The scariest day of my life to date, luckily, seems to have no long-term consequence. To be honest, I still struggle to distinguish parent to child love and protective feelings from any other deep love like sibling, child to parent, spouse or good friend. In a way, I did for the first time on Saturday morning when my daughter started convulsing in my lap.
I felt it more again an hour or so later when I saw the pain in my husband’s eyes as he admitted that her high fever may have begun the night before and he simply overlooked it since he had been sick. The line between any deep love and the love a parent has for a child may be subtle but I know now that it certainly is distinct: We are responsible for this life. We create it, we nurture it, and what we do or don’t do directly affects their entire being. Though the affect we have and the responsibilities we bare wane, they are distinctly different from any obligation one creates for another kind of loved one.
Fio started convulsing after 8am after 1 cranky hour in which she whined and drank a lot of water and then vomited. I recognized the fever immediately and figured we had passed one of two or three sicknesses that has been going around our home. After she threw up, I pulled her exhausted body into my lap and we watched a favorite kids dancing and singing program. When she started her strange dance, I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t see it since she was laying on me facing out. She stopped after only a moment and I called Jake in. He said she looked sick, listless. It was probably just the fever. As soon as he walked out of sight back to the kitchen, it started again, this time with a rhythmic pounding of fists before full body jolts. I screamed for Jake and he looked at her face and reached out for her, “The is not normal, call 1-1-9 (ambulance and fire in Japan).” I did and they arrived 10 minutes later. In that time, I packed the essentials before taking her back from him and holding her as her seizure continued.
Nearly 1 hour later, Jake and I were still in the ER going over every action in our minds, every moment we could have done something or not done something to improve our odds of a healthy recovery, trying not to think about the things that are out of our control that could be the cause while also trying not to think of anything in our control where we know our quick actions still weren’t quick enough.
Despite medicine, she seized for over an hour, nearly two. Before she stopped, they started the process of eliminating suspects. CT scan, spinal tap, blood work, urine, stool. At some point, she was listed stable enough for a room and we relocated.
We got through that day and I spent all night and day with her today. Her father just took over and will be on 24/7 duty until the weekend again. All is well now. We still don’t know the cause, but we know it is NOT one of the life threatening or otherwise chronic diseases. It could just be one of the unlucky kids under 2 who seize with a high fever. She has Influenza A so we also have more illness to look forward to, unless the fever I had two weeks ago was my first bout of that.
It’s so hard to imagine that we were in the thick of this and deep prayers only 36 hours ago. And prayers – not knowing what I should really pray for. There have been so many losses in the last year or so, I feel “prepared” for the unthinkable. And only 12 hours before that, I was at a doctors office with a perfectly healthy, upbeat, playful 18 month old getting a clean bill of health for her 18 month check-up.
Fio was in better spirits today, but her fever persists and along with getting better, she wants to leave her hospital room, which is not allowed for Influenza kids. So it is hard to comfort her all around. She has an IV in her arm taped up tightly with padding making her resemble a boxer. We keep trying to make light of that, but Fio doesn’t appreciate our humor: she wants the IV out and her hands free.
She’ll have more tests before she’s released. They don’t expect to find anything, but they want to be certain that they have actually ruled out the brain disorders.
I know there are far worse tragedies that people face every day, so when I say this was my scariest day of my life to date, I have to follow It by saying, I truly hope it stays that way. Here’s to many more healthy and happy years for all my children and slightly less sleepless nights for Mom and Dad because of it.