Small K and Febrile Seizure

Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016 really hasn't been looking too good. As much as I try to keep to my resolution of celebrating every victory each day no matter how small they are, there was really nothing much to cheer about over the weekend. 

Small K had been having the runs since Monday and after administering some diarrhoea meds, it still did not alleviate the problem. Then fever kicked in. But after a day, it subsided and I dismissed it as one of those "growing up" stages. The old folks always say that some fevers are a sign that the kid is going to grow taller. The fever however came back again on Friday and we decided to consult a paediatrician. Our regular PD was on leave and according to the one who was sitting in (a GP), he said that it was a case of stomach flu. That morning, Small K's fever was hovering around 37.4 degrees. That, to me was no fever. Everything went pretty fine throughout the day as his temperature was still at a manageable 38.5 degrees celsius when I was home to check on him at 6pm. The hubs and I decided to head out for dinner but at 7pm we received a call that his temperature escalated to 40.4 degrees and his eyeballs were rolling upwards (翻白眼). My throat constricted and my chest tightened. He was also shaking and the ever-chill hubs told my Mil that the boy was just feeling cold and shivering since he wasn't displaying stiffness. Hubs immediately asked our family members to administer Ibuprofen. However, I knew that deep down the hubs was like ants in a hot pan. We dashed out of the restaurant as if we had just robbed a bank and drove like an F1 driver to get the boy to the hospital. Thankfully we had yet to order our dinner. 

Along the way, I was googling on Febrile Seizure which I had previously read up on just to equip myself with information and was praying fervently that it wasn't a seizure that the boy just had. When  we arrived, I carried the limp boy who was burning like fire. Again, we zipped to the nearest hospital like Schumacher only to be greeted with a sign at the Emergency ward saying that the waiting time was estimated to be 2hours! 2HOURS? Are you mad! The husband had refused to go to the public hospital, KKH and opted for a private hospital because he didn't want to wait. I kicked up a fuss and got the boy checked in less than 10minutes. I was correct. It was Febrile Seizure. 

What is Febrile Seizure?
Febrile seizures are convulsions that occur in young children ages between 6 months to about 5 years old. The risk usually peaks during the second year of life. It is commonly accompanied with fever, cold or a ear infection. There are also some which are caused by post-immunisation. The fever, not the immunisation causes the seizure. In some cases, the child may not even have fever at the time of seizure but develop one a few hours later. About 40 percent of children who experience one febrile seizure will have a recurrence. Thanks a lot. Children at highest risk of recurrence are 
  1. Those who had it younger than 18 months (Phew, we are 20mo!)
  2. A family history of febrile seizures (I was just told by the mil that her whole kampong had it and that the hubs had two episodes when young. Thanks a lot of that late information! Why is Small K inheriting all the bad stuff from that side of the fam?)
  3. A febrile seizure as the first sign of an illness
  4. a relatively low temperature increases with their first seizure (ours was a pretty sudden spike so I guess that makes us lower risk?)
Fortunately, I was told that they are usually harmless and typically don't indicate an ongoing problem.  Simple seizures don't cause brain damage, mental retardation or learning disabilities. Febrile seizures also does not indicate epilepsy. If the seizure recur within 24hours, then, there is an increased risk of probably 10%. 

However, to be safe, we had Small K admitted in hospital for a check. Before diagnosing that it is a Febrile seizure, some doctors will perform tests to make sure it is not an underlying problem. For instance, meningitis, which is an infection of the membranes surround the brain. If a doctor suspects that, a spinal tap may be needed to check for signs of the infection in the cerebrospinal fluid. Say WHAT? It is the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Thankfully, we were spared. If there has been sever diarrhoea or vomitting, dehydration could be responsible for seizures. Likely to be our case as Small K hates taking in fluids except milk and soups. Our doctor performed a urine test to ensure that it wasn't UTI. Getting a urine sample was such a challenge! Eventually, a blood test was performed and results showed presence of bacteria which was the cause of his infection. White spots were also seen in his throat. I was initially worried that it was due to the fact that I was exposed to a student who had HFMD. I saw the kid 10 days after her symptoms and the irresponsible mother didn't want to confirm that it was HFMD and insisted that the child was well as she had returned to school. Long story short, it isn't HFMD for Small K's case. Thank God!

The symptoms
  • Severe shaking or tightening of muscles
  • jerking of arms and legs
  • vomitting
  • extreme sleepiness
  • loss of consciousness
  • breathing problems
  • eyeballs rolling up
For Small K's case, he had his eyeballs rolled up and was unresponsive for a few minutes. That was enough to freak the family out. I am sure if I was present, I would have gone insane!

What to do during a Febrile Seizure?
  1. Place him or her on a safe surface on his side, keeping the face to the side and lower arm under the head. This is to prevent the child from inhaling vomit if vomiting occurs.
  2. If your child has anything in his mouth, remove it! Don't put anything in the child's mouth during a seizure! The old folks believe in putting a metal spoon in them for fear that they will bite their tongue. But experts urge not to do that as the teeth will be damaged. 
  3. Take not of how long the episode was. Seek emergency care for seizure that lasts more than 10 minutes.
  4. Stay calm. That is the most important thing though it is also the toughest thing to do!

The 3 days spent shuttling up and down to the hospital was beyond arduous. It had rendered me utterly exhausted. The sick Small K wanted mommy. The sticky Big K also wanted mommy. Who doesn't? As reluctant as I was, I had to bring along Big K to the hospital and await the MIL to come over to trick her home. Small K was beaming when the sister was around and the moment she left, he started throwing huge tantrums and was crying incessantly. He kept demanding to go "gai gai" i.e. take a walk. The Terrible twos seemed to be hitting us earlier than we know. On a few occasions, the boy was rolling on the floor! I don't recall Big K being this bad at two but then again, the post pregnancy brain could have caused me to wipe out unpleasant thoughts. I walked up and down the corridor to get him to sleep and was successful but the moment I entered the room and put him down, he wakes up screaming. I was extremely apologetic to the 6yo patient lying next to us. However, the boy was a superb sleeper and was able to nap for 3hours despite all the commotion. I tried carrying  Small K to sleep too but after 20minutes, he awoke. My back was breaking from all the carrying. The hubs did his part by doing the night shift while I headed home to get Big K to sleep. Right after she's sound asleep, I got stuff packed and headed back to the hospital again at midnight. Even though I was at home, I was worried. Worried that his temperature would go up again. Worried that he would be difficult and the hub would lose control and throw him down the window. Wild thoughts ran through my mind. The next day, I was once again entertaining both children in the hospital as the hub went home for a quick shower and a quick eye shut. Thankfully, the girl was very cooperative and did her Tangrams whilst I made her brother sleep. He slept and every 30mins I checked on him. No nurse came in to take his temperature. I am paying private fees and yet getting such service. Finally during the last stretch of his nap, I checked and felt that he was burning up. I carried him and thought that it could perhaps be due to my cold hands. Instinctively, I called for the nurse who went into a frenzy upon checking that his temperature was 40.4degrees celsius! Immediately, suppository was administered. The poor boy was screaming his lungs out. So because of this episode, we had to stay another night. This time, the hubs was trying to persuade Me to stay over. As much as I love the boy, I didn't think I was strong enough mentally and physically to weather the night hence gave a valid excuse that Big K wouldn't sleep if I wasn't around. Day 3, we woke up early and waited for the doctor's advice. Finally! He gave us the green light to be discharged! YIPEE! We have to be on antibiotics for his bad throat and monitor any fevers closely. But at least back home, we have more help. 

So, this is the story of Small K's first and hopefully last episode of Febrile Seizure! 

A melancholic start to 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016

I have been meaning to jot down my thoughts about 2015. That didn't happen. I was busy solo parenting since 11 December 2015 till over the New Year. The hubs came back for a week there after but is jetsetting again as I type. I have been meaning to jot down my resolutions for 2016. That didn't happen either. Ok, I'm not great at keeping them anyway. The reason is legit -- The kids fell ill right after Christmas and I myself collapsed on New Year's day itself. What a way to start the year eh?

So here I am, finally, trying to pen something down before the month is over and Chinese New Year makes its entrance. It hadn't been an easy 2015. We moved twice in a short span of 4 months and anyone who has moved before would know how torturous it is. To date, I'm still decluttering! To add oil to fuel, my parents had their big shift too. And after staying at a place for 20 years, you can imagine the massive amount of things they have amassed. Me, being their only child, had to help with everything, needless to say. The entire ordeal was painful for us all because Dad, who is very house proud was reluctant to sell his place. For over two years, from me being pregnant with Small K till Small K being almost 20 months old, I was involved in handling his housing matters. Dad used to work as a manager and he is used to ordering people around instead of doing things himself. To make matters worse, his dictative nature resulted i him having very few friends (if any at all) and even his siblings shun him. So the hubs and I had to help him with the documents and renovation. I was thankful that the hubs was very hands-on and patient with Dad. Between taking care of my kids, unpacking and packing, and the daily grindings of life, I really didn't have much patience for the old man. Empress Dowager wasn't easy either. She refused to sell after Dad was ready to accept an offer as she was worried that her health couldn't take the stress of the move. Yup, she would rather forsake a million-dollar deal. Long story short, I threw an ultimatum at them and things went through. Now, they have settled down in their new place. 

Moving into the new year, I thought that things should get a tad better. After all, what could go wrong? But dark clouds had to continue to loom over me. Everything went awry! The hubs surprised me with a new handphone specially couriered to me. Sadly, the screen cracked on the first day of use. No wait, I didn't even get to use! Then, the whole family fell prey to a nasty virus. Solo parenting with 2 young toddlers and living in a small place with 6 other people really didn't help. The virus kept circulating. Just when the source finally got well, and I was beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, Small K developed a high fever overnight. He puked in the middle of the night on several occasions and at one point of time, i was changing the sheets twice in a night! I am now in fact, nursing my second round of bad throat and I haven't even started feasting on CNY goodies! At this point, I am terribly lacking in sleep, time and patience. 

Career wise, things haven't been going all too smoothly too. I have made a choice to cut things down a little in order to manage logistics for my kids in a better fashion. With the hubs always travelling, I can no longer do late nights as by the time I knock off and pick the kids, it would probably be 10+pm! With my current pool of clients, I would still be able to survive fairly decently. However, Lady Luck decided to play a cruel joke on me and several clients fell ill. This affected my income. It really doesn't help coz I am someone who shop a lot when I get stressed. With the advent of the Internet, shopping is really just a click away! 

I am really trying to move on to the next best thing and busy myself with stuff as that probably is the best thing to do in order to sieve out negative thoughts. However, fear has to crept back into my life. You see, 6 months ago, I did a pap smear. The result was not very favourable. Some kind of atypical cell was detected and i was categorised as a Class 2. Sounds scary right? Frightening thoughts raced through my mind. I googled heaps as all the nurse told me was to be back for a second assessment 6months later. I completely forgotten about it as I was too busy with life and plus Mr Google told me that it could be nothing and there was really nothing I could do about it. Today, as I stepped into the clinic, cold chills ran down my spine and my heart palpitated crazily. The gynae said that he was going to have me tested for cervical cancer. Wasn't I vaccinated?? Apparently, according to him, the vaccine only covers 70% so let's hope I'm within that 70% eh? I was a wreck the entire day; a bundle of nerves. This feeling of fear will continue to engulf me for a week till I get the test results. Meanwhile, life had to go on. I had to manage the situation and continue with work and together with Empress Dowager, visit my grandfather who suffered a transient stroke on Saturday. I had to represent my parents and do most of the visiting coz, well, Dad has serious bad blood with his Pops. Now if you have read my blog enough, you might have gotten the drift that Empress Dowager and I don't have the best relationship in the world. And she really tested my limits today. I confided in her about my fears for my health and the reply I gotten from her was that she was in a far worse situation the last two months coz she was worried that her Thyroid condition would recur. I told her that thyroid can be cured but she had to be on the winning side by saying that it would require a lot of money and lots of medicine to be taken. HUH! A wave of futile rage swept over me. Seriously why do I even bother talking to her?

With a heavy and bated breath, I really hope that things will see a turn. For one, I hope that everyone's health will be good this year. Am trying to make things a little simpler and minimalistic this year (haha, ok, go ahead, laugh at me!) So here are my resolutions for the year:

  1. FOCUS! This applies to anything and everything!
  2. Have more work-life balance. Be it with the family or socially. Life has been rather sad on the social front as the hub travels a lot and I haven't got much help in the evenings. Hence the onus of taking care of the kids falls on me. I am not expecting much honestly but it would be really nice if I get to go out and let my hair down once a month?
  3. To celebrate little victories everyday. Shit happens on a daily basis and I will still rant but I will think more positively and appreciate the little things in life. 

photo credit: Pinterest