Our son had a Febrile Convulsion last Thursday. It is a seizure caused by a sudden spike in fever which leads to a short burst of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It is quite common in children. Their undeveloped system basically shuts down and needs to recalibrate itself. It can happen once and never again, or it can be a regular occurrence, however children grow out of it usually by about 6 years old.
My partner had left for work early and I was getting our son ready for day care. He had a slight fever but nothing out of the norm of teething. He seemed happy as always. I noticed him straining a little so I put him in front of the TV while I ate my breakfast at the table behind him. A minute or so passed - he was unusually quiet watching cartoons so I checked him. He had vomited. He was blue, his eyes were in the back of his head and he had stopped breathing.
I freaked out, but was strangely calm - we are so isolated on our property and I was by myself, so it was only me that could do anything for him at that moment. All I could think of was brain damage with lack of oxygen. I cleared his throat – I had to pry open his jaws as they were clenched due to the full seizure. He vomited whatever he had choked on and turned pink again. I placed pressure on his back to clear anything else and called 000 in a panic as he was still seizing. I had no idea what was happening. The operator talked me through the situation and told me to lay him on his side and keep him cool – that it was most likely a Febrile Convulsion. She called the paramedics and stayed with me on the line until they arrived. We live about 45 minutes from anywhere and they arrived in 25. The seizure lasted the whole time. As soon as they walked in the door my son sat up like nothing had happened. The only thing he said was “uh oh”. My partner met us at the hospital – he made a 45 minute F3 drive in about 5 minutes. We were both so shaken, but after spending the day in Emergency, our son was given the all clear. We have all come down with the most revolting gastro the past week – let’s just say we have lost at least a few kilograms. Our son has been such a soldier and smiled through the whole thing. He is saying words and recognises pictures that he did not before the seizure - it is like he has been struck by lightening. One plus that has come from his episode. The brain is an amazing thing.
The experience reminded me of how precious this life is and how grateful we should be each day for our blessings. I say this every day usually, however it is now more clear than ever for me. We all have our own lives to live, our paths to take. The things that happen to us along the way and how we deal with them make us who we are. I really empathise with parents who have a sick child and who have to spend days, weeks, months in and out of hospital – how stressed and concerned they must be 24/7 to see their little person so helpless. To lose a child must be heart-wrenching and I can not imagine how difficult that journey would be. I know I was not ready to hand over ours. We tend to fight for causes close to home - I share this story to bring awareness to a very common medical condition.
For more information on Febrile Convulsions and how to treat them go to: