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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Unexpected medical situation forces woman to call 9-1-1.

Submitted: October 24, 2007

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Submitted: October 24, 2007



When my baby daughter Ariana was fifteen months old, my husband Tom and I lived in Rio Linda, California.  We were in the process of moving from a little yellow house to the larger white next door that had recently been vacated by the previous tenants.  Because we were only moving next door, it was not as much of a hassle as moving across town.  Most of our belongings could simply be boxed up and walked over to the new house, using the chain link gate that separated the two yards. 
The moving was almost accomplished when Ariana came down with an extremely high fever one night.  I stripped her down to nothing but a diaper, to keep her cool, and settled in for the night in the new house. 
The air was hot and humid, and a severe thunderstorm pelted Rio Linda with unending sheets of rain.  Wind howled through the trees and thunder shook the windows, which further upset the baby.
Despite the horrendous driving conditions, Tom knew that he had to drive to a pharmacy for some Baby Tylenol to bring Ariana's fever down.  She was burning up!
He left with our little Datsun station wagon and I was left to comfort my sick baby.  I didn't know why she had such a high fever.  I knew that she didn't have an ear infection, because she hadn't been pulling on her ears.  She was uncomfortable and inconsolable, but there was one tactic I could use that never failed to comfort her:  I could breastfeed her.
She became quiet and noticeably calmer as she sucked on my breast.  If I could just keep her calm until my husband returned with the Tylenol . . .
I stroked her back and ran my fingers gently through her hair, lulling her into a fragile sleep.She had drifted off for just a few minutes when, quite suddenly, she jerked, her arms and fingers fully extended in alarm.  She let out a frightened shriek, but I calmed her down again.  I assumed that she had had a bad dream and had reacted impulsively.  Fortunately, she hadn't clamped her teeth down on my nipple.
The jerky movements had seemed to be just a fluke.  I wasn't extremely concerned.A few minutes later, however, it happened again, only this time she seemed to be in a state of panic for a few seconds longer.  When she finished, she let out a petrified scream!
Now I knew that something serious was going on.  I pulled her off my breast to look more closely at her.Her unseeing eyes looked up at me, locked in terror.  Then her eyes began to roll toward the top of her head and she began to convulse uncontrollably. 
"My God!" I thought.  "She's having a seizure!" 
I had to get to a phone to call 9-1-1, but the service in our new house wasn't scheduled to be turned on until the next day.  I had to run next door to use the phone!
I wrapped Ariana in a blanket.  She was still convulsing, but I held her tightly as I carefully made my way down the front steps and across the yard to the gate between the two properties.  Ariana had never had a seizure before, and I was petrified!
As I reached the front door of the old house, I prayed that I hadn't locked the door.  Good!  It was unlocked!
I ran inside to the kitchen and grabbed the phone.  My shaking fingers dialed 9-1-1.  I held the baby as tightly as I could so that I wouldn't drop her. 
"Help!  I need an ambulance right away!" I screamed to the dispatcher.  "My baby's having a seizure!"
"Okay, calm down, ma'am.  A seizure simply means that the neurons in your baby's brain aren't firing properly.  There's no need to panic."
"Okay, what do I do?" I inquired. 
"Lay her down on the floor and roll her over on her side until the seizure is over.  We've got an ambulance on the way."
I complied and watched helplessly as my baby's tiny body shook over and over again.  Her head snapped back and forth.  I learned from the dispatcher that this seizure was probably the result of the high fever.
"How old is the baby?" he asked.
"Fifteen months," I responded, still watching my jerking baby in utter horror.
The seizure eventually stopped, and Ariana let out ear-piercing, terrified cries, but the dispatcher told me that that was a good sign.  At least she was conscious.
I hadn't thought of it that way, and picked up my baby to comfort her.  I gave further details to the dispatcher, who insisted on staying on the phone with me until help arrived. 
A knock on the door startled me.  The ambulance had arrived.  I opened the door to the welcome sight of a team of Emergency Medical Technicians.
"Yes, we were dispatched because your fifteen-year-old just had a seizure?" They'd been slightly misinformed.
"No, she's fifteen months old, not fifteen years.  The seizure stopped.  What should I do with her?"
The house was void of furniture, so I laid her on the rug where the E.M.T.'s could check her vital signs and perform various other tests.Eventually, Ariana was laid on a stretcher and taken to the waiting ambulance.
Tom returned from the pharmacy and pulled up next to the old house, horrified to see an ambulance in the driveway, sitting there with flashing lights.  An E.M.T. went up and knocked on his window. 
"Get out of the car.  Your daughter just had a seizure." 
The words hit my husband like a ton of bricks.  He stepped out in slow motion into the surreal environment of flashing, swirling lights.  Doing his best to maintain his composure, he walked up to the house as another E.M.T. informed him of what had happened. 
Ariana needed to be taken to the hospital immediately.  With the baby quiet now and already in the ambulance, I climbed up into the back of the vehicle and asked Tom to grab my purse from the other house.  Ariana's medical coverage card was in there. 
Tom followed us to the hospital and joined us inside. 
A rectal thermometer revealed that Ariana's temperature had soared to 103 degrees!  Baby Tylenol was administered immediately, and I knew that Ariana wasn't feeling well because she took the medicine without fighting anyone.
Ultimately, the cause of the fever turned out to be an ear infection.  Although I was surprised, I was relieved to learn that the underlying problem was fully treatable with an aggressive course of antibiotics.  A few days later, Ariana was feeling much better. 
From that day on, my husband and I always kept Baby Tylenol on hand and administered it to Ariana at the first sign of a fever.  The seizure had been an incident that I didn't EVER want to repeat! 

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