As terrible as this whole experience was, there were some surprising bright spots. The first was in the form of a community — a new one — that wasted no time in showing us love. Three friends came to visit us in the hospital (two of which brought us food), and another friend came to check on us the following day. Not to mention the flood of prayers that washed over us by the way of texts, phone calls, and Facebook messages.
The second good thing to come of this was a healthy dose of perspective. Before I left for work that morning, I was freaking out about our house being a mess for the babysitter. I was running about like a chicken with its head cut off trying to straighten up and clean up and even as I was driving away I was mentally kicking myself for not having enough time to do the dishes. Because I was nursing when Dax began to seize, I was basically naked when the emergency team showed up at my house. I couldn’t have given two sheets about the fact that I was bearing it all (or that my house was messy) while a bunch of firefighters and paramedics did a life-saving dance around me. All I cared about was my baby and whether or not he was going to be okay.
Even though he’s technically still contagious, today you can hardly tell Dax is sick at all, let alone that he just had a freaking seizure. He’s eating a bit more today, playing happily, and sleeping great.
And I am worn a bit ragged but so very grateful.