The Ambulance

I had never before needed to call 911.  About two weeks ago the girl came down with something (most likely from some snotty kid at the community play place) and threw up after dinner.  She also had a fever.  I learned of the fever and barfing via text messages from the wife as I was enjoying pre-game beers before heading to the Avett Brothers concert in Minneapolis.  Seems like it's only when either the wife or I are out of town that the kids get sick.  Anyway, I texted back my condolences and didn't think much about it, assuming it was a typical "puking, fever, treat-with-Children's-Tylenol-for-a-few-days-and-everything-goes-back-to-normal" illness.  I returned home the following afternoon and the girl seemed OK.  The wife was administering the 4-6 hour medication cycle - give medicine, fever goes down, wait 4-6 hours for the fever to return, give medicine, fever goes down, etc.  Nothing different than what we'd previously experienced numerous times with both the boy and the girl.  However, on this occasion things would be different.

About two hours after putting her to bed, we heard the girl crying.  I went to her room to check what was the matter and arrived just in time to catch her refunded dinner in my hands.  After several years of practice and way too many loads of laundry run in the wee hours, I'm actually getting pretty good at this.  And it's really not as disgusting as you might think - generally more liquid than solid at this age.  The difficult part is not spilling any as you're hustling to the bathroom to get rid of it.  So the wife decided to stay with the girl in her room in case she got sick again.  I figured I'd wind down with some mindless TV and then hit the sack myself.  About 30 minutes later, I heard the wife calling my name.  I headed to the girl's room and found her convulsing in my wife's arms.  She was making a gagging noise, and at first I thought she might have the dry heaves.  I quickly realized that this was more serious, and while it seemed like an eternity, the seizure probably lasted for about a minute.  After she stopped shaking, the girl went completely limp and was unresponsive.  At this point the wife and I were both pretty freaked out and I called 911.

I must say that the 911 operator was very composed and helped to calm us down.  The first folks to arrive at the house (I'd guess between 5 and 10 minutes after the call - it's all a blur) were a couple of police officers, followed shortly thereafter by the paramedics.  Upon seeing the girl they weren't in a panic, so I was less worried about the situation.  The initial diagnosis was that the girl had a febrile seizure, which apparently happens at some point to approximately 5% of all children.  And normally they're not very serious, despite the fact that they scare the shit out of the parents.  They're caused by rapid body temperature changes (either up or down) associated with fevers.  The important thing is to make sure the child doesn't choke or fall off the bed during the event.  About 45 minutes later, the girl was still pretty out of if, although she occasionally opened her eyes and seemed to be aware that we were present.  The paramedics suggested taking her to the hospital to get checked out and confirm that nothing more serious was going on.  So I helped load the girl into the ambulance as the wife followed behind in our car and I stayed home with the boy (who thankfully slept through the entire ordeal).

A couple hours later, the wife returned home with the girl who was sleeping peacefully in her car seat.  The initial tests at the ER were all negative, but the wife was told to make a follow-up appointment with the doc to try to find the cause of the fever.  It turns out that the girl had a UTI and was prescribed an antibiotic.  By the way, I was shocked when the pharmacy informed me that the medicine cost $100 AFTER the insurance portion was covered and would have been $400 if we didn't have insurance (insert health care rant here).  I called the doc's office and asked if there was a suitable substitute and ended up with a different drug that cost $8.  Are you kidding me?!  Why would the doc prescribe the $100 drug in the first place??  I guess that's a topic for another blog.

So now almost two weeks later the girl is thankfully back to her old self.  While our experience wasn't technically an "emergency", I was pleased to see the kind of the response we could expect to receive in the event of a more serious situation.  I have to commend all the medical professionals involved for their quick response, competence, and calm, professional actions (minus the doc's original prescription) and now have an even greater respect for the folks whose jobs are to take care of people in trouble.


Forget the beer for now.  I need something a bit stronger.



Ted said...

Eric, WOW! I guess this is how I'm going to be getting news from scary. I'm glad to hear the girl is doing well. I'm glad her parents are as well.

On a side and unrelated note I hope your team gets to the sweet sixteen this year. Only four games in and my picks are looking pretty bad.

bruce said...

i like a story with a happy ending

Eric said...

Thanks Ted. I've got your Dukies making it to the Elite 8. And would rather have them win it all than a lot of other teams. Good luck with the picks.

Eric said...

Me too Bruce!

Anonymous said...

Hi Eric,
So glad she is okay. Sounds pretty scary. I'm grateful our girls have never had a seizure, but I've heard about them.
Diane in California

Eric said...

Yeah, not too fun Diane, but all is well now.

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