Monday, July 19, 2010

"I Think I Passed This Level..."

Although he has made a quick recovery, Coleman gave us quite a scare last week.

We had a normal day of playing and eating and playing and relaxing. Around 10 pm we put the kids to bed and Coleman seemed perfectly fine. He didn't act like anything at all was wrong (except for asking to say prayers so he could go to sleep, and what kid does that on a summer night?). Ryan said that earlier in the evening Coleman had said that he felt cold.

About a half an hour later we heard some noises but didn't know what it was, so we assumed it was our neighbors outside and went on watching our TV show.

Half an hour after that we heard a big thump and then some other unidentified noises. Coleman is known for being a wild sleeper, so Ryan and I thought that maybe he had just fallen out of bed again, but Ryan decided to go and take a look to make sure he was okay.

We paused our TV show, Ryan went upstairs, and I sat listening for him to laugh it off and come back down. After a few minutes and he hadn't come down yet I started to think we'd have some clean up to do. Ryan yelled down, "I need some help here Lisa" and I have to admit I already was feeling slightly annoyed at the need to clean up throw-up.

I was completely unprepared to find Ryan bent over a prostrate Coleman who had labored breathing, dilated eyes, and was otherwise unresponsive. He felt warm and sweaty so I got a cool, wet washcloth and put it on his forehead. Ryan and I tried to talk to him and get him to respond, but nothing seemed to work. We didn't wait too much longer to decide to call 911. I called, and in my mind I was calm and collected... but apparently the dispatcher couldn't understand what I was saying (I had to repeat our address about five times) and when I tried to explain what the emergency was Ryan finally took the phone from me. I am sure I was much more hysterical than I want to think I was.

Coleman coughed and brought his legs to his chest (which was reassuring to me that he wasn't paralyzed).

911 stayed on the phone with Ryan until emergency services arrived... and I think every emergency worker in our town came (they told Olivia they would have had to stay to clean the station otherwise). I counted at least 8 which made for a very crowded bedroom and hallway. They checked Coleman's vitals and found that his temperature was 103.5. The paramedic said it looked like it was probably a febrile seizure. Olivia said that he had been talking in his sleep before (he was probably delirious with such a high fever--the 103.5 was on its way down so it was likely much higher than that) and explained that when kids' temperatures rise so fast their body can't cope with the high temperature so they seize. He said it usually takes awhile for them to come to their senses but there isn't lasting damage. The seizures take so much energy that it's like they have just run a marathon--they are exhausted and very out of it.

Coleman started to come to a little bit and pulled his finger away in pain when they pricked it to check his blood sugar. He still couldn't talk, but I could tell that he was a little more aware of what was happening.

I consider myself fairly well educated and know that febrile seizures happen quite often... but that knowledge still didn't prepare me for the fear that enveloped me seeing Coleman in a state like that. Add to that our experience with my cute nephew Chance who passed away in 2005 after 3 weeks of unexplained, uncontrollable seizures (that started with a febrile seizure) and I admit I was in a paralyzed state of panic and worry that my Coleman would not make it.

We had called our neighbor Jeremy to come and help give a blessing (his family should be on speed dial for all of the middle of the night calls from our house) but the paramedics said it would have to wait until they were sure he was stable. Olivia was beside herself with worry, just as Ryan and I were. One of the police officers said to me, "Don't worry, it was just a seizure."

I responded, "In our house, there is no such thing as just a seizure."

Ryan rode in the ambulance with Coleman (who told Ryan he thought he was on a train) and Olivia and Sophia and I followed along in our car. I loved that Olivia asked me while we were en route, "Mom, would you like to join me in a prayer?" I loved that she was so ready to take that step and came up with it all on her own. She felt so bad for all the things she had ever said or done to Coleman that weren't nice and vowed to always be kind to him again. I have to admit that I went through the same process--and promised Heavenly Father to be more patient and kind and understanding with Coleman and the other children.

When we got to the hospital Coleman was much more lucid and was talking. The doctor came in and explained what had likely happened and we shared our family history with him. He ordered some tests to see if he could find the origin for the fever and left for a bit. Jeremy had come to the hospital as well and they got ready to give him a blessing. The hook for the IV bag was in their way and as they were trying to slide it over so it didn't knock them in the head, Coleman piped right up and said, "I know what that is... it's to hang your jackets on and stuff." It was nice to have a little thing to laugh at in such a stressful time.

After the blessing we all felt much more calm so Olivia left with Jeremy to stay the night at their house. Coleman turned around a few minutes later and looked at the monitor that displayed his pulse oxygen and heartbeat and said, "I think I passed this level already..." and we finally determined that he thought he was in a video game. (That gives me some stronger ideas about limiting screen time--but again, I was grateful for a little comic relief.)

They took a chest x-ray and did a CT scan of his head. They tested his blood and his urine.

Coleman was a trooper and slept a bit.

He got some awesome socks.

They didn't find any reason for such a high fever and decided it was likely viral. We were told to treat him for 24 hours with ibuprofen and Tylenol, bring him back if he had another seizure that night, or call the pediatrician if he had one the next day. Otherwise, no further follow-up was needed.

We brought him home, started on the meds, and tried to get some rest.

Sophia slept through the whole thing.

Coleman's fever dropped and six hours later he was telling us how he had gotten to go on a train ride the night before and could remember only vague details about being in the hospital at all.

Given our history, we'll definitely have a conversation with our pediatrician.

We are so thankful to all of our family and friends who have been concerned about Coleman and we know that we were watched over.

I think we'll be extra-vigilant about checking out strange noises and treating fevers as soon as possible... and in the meantime we'll cherish every minute with each one of our kids.


Linn said...

Oh my word, this made me teary. I'm so glad Coleman is okay and so sorry you all had to go through that. Please know you are all in our prayers!

Kristy said...

Wow. That is very scary. I am so glad that everything turned out fine. It makes you realize how serious those fevers can get.

the harpers said...

Lisa...I had no idea. I'm so sorry that you had to experience this. We will be praying for Coleman and hopefully he won't have any other episodes. Maybe there is some fever thing in the family. Lyz has been diagnosed with Periodic Fever Syndrome and I understand from Terri that Lucy had fever issues as a baby too. Something to maybe consider. Please let me know if there is anything that we can do for you. Hugs!

Kristi said...

Oh, how scary! I'm so glad things are better now. What a trooper Coleman is!! I can relate as a couple of years ago Anna was dealing with high fevers like that and they tested her for leukemia...which my cousin had at age 7. I was a wreck knowing all that he went through and thinking that my child could have the same. Everything turned out just fine, as I am sure it will for your cute family. You will be in our prayers!!

emilyw said...

Oh my goodness! I could feel the stress as I read your story. I can't believe something like that happened! I am so glad to hear that he is okay now. I'll keep him in my prayers anyway. :) Hugs to you all!

Benjamin Gerritsen said...

So glad he is okay! We have fevers over the last few days and they are always so scary!

Heather said...

You know you did an awesome job Lisa. I have experience on ambulances and training to deal with this sort of stuff but no amount of education can take away your motherly panic. When Aspen bonked her head and had a small seizure, it took all the training and everything I had to stay strong and not panic. I am so glad to hear that he is okay and for sure have your pediatrician in on that action. Goodness. I got all teary eyed just reading that. My thoughts are with you.

Anonymous said...

I am really glad he is okay too. What a scare. Hopefully he won't have anymore!

Jenny said...

I am sure this was quite the scary experience. I hope (and pray) it was just a one time thing! Poor little guy! Aren't you so grateful that we have the gospel fully restored and he was able to receive a priesthood blessing?