When your heart lives outside of your body

22 May

20130522-111925.jpg{ My sweet boy }

It was 5 am on Sunday morning that Linden woke me up crying in his room. I found him shivering but he was burning up. He had a fever of 101.2 axillary. The rule of thumb is to add .5-1 degree to an armpit temperature so he was about 102. I applied some aloe vera gel (which is an antipyretic) to his body and used cool cloths to cool him down. He nursed and fell back asleep and his fever had cooled down. We don’t take fevers too seriously in our house because we know it is the bodies way of fighting an illness. I usually just try to lower it a bit and make him comfortable. When he woke for the day at 8:30 his temperature was 100.6 which is maybe 101. It was a good sign that it was decreasing. I gave him a bath and then we went downstairs and ate breakfast. He devoured his morning banana just like he does everyday. I could tell he didn’t feel very well, he had a little cough and a little clear snotty nose. We mostly snuggled reading books and watching Curious George. I even soaked some of his socks in apple cider vinegar and put those on his feet. Apple cider vinegar on the feet can help draw a fever down from the head. It worked well because just to the touch his skin was all over more heat balanced. He even got up and played in the living room for awhile.

At lunch time he barely ate a thing which is normal if you are sick, I suppose.  It is not like our Linden to NOT eat though. This kid is a garbage disposal when it comes to food. I took him upstairs to change him and noticed he had some diarrhea and it caused his tush to be a little bit red and blotchy. Steven had been outside all morning mowing the lawn and weed whacking so I though it would be a nice time to allow Linden to lay outside for some naked air time. I got a blanket and brought it out back. Linden was just wearing a t-shirt and was enjoying the partly cloudy day and the fresh air. He was being goofy and playful, felt cooler to the touch. He seemed much better!  Steven was just about finished picking up from his yard work when I decided to rub some coconut oil on Linden’s tush. I laid him down on the blanket and applied the oil and when I finished he started to sit up. Then he fell back down.

I thought he must have just lost his momentum, so I tried to grab his hands to help him up and his face changed. His eyes started rolling back into his head. His teeth were chattering. His body was limp and jerking all over the place. My heart dropped as I realized he was having a seizure. I knew in the back of my mind it was most likely a febrile seizure. I had one as a toddler and grew up with stories from my mother about that terrifying day. As I said above, we don’t take fevers all that seriously. The same is true with febrile seizures, I know they are just a way for the body to “reboot” and cool down. The difference is understanding those things on a logical, rational level and experiencing them first hand as your child is convulsing on the ground beneath you and utterly unresponsive.

I screamed to Steven, “call 911!” As I actually dialed it and handed him the phone. All I could do was watch him jerking around and cry. I cried out to the Lord for help, I cried to Linden to wake up, and I just plain cried! I looked around yelling, “where are they?!” It seemed like an eternity, but actually only took 2 minutes for the ambulance to be at our house and the EMT’s to be in our back yard. We actually live 7 blocks from the nearest E.R. I can see the hospital if I stand on the sidewalk in front of our home.

When the EMT’s arrived, I was actually upset that they weren’t doing more! I know they were doing their job and assessing the situation. But I was in full irrational Mama bear mode. I just wanted them to “fix” everything. One man took me aside to answer questions while the other checked Linden’s heart rate. They had me carry Linden to the ambulance and hold him while sitting on the stretcher to the E.R. They wheeled us into our room where we switched beds.

Steven followed behind in his car and met us in our room a few minutes later. When Steven got there I realized I was still cooking rice for Linden on the stove! He had to run back home and turn off the stove. The E.R. nurses took Linden’s temperature rectally when we arrived and it was 104.6! His fever had just skyrocketed out of nowhere! The beginning of the E.R. visit is such a blur but eventually Linden was weighed and given a dose of Tylenol. They pricked his foot twice (thank you nurse in training) to test his blood sugar and hooked him up to the heart monitor. All of this time he was still totally spaced out. He was awake but confused, angry, fussy and wouldn’t make direct eye contact. It is so sad to say your son’s name and not have him look at you! His eyes just glazed over and pointed down and off to the side. He got very angry when anyone tried to make him lie down. He just sat bolt up right stubbornly for a good hour before he started to doze off from the Tylenol.


{ Here he is sitting up, fussy and dazed 😦  }

The rest of the time was a crazy hubbub of IV’s, blood work, urine bags, chest x-rays, and waiting, waiting, waiting.  The waiting was terrible. We arrived in the E.R. around 2:15 and were released around 10:30 in the evening. The last three hours were the hardest of the waiting game because by then Linden had turned the corner and was himself again. He had doses of Motrin and Tylenol along with fluid IV’s which did their job. Toddler’s are not easy to keep still in a hospital bed hooked up to wires and tubes. He kept saying, “done!?”  Around 9PM the nurse gave him an IV dose of antibiotics which took 30 minutes to pass into his system. When the Dr. returned, he told us he was sorry for the extra delay but that the urine sample he was waiting for had apparently been lost for a bit and when they found it later, it had been sent to the other hospital lab! If that hadn’t happened we could have left probably 3 hours sooner.


{ Here he is more himself and using the remote as a phone. “Hehyo!” }


{ Trying to entertain him and prevent him from pulling out his IV }

We stopped by the drug store on the way home to pick up some infant Motrin, which they recommended because it is longer acting. He had a a normal temperature but that was probably due to the meds so we did give him a dose before bed. In the morning his fever was gone. We had a follow up appointment with his pediatrician early that day where she went over the test results. Everything had come back normal. His white blood cell count was normal but the breakdown of his cells were very high in neutrophil cells which fight bacteria.  This confirmed that it definitely wasn’t a viral fever but looked as though his body was fighting off some sort of bacterial infection. The problem is, we still don’t know the cause. None of his tests have revealed an infection. We are still awaiting the results of one culture but that culture was to test for chicken pox which is viral anyway.

Linden is fine and dandy now. No more fever, still a little cough but 100% back to his crazy rambunctious self. I am not, however, back to my normal self. As a self proclaimed Type (B) Mama, I am generally laid back in my parenting approach. I don’t freak out about little things like my son playing in the dirt and eating food he dropped on the floor. We have a relatively casual “baby proof” home. I don’t use Purell or Clorox wipes around our house. I welcome the chance to build up my son’s immune system by not living in a super chemically sterile environment. I take fevers calmly and naturally. We don’t use meds unless it is a last resort. Generally speaking, I don’t freak out about “spilled milk” issues and use them to teach Linden discipline and independence. But these past few days, I have been super paranoid about all of these little things. If Linden stops for a minute or makes a weird movement, my heart is leaping out of my chest in worry. Sleeping through the night is no longer a joy, it ignites panic as I watch him on the monitor to ensure he is moving and not unconscious or having a seizure in his sleep while I am oblivious. I have become a helicopter mama these past few days.

On Saturday, the day before his seizure, I was JUST telling Steven how somedays being a mom is like watching your heart walk around outside of your body. So many things run through my mind that never would have before. A silly example I used was talking about how I had put a tin can of coconut milk into the recycle bin the other day. I had used the can opener and the jagged lid was really sharp and the bin was pretty full so the can kind of protruded towards the top of the bin. I placed it in, lid up and walked away. As I was going about my business, I had this vision of Linden opening the lid to the bin, which he has done before. He cut his hand on the can in my hypothetical vision and so I had to actually walk back to the bin, move the jagged can upside down and pushed it to the bottom back. Those little things that make you rethink, or redo what you would normally do “just incase” is such a new thing of parenthood. Like not leaving your coffee cup on the coffee table where the kids can spill it.

All of that to say, I have been recounting my steps during the beginning phase of Linden’s fever. Questioning my choices and second guessing my decisions. Our pediatrician told us we did everything right and that there are usually two types of fever kids. One that seizes and one that breaks. She said that half of kids will get to a high fever and it breaks on it’s own while kids prone to febrile seizing will seize. Not to say that it will happen again, plenty of kids seize once and never again but the stats suggest that once you have seized from a fever, you are more likely to again. Because I know he has seized now, and that I had also seized as a toddler, I think I will be more conservative with fevers in the future for Linden. Not that febrile seizures are a bad thing in themselves, but who wants to go through that AGAIN? Not me! It was a humbling day for sure.

To close I do need to express my thanks. I am so completely thankful for: A) being present while it occurred, B) living so insanely close to a hospital, C) God’s providence, and D) for EVERY. SINGLE. PRAYER! I remarked to Steven later how blessed we are and how grateful I am for everyone of our friends, family members, and neighbors who lifted us up in their prayers. We received so many messages and offers of food, support, and prayer. You do not even know how comforting you all were to me on a day when I was so distraught. It was such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.


3 Responses to “When your heart lives outside of your body”

  1. denise May 23, 2013 at 12:24 am #

    I love you, and am so sorry you had to go through this. I can relate, as when you were a young baby you started getting ear infections almost every four to six monthes, and didn’t grow out of them un till you were five years old. I spent many sleepless nights giving you Luke warm baths to keep your temp down, and taking you to the e.r… I didn’t realize how bad antibiotics were at that time, and just

    didn’t want to see you in pain. Being a mom is the hardest, but most rewarding job there is. You are doing a great job!

  2. Brittany @ The Pistachio Project May 23, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    Sorry you guys had to go through that. We went through a similar thing with Logan when he was about 3 years. Except it wasn’t a febrile seizure but rather a vasovagal response…basically a fainting spell. It happened when he was on his toilet and I would have never known except he had asked me to turn on the light for him. He didn’t get to go to the bathroom on his own for weeks after that. 😉


  1. Whole30 Recap: The Final Days | Confessions of a Type (B) Mama - May 23, 2013

    […] for breakfast and then our day went horribly down hill when Linden had a seizure. Read about that here. We were at the hospital for 8 hours that day. We had been there for 3 hours when we realized it […]

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