Febrile

Spoke with a longtime friend today. About 10 days ago she heard her 3-year-old son making funny noises from his bedroom. When she walked in his teeth were clenched, and he was midway through a seizure.

Ugh.

It turns out what he was going through was a Febrile seizure, which hits some children when they have a sudden rise in body temperature. I know of these far too well …

One evening, when my daughter Casey was right around 1, I was holding her in the kitchen. Suddenly, without warning, she leaned all her body weight back. The wife said, “What are you doing?”

“I dont know what’s go—” Then I looked at Casey. Her eyes were rolled back. Her fists were clenched, as were her teeth. She was having a seizure.

I freaked out. The wife, as always, was relatively calm. We brought her into another room and placed her on the floor. I dialed 9-1-1. Then, in the scariest singular moment of my life, she began turning blue. I was on the phone, speaking with the operator. “She’s turning blue! She’s turning blue!”

The wife and I both thought she was in the process of dying.

The operator told me to calm down. But I couldn’t. The wife held Casey still on the floor. She seemed to be breathing, but barely. I paced back and forth, waiting … waiting … waiting. I started screaming, “Where are they? Where the fuck are they!”

Gradually, Casey began snapping back to life. She regained her natural color. She stopped clenching. The ambulance arrived, and she could sit up. They told us about Febrile seizures, and how they’re actually harmless. Harmless, but nightmarish.

In the ensuing years, Casey had four or five more episodes. They were never easy to take. Never. One time, she had a seizure with our then-babysitter. I swerved through traffic, past red lights—then arrived on the scene, only to find myself at the wrong location. Another time, we were bringing Casey to the hospital when, mid-drive, she delved into a second seizure. Always nightmarish. Always.

By, oh, 4 1/2, the seizures stopped. She hasn’t had one in three years.

As a parent, it’s the worst feeling in the world.

The worst.

PS: Still in Florida, back tomorrow. Wife is home, freezing and moving furniture around. I’m staying at a friend’s place in Ft. Lauderdale. Check this out …

2 thoughts on “Febrile”

  1. Ugh. My dog had epilepsy, and it was traumatizing as a kid to watch her seizures. I can’t IMAGINE watching that happen to my child. Glad she’s OK.

  2. Having had 4 kids I dealt with some scary things, Usually involving boys and stupidity.
    Daughter had pneumonia and it scared the crap out of me.
    I don’t know what I would have done with seizures. That’s scary, scary, scary.
    I’m glad to hear your daughter is OK now. I am especially happy to hear that this is not a serious problem, though I still feel for the parents and the children.

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