On Sunday I was shopping with the kids. We were having a good time together, talking about the garden we hope to have and what kind of flowers the kids want to plant when it's warm enough. We bought a lawn mower, some soil for the flower beds and a shovel. Then we headed to Fred Meyer to get some things from the deli for dinner with Daddy (he was working overnight at the base).
As we're checking out, Elsa points out the Isaac is crying. I turn around and see that he is really pale and a little panicky. I asked it he was going to throw up and he said he felt like it. So we pulled out of line and started walking around to get to the bathroom. He kept getting paler and paler, and within a couple of aisles was not seeming able to walk on his own. I picked him up and held him cradle style and decided to leave the cart and go to the car if he was that sick. As I looked down at him, his lips were turning blue...so I bee-lined for the pharmacy, thinking maybe he was having some sort of allergic reaction to something, though I couldn't imagine what. Adin and Elsa were pushing the cart with Ephraim sitting in it. As I sat down on the bench there, he threw up some and I used his shirt to catch it. I kept looking around wanting to ask someone for help, but not sure what kind of help I needed. I was feeling irritated that no one was stopping to help me on their own, but looking back on it, I was WAY too calm...no one probably even realized there was anything wrong.
After a couple of minutes, I flagged down a checker and asked for some paper towels. She went to get them and about that time, a sweet lady named Anne stopped and asked if she could help me with anything. I asked her for some baby wipes to clean him up and then I took his shirt off.
(This time period lasted about 10-15 minutes, though it sounds super short) Right about this point, his body went almost completely limp. I laid him back in my arms and tried to keep him awake. The whole area around his chin, nose and lips was turning blue and he was doing no more than moaning and sometimes responding to my talking to him by barely opening his eyes. He had no body muscle control at all, especially his neck and head which were completely limp. I never felt like he didn't have oxygen, but I did feel like something in his body was failing. Anne told me she thought we should call an ambulance. I agreed and so the checker did so right away. That's the moment I started to feel true panic, but I was thankfully able to stay calm. I called Dave to tell him I needed him to try to find a substitute so he could leave and meet me at the ER. About that same time, Isaac looked up at me and said "I can hear you" and his color started coming back. Then the paramedics walked in to assess the situation. They asked Isaac how he was and he nodded. He even made a little smile at a joke the EMT made. And then he lifted his head a little.
They didn't take his vitals, but looking at him, they felt he didn't need an ambulance ride. I agreed. Looking back, I should have insisted that they at least taking his blood pressure and pulse, based on what I know now. I think they thought I was overreacting and that the blue must be due to excessive vomiting and crying, none of which were the case here. Anne told me later that Isaac looked so bad, she didn't think the paramedics would make it in time to save him. That's how bad these minutes felt. It makes me sick just thinking about it.
We got another cart for Isaac to lay in since he was too sick to walk and then Anne watched the kids while the checker quickly moved me through the checkout with my purchases. Then we left after I profusely thanked those 2 lovely women. I was on the fence about going to the ER at that point since Isaac seemed to be okay. I called Dave to let him know what was going on and he said he really wanted to see the kids. So we decided to go to the base and have our picnic. I stayed in the car with Ephraim and Isaac and Dave spent some time playing with the older 2. I got to chat with Isaac as he was fully coherent and chatty by this point. He told me he couldn't hear me for a long time, and that his tummy had felt really sick. He didn't remember what had happened after he threw up, but he was all better now. "My arm is better too Mommy!" I asked him which arm and he said his left one. I asked him what it felt like and he said at first it hurt, but then he couldn't feel it. He said he finally could feel it when the cart hit a bump on our way to the car.
I decided to get the kids home so we could get ready to go to the ER and find out what really happened. This was no flu bug. We said goodbye to Daddy and went home. Isaac got a shower while the other kids changed and got some toys and books together for a long night at the ER. Isaac was doing so well at this point he was singing commercials in the shower. His color was completely all better and he was super perky.
We got to the ER 4 hours after the whole incident. I told them what had happened and I was concerned about a possible heart attack or stroke. They got us right back in there and hooked Isaac up with the basic heart monitors, a blood pressure cuff and a pulse monitor. All of which looked fabulous, and completely normal. The Dr came in and did an assessment, then they did an EKG. Which also looked great.
The Dr. then told me this whole thing was most likely a seizure. He said basically that kids often just do "weird things that scare us" and we never know why. A heart attack or stroke in a normally healthy 5 year old would be incredibly rare. Isaac's reactions and responses to questions showed no damage or side effects from anything that had happened. He said I did exactly what I should have, and getting him in there earlier in this case wouldn't have mattered. If it happens again (which is very unlikely) then they would observe him for 24 hours and run some mild tests. If it happened a third time, then they would start to do the full gamut of tests to figure out if something more serious was going on.
We were only in the ER for 2 hours, which was so nice. And it was relieving to know that my boy is okay, even if he did scare the life out of me. I aged 10 years for sure. The terror of the whole thing didn't hit me until about 4am that night. I have delayed reactions to trauma. This is what I found regarding random childhood seizures . It appears to be a "Simple Partial Seizure".
Other seizure types are less dramatic. Shaking movements may be isolated to one arm or part of the face. Alternatively, the child may suddenly stop responding and stare for a few seconds, sometimes with chewing motions or smacking the lips. These may be called simple partial or complex partial seizures depending on whether the child remains aware.
Seizures may also cause "sensations" that only the child feels. As an example, one type of seizure can cause stomach discomfort, fear, or an unpleasant smell. These feelings are simple partial seizures, commonly referred to as auras. A child usually experiences the same symptoms with each seizure aura. Sometimes, a seizure aura can occur before a convulsive seizure. (See "Overview of the classification, etiology, and clinical features of pediatric seizures and epilepsy".)
After a seizure (postictal state) — With some types of seizures, the child may appear to be awake during the seizure, but is actually unaware and will have no memory of the event.
The period following a seizure is called the postictal state. During this time, the child may be confused and tired, and may develop a throbbing headache. This period usually lasts several minutes, although it can last for hours or even days.
In some children, the postictal period comes with other symptoms. For example, the child may experience mild to severe weakness in a hand, arm, or leg.
Other people have difficulty speaking or experience temporary (partial) vision loss or other types of sensory loss. These symptoms usually resolve over several minutes and can be important clues about the type of seizure and the part of the brain that was affected during the seizure.
It's just incredible how you take health and life for granted. We are always grateful for our kids, but looking at how different things could be...when you try to imagine your life without even 1 of them....it's enough to make you take stock of your life and priorities. This was so scary for us, and I am SO very thankful our sweet boy is okay and that we don't have to worry overmuch about a future incident. Seeing this precious face every day is all the blessing I need right now.