It took me like 10 minutes to figure out what to call this post. I didn’t want it to sound overly alarming, and I didn’t want it to sound unfeeling.
But let’s get this out of the way: Everything is fine. This post has a good ending. So know that going in.
My kids are prone to febrile seizures. Jack has had several of them, and Viv had had at least one, though I think two, before this week. They follow a similar pattern — they act kind of weird, then collapse, then spike a fever, then pass out, basically. Jack usually vomits, too. Viv gets kind of shaky and mottled.
So, I generally know what we’re dealing with. But that didn’t make the events of Tuesday any easier to handle.
On Tuesday, Viv woke up looking a bit sick. She had a really low fever — about 99.5 — which I thought could just be teething or a random fever. Or even just too warm from being in her bed with the 12 blankies she insists on having in there (seriously). So, I gave her some Tylenol and didn’t think too much about it.
I took her and Jack to daycare, and went to work. I told daycare that she hadn’t been feeling great that morning. Around 11:30, when I know they are getting ready to nap, and when I thought the Tylenol might be wearing off, I called over. They said she had been doing great. So, I decided to go for a run over my lunch break and didn’t take my phone. I told daycare I wouldn’t have it on me for about an hour.
Friends, I always have my phone. Well, almost always. But when the kids are at daycare, I call the daycare to say when I won’t have it on me, for a run, and how long I’ll be gone. It’s important to me that they always know where I am, just in case. Lately I’ve wondered if I’m just paranoid.
I ran with my friends Rob and Rana, and we decided to do a 4-mile route. I usually run 5-7 miles at lunch, and haven’t done such a short lunch run in about two years. It also meant our usual route was slightly altered at the end.
As we were finishing, we run toward the gym where we all meet, which is next to my daycare and a block from my work. (Welcome to small town South Dakota.) I look up and see one of the daycare workers running toward me. They often park in a lot just past us, so I thought she was just teasing me about running.
And so I did a funny run. Like a moron.
Then I realized, she wasn’t laughing. She was screaming at me.
“You have to get to the hospital! Genevieve had a seizure and we had to take her! Get to the hospital!”
I don’t think anyone wants to hear something like that. I know many parents go through things 100 times worse than that all the time, as I’m writing this. But it was still terrifying.
In my panic, I ran back into the gym to get my insurance card. What the hell? I was clearly not thinking straight.
My friend Rob met me outside with his truck, which had been parked right there, and raced me to the hospital. On the way, I was able to call daycare, and they told me that during her nap, Viv got really weird, her eyes rolled back and she had a full-blown seizure for a few minutes. Then they took her temperature and it was 104.9.
That’s pretty high, even for my fevery kids.
They called 911, and one of the teachers went to the hospital with her. As soon as I heard about the fever, I admit I relaxed a bit. I feel really guilty even saying that, but I felt like, well, that’s probably just a seizure from the fever.
When I got to the hospital, which is the same one Philip is a critical care nurse at, he was already with her. Someone from daycare ran to the newspaper where I work, got a coworker, who then tracked him down at work, and he was able to meet the ambulance at the hospital door.
Poor Viv had a pretty big work-up — an RSV test (negative), a chest X-ray for pneumonia (negative) and a test for a UTI (also negative). The cause? Random virus.
But my poor girl. She was so worn out, so hot and feverish, and so sick and scared of being poked and prodded. We were there for a few hours, and she just slept on my shoulder. I love the snuggle, but hate the reason, you know?
She’s doing pretty well now, still some fevers and crankiness, but better.
I can’t tell you how terrifying it was to see my daycare provider racing toward me, screaming.
And I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the daycare teacher who rode to the hospital with Genevieve, so she wouldn’t be alone. For the first responders who were so gentle to us at the hospital. For my coworkers, who tracked Philip down.
And, I found out later, who actually ran part of the route I usually run, and brought a car down to the bike path to meet me. Unfortunately, I ran a different route that day. But still — I feel like a huge group mobilized to help us.
The kindness of it overwhelms me.
Viv rallied that afternoon and looked like this for about an hour:
Then she was a snoozy bear all evening.