Sunday, March 18th, 2012
Exactly one hour into being 16 months-old, my son had a seizure due to his quick rise in temperature to 105.5 degrees. Last Thursday night, both my wife and I separately tried to prepare ourselves for the fact we may be spending the last final moments with our son.
When I put Jack to bed Thursday night at 6:41 PM, his temperature seemed fine. He was a bit more tired than normal but I blamed that on Daylight Savings.
At 10:00 PM, my wife and I were finishing up the dishes after having just watched two episodes of Lost when we heard Jack screaming (!) upstairs. We rushed into his room to learn his temperature was 105.5. We took off his clothes, placed a wet wash rag on him, and gave him a dose of Children’s Advil.
I called the pediatrician who told me we did everything right; as long as his temperature started going back down and he went back to sleep, that we shouldn’t worry too much.
That was the case, so my wife and I were in bed by 11:30 PM.
Exactly 90 minutes passed. Before I trained Jack to sleep through the night at 7 months-old and he would wake up every couple of hours, I hardly ever was the first to hear him cry. But this time was different.
My feet were on the floor and running after about one second of the eery sound I heard coming from Jack’s bedroom. The urgency of my reaction woke up my wife and she was right behind me.
What we saw next did nothing short of traumatize us a bit. We will never forget the version of our son that night.
As I tried to pick him up out of his bed, it was like he was trying to suffocate himself into his blanket, face first. He was rocking back and forth like he was possessed by something evil.
We carried him onto our bed. I called 911 (for the first time in my 30 years) and my wife kept watch over him.
By the end of the 8 minute phone call, two paramedics charged in. They gave us some relief after telling us that they see this happen all the time and that while we didn’t need to fear for his life, he needed to be rushed by ambulance to Vanderbilt.
From 1:30 AM to 4:30 AM, we watched the doctors care for our son. We learned that he had an ear infection, which caused the quick rise in temperature, which caused the febrile seizure.
Jack is of the 2% of the population who may go into this type of seizure when his temperature rises quickly. According to the doctors, there is a 30% chance this will happen again, but these seizures do not cause any long-term effects or brain damage.
Sure enough, since then, he has been his hilarious, weird, smart little self.
We thank the Lord this event was something so harmless, in the end. But when you’re experiencing it for the first time, and you’ve never heard of a febrile seizure and don’t know how to react, you can’t help but feel a big part of you dying.
There’s no way to know any different, in that moment. It’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever lived through.