Tamiflu and the Tooth Fairy

Annabella finally caught the swine flu that Val had last week. It was ugly. High, high fever. So high, in fact, that when it reached 104 she had a seizure. It happened despite being on her usual Tylenol/Motrin schedule that we have to do for all fevers. She had taken a 3 hour nap and I went to check on her around 1 p.m. She was pretty hot and the thermometer read 104. I stayed calm, had her go potty, gave her some Motrin and let her go back to sleep.

I went to our bedroom to make a phone call to the pediatrician’s office asking what the heck I’m supposed to do to get that fever down, but they were on their lunch break. (Why do they even take a lunch break at the height of flu season? Can’t they stagger their breaks so someone is always there to answer the phone? Argh.) Anyway, as I walked down the hall outside Bella’s room, I heard strange noises, almost like she was saying gibberish, maybe hallucinating from the fever, I thought. When I walked in, I knew immediately she was having a grand mal seizure. He body was stiffened and she was making strange gurgling noises from her mouth–like she did with her only other grand mal seizure at 15 months old.

I grabbed her out of bed and rushed into the living room. Tears were popping out of my eyes, but other than that I think I stayed fairly calm. Her body felt like it was on fire so I stripped off all her clothes. I turned her on her side and then covered her loosely with a blanket. I got the Diastat (rectal Valium to be used to stop seizures like this that last more than 5 minutes) primed and ready to apply. Man, that is hard to do when you’re frantic. I’ve never used it before, so I was keeping one eye on Bella to make sure she was still breathing and the other on the stupid Diastat directions. Somewhere in here I called 911.

Then the seizure stopped or, I should say, seemed to fizzle out. But her eyes were still rolled back in her head and she was unresponsive to my frantic “Bella! Bella! Mommy’s here!” cries. So, I didn’t know what to do. Do I put her in a lukewarm bath? Sponge her down? What?? What?? It’s an incredibly helpless feeling. It feels like your child is dying right in front of your eyes. The panic and fear just buzz up into your brain–it’s unlike anything I’ve ever felt, and it makes me cry just thinking about it.

Thank GOD she seemed to come out of it right about then. When she started sucking her thumb and seemed to be sleeping–instead of seizing–I felt like the worst had passed. Then the paramedics arrived. I’m trying not to think of the impending bills from this episode. Did you know an ambulance ride costs about $900? In retrospect, I think I should have just rushed her to the hospital after the seizure myself…but something about that fever was freaking me out. I just kept thinking it was going to fry her little brain.

The hospital was fine. We saw a bunch of people who all did the same thing: checked her temp, looked in her ears, asked us the same questions. Do these people not know how to communicate with each other? I was ready to deck the third person who insisted on using that stupid ear tool to peer into her ears! She HATES that.

We walked out of there with a script for Tamiflu. And when we picked Valerie up from the neighbor’s (thank you, Andrea Sylvester, for watching Val!), the first thing she showed me was that she had lost her other front tooth! “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, Mommy!” she sang to me. A few days before I told her she needs to work on knocking that other tooth out so we can sing that song. And she did. And the Tooth Fairy came. But the Tooth Fairy had just been through hell.

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