what, me worry?

The Potato was pretty sick last night, and I’m dragging today. He ran a high fever, and he wouldn’t go to sleep alone. I sat in the rocking chair in his room with him for an hour or so, and eventually let him fall asleep in our bed. The fever had broken by the time I fell asleep, but I didn’t want to move him. I know all parents hate it when their kids are sick, but I’m scared as hell of fevers.

The Bee was not quite three when she had her first febrile seizure. It was on a Sunday evening–the three of us had been at a wedding the night before, and she had been sort of tired and listless all that day, but mostly I chalked it up to a late night. We had taken her temperature earlier that evening, and she had a slight fever. She and landisdad were on the couch watching tv when he noticed that she was unconscious–I was at the other end of our family room. He ran to call 911, and after that I sent him down the street to knock on the door of our neighbor–a pediatric nurse–while I held her seizing body and thought, ‘she’s dying in front of me.’ She came out of it right before the paramedics showed up, and they stabilized her with some oxygen, and then we went to the ER. When they took her temp it was about 103–high, but not outrageous. I went in the ambulance with her, and landisdad followed us in the car. She was crying and disoriented the whole time. We got into the pedes ER, and since we clearly weren’t a real emergency, had to wait about an hour before being seen by a doctor. The whole time, we were listening to some kid screaming, and I was silently thankful that I wasn’t his mother, having to deal with whatever horrible accident had befallen him.

When the doctor finally came, she sent us off to get the Bee an MRI. She was so upset that they had to sedate her to make sure she would lie still for the procedure. She held my thumb as she fell asleep, and then they wheeled her off. She looked so small, lying in the machine…

Eventually, the doctor came and told us that the MRI was fine, she had no brain damage, and diagnosed it as a febrile seizure. She said that some small number of kids have a lower fever threshhold than most people, and that this might happen again, or it might not–and that the Bee would almost surely grow out of it when she was six or seven. She told us that we didn’t really need to go to the ER if it happened again, although it was up to us.

In the end, the Bee was also diagnosed with shigellosis, which made us the pariahs of her daycare for a little while (we had to keep her home for three weeks), and actually involved a quarantine from the Department of Health, which made me feel like a Dickens character. That was what had caused her fever (you gotta love it when your kid gets a highly contagious disease that’s known as ‘the American form of dysentary’. Oh yeah, and when you get it too.).

The second one happened about ten months later. In some ways, it was less scary than the first–at least we knew what was happening. Unlike the first time, she had actually been sick that day, so we weren’t totally surprised. But this time, she stopped breathing. And she started to turn blue. I held her (again) as landisdad dialed 911 (again) and ran to the neighbor’s (again) (and btw, I was so excited when the pedes nurse moved into the neighborhood, but the guy has literally never been home when we’ve had an emergency). And again, I thought, ‘I’m losing her.’ This time, I gave her mouth-to-mouth, and she started breathing almost as if she had forgotten how, and just needed a puff to remind her what to do.

The paramedics came (again), and we went to the hospital. I was about 7 months pregnant with the Potato, so that time LD rode in the ambulance. After it pulled away from the curb, I let myself hyperventilate for about 30 seconds before I dashed to the car to follow them. And (again) the doctor told us that we didn’t really have to come to the ER. I was very proud of myself for not saying, ‘Bitch, my kid turned blue! We’re coming to the hospital every single time that happens.’ We went home, no MRI this time, and we spoiled the Bee rotten.

And now every single time one of my kids has a fever, I wonder if it’s going to happen again. There’s no certainty that it ever will, but there’s no certainty that it won’t, either. Last night, I thought, ‘I wonder if I’ll still worry about this when she’s 16? or he’s 26?’ Because if there’s one thing I’ve come to realize about parenting, it’s that the worry never ends.


January 21, 2006. thoughtful parenting.


  1. Jack's Raging Mommy replied:

    I have such nightmares about things like this happening. I’m positive I wouldn’t be able to keep my stuff together what with all the crazy. Thank God Joe is so down to Earth.

    Also? You should have said that to the doctor. There has got to be something wrong with a doctor who tells people not to bring in their babies when they turn blue.

    You are much better at this than I.

  2. Annie replied:

    You’re right… it doesn’t ever end.

    Hope all is well in Sweet Potato Land now.

  3. chichimama replied:

    Oh God, how scary for you. I freak out at fevers, and can only imagine how much more the panic would be if I had actually seen my child have a seizere. Many, many, mnay hugs.

  4. Kdubs replied:

    Oh you poor thing. That has never happend to my son but his fever has gotten really high and I flipped out. 😦 How awful. I hope you all feel better very soon and it doesn’t spread in the house. Hug!

  5. Sandra replied:

    For years, I expected (and dreaded) febrile seizures, but fortunately we dodged the bullet. I’ve always read that they’re not dangerous, but they sound so scary. Hope your Potato is feeling better soon.

  6. Suzanne replied:

    Oh, how scary. I guess parents do find ways to stay somewhat calm when their kids are, say, turning blue; I hope I never have to find out how. I’m glad the Potato had just a plain old fever!

  7. elise replied:

    I got that feeling where the hairs stand out on the back of your neck while reading this! I’ve had that panicked feeling twice with Thomas. Once when he was just a baby and fell down the stairs – flipping on the way down. On the way to the hospital he was falling asleep in my arms and I thought he had a serious head injury. We live in the country and I knew the hospital would not be able to handle a head injury. It turned out he was just pooped out from all his crying! Another time he passed out in the school nurses office in my arms (I was there volunteering). As it happened I remember thinking just like you that I was losing him. I joke now that gray hairs immediately sprouted from my head! It turned out the combination of being pretty sick, having some weird allergic reaction to something unknown (huge hives and swollen knees) and a tendency to pass out under stress was what did it. So I had a small taste of what you went through. No seizures although Thomas had a 105.9 temperature when he got pneumonia and Sarah also got 105.9 when she had a bad ear infection. Erin is like me and tends to not get fevers. Boy this is bringing back memories…..I’m so glad that my kids immune systems have matured!!!

  8. krome.obsession replied:

    This brought tears to my eyes. While I’ve had situations where my daughter was chocking, I’m trained to deal with that kind of thing and took it in my stride, but this is something else entirely. I’m lucky, it seems (so far) that my daughter has my immune system. She turned 3 last August and has never been sick. I don’t believe in unnecessary immunizations so she has only had the necessities. The reason for this is that when I was in high school one of my friends had a seizure and was in hospital in a comma for 3 months. I read up extensively on immunizations and found that a lot of the ones they give here have not even been proven to help boost the immune system, and there is also ones that have not been tested nearly enough for me to even think twice about giving them to my babies, so I refuse to allow them to give my children those ones. I just, if you’ve read my post about how my children saved me you’d understand that I simply don’t see how I could live without them. The mere thought of loosing them absolutely crushes my soul. I find it hard not to cry to think that you’ve had to go through this.

  9. Comfort Addict replied:

    Oh Landismom, how terrible that must have been. I cannot imagine the fear that you must have been feeling. My late mom used to tell me that, whether your kids are 15 or 50, you never stop being a parent. Your kids are so lucky that you’re such a good one. As for you and Landisdad, I wish you peace, good health for the Bee and the Tater and a life as free from worry as it can reasonably be.

  10. tiiana replied:

    Found you blog via Blog Explosion.

    I went through this with my son. Thankfully, I was living with my mother-in-law who was a nurse and knew what to do. My son never had another one after that. As soon as I felt his temp going up, I’d put in him a cool tub of water and give him meds to keep his temp down. He’s now 10 and you’d never knew he had a seizure. But what really scared me about the situation is that I saw myself, 12 years old, while my father had a seizure in the bathtub and my mother screaming for me to run upstairs to get my great-aunt and then call 911. So, I’m really panicky when it comes to seizures.

  11. Leggy replied:

    I hope everyone is feeling better. What a scary history for Bee. I hope you never have to go through that again with either of them.

  12. MetroDad replied:

    Holy cow, LM! Is there anything scarier than the threat or belief that you’re losing your child? I can’t even imagine. Thank God everything turned out ok with the Bee!

  13. Trasherati replied:

    Turning blue=don’t come to the ER?

    You’re right – bitch crazy.

  14. Doppelganger replied:

    I feel for you, landismom. I hope the Potato is back to his healthy self soon.

    Once, when Sam had an extremely high fever at four months, he was very upset and crying and screaming. On the drive to the hospital, he got quieter and quieter, with a faraway expression. He didn’t look like himself at all, and I had the same thought as you: I’m losing him. What was even worse, if that’s possible, is that we were in traffic so I couldn’t take him out of his carseat, and I thought, My baby is dying, and I can’t even hold him while it happens. That remains one of the singularly worst moments of my life.

  15. The Scarlett replied:

    My kids have never had this. The seizures sound so scary. I felt so bad for you just reading this!

    My worst fever stories involve my own multiple staph infections after surgeries and I had to have some hard core they-can-make-you-feel-worse-instead-of-better antibiotics that I had to learn to administer myself via I.V. drip. But when your kids are sick, that’s the worst.

    Hugs to you and I hope Bee outgrows this!

  16. Library Lady replied:

    That’s scary stuff. Both of my girls tend to run really high fevers when they’re sick, but thank heavens there have been no seizures.

    Hope that the Potato is feeling much better,that all is tranquil in your house (well as tranquil as it gets) and that everyone else stays HEALTHY!

  17. Ms Sisyphus replied:

    Wow. That really spoke to me. It’s a terrifying thing to helplessly stand by holding your baby, convinced that you are losing her. A terrible club to belong to. I’m sorry you’re a member. How is the Bee now?

  18. momo3boys replied:

    Your story is way too familiar to me!! My baby is 17 1/2 months old, he had his first febrile seizure Jan, 10th 07 and then the 2nd one Feb 7th. I also was convinced with the 1st seizure that I was holding my baby and going to watch him pass away right there. The second one was not as severe. I feel like I’m living on pins and needles, praying there won’t be a next one. My heart goes out to all of the moms whos children have true, seizure disorders, like epilepsy, I cannot imagine what that must be like. Good luck to you and your babies.

  19. pardon my appearance « Bumblebee Sweet Potato replied:

    […] let me give a big shout out to my friends at Feverall. Since the Bee’s days of febrile seizures, we always keep some in the house, and it sure does come in handy for the vomiting. Plus […]

  20. BBSP at five years, the remix « Bumblebee Sweet Potato replied:

    […] #1–Will the worry ever stop? I don’t think so. […]

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