Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Worst Day so far in my life

Okay, lets do this. I need to blog about Friday July 13th, the day in which I went from never having had a bad Friday the 13th to feeling like this particular Friday the 13th was cursed.

Friday evening Tim and I were going to eat dinner and see a play while his parents watched Stella. We were really excited to see Buttons and Bows, as it had been recommended by Brandon and gotten a great review, not to mention it sounded awesome. Unfortunately, our plans were derailed when we got a message from Tim's mom to call her, about half an hour after she called. She said that Gideon (their dog) had bitten Stella and we needed to come home to get her and take her to the ER. That was the hardest and longest 15 minute drive of my life. Tim assured me his parents were probably overreacting and it "wasn't that bad". Uh, wrong.

We got there and there was a huge ugly gash in Stella's ear and a puncture wound on her neck. I just broke down crying and held her for a few minutes. I felt guilty, like I hadn't been spending enough time with her and it was all my fault, which wasn't true of course, but you just feel so responsible as a mom. Tim's parents had been right there when it had happened, and Gideon had just been asleep and Stella startled him. We finally located an open Urgent Care Center and took her over there where, of course, after 45 minutes of waiting and being seen, they told us they couldn't treat her there. So we took her to the ER where they cleaned off the bites, put steri-strips in her ear and gave her her first dose of antibiotics. It was really difficult because we had to hold screaming and crying Stella down while Josh, the nice nurse, fixed her up. He was smart and wore ear plugs. He was really good at it and was gentle and sweet and as quick as he could be. We also had to meet with a social worker, which was not fun, but I think we convinced her that the dog acted really out of character with caregivers RIGHT THERE, not that we locked her up with a pit bull. That's so funny, too, so many people along the way have asked what kind of dog it was. It was a poodle mix for Pete's sake! So we finally get out of there about 10:30, go by Sonic for a desperately needed milkshake, and get Stella into bed about 11.

About 2am, Stella wakes up crying and Tim goes in, sees that she's sleeping on her hurt ear, and turns her over. Then almost immediately after he comes back to bed, I hear her crying really insistently, not like her at all. For some reason I just knew I needed to get in there right away. I fly out of bed and into her room and she's doing a full body twitch her in crib. So I pick her up and turn her over and I swear to you, I have never seen anything more horrifying in my life. Her eyes are rolled back and off to the side, she's staring at nothing and her breath is very fast. One leg and one arm are just jerking retracting and stretching, retracting and stretching (I can't explain it). I realize almost immediately she is having a seizure. I yell for Tim to come in, I have to say his name a few times before he gets in there, and I also say she's having a seizure. When he gets in the room, I tell him to call 911. I was sobbing, I thought it was a reaction to the antibiotic and I really thought my daughter was going to die. I hope no one ever has to go through that because there is nothing worse in the world. I laid her down on the floor and the 911 people told us not to hold her down or anything, just let her go. Those were the longest and hardest moments of my life as I prayed to God for her to be okay and just watched my child be completely unresponsible. Eventually, after about 3 minutes or so, she stopped. Tim was putting clothes on at the time, I'd already gone and gotten mine on, and he'd said that 911 said that once she'd stopped to roll her on her side, which I did. She was catatonic, and frothy drool came out of her mouth. She was still breathing fast. About a minute after the seizure stopped, the EMT's and fire men showed up. They were there almost instaneously, thank God. They immediately swarmed into her room and started putting an oxygen mask on her, checking her vitals. Her temperature was 103.2 and they said it had probably been a febrile seizure. She was still nonresponsive until they pricked her to start an IV. She started crying, it was the sweetest sound I've ever heard in my life, right up there with the first time I heard her cry after she was born. They asked me a ton of questions, which was wonderful, because it kept me from going absolutely crazy. They carried her out, then tied her carseat into the stretcher and loaded her into the ambulance. I rode in the ambulance while poor Tim drove behind. They checked her Temp again rectally in the ambulance and it was 104.5. They gave her Tylenol and she finally started to look around a bit. She had this oxygen mask on her and all these wires on her tiny little body. They took off her pants (they'd already taken off her top in the house), and she was just this tiny little diapered baby. While they got everything ready to go, I started to think, "Oh, my God, what if she has brain damage? Do I want her to not survive if she has brain damage? What kind of life will she have?" These were the thoughts running through my head, the sort of conversation with God I was having in my head. Terrible, terrible stuff. And I actually realized on the way to the hospital that she probably was going to survive, what kind of shape would she be in? As we were pulling up to the hospital, one of the EMT's in the back with me asked me if I had any questions and I asked about her having any long lasting effects. He said that the chance of brain damage was basically non-existent. She didn't stop breathing, her seizure lasted less than 5 minutes and she was responding normally. He said basically now the worry was what was underlying the fever. I was so relieved. So relieved.

We went into the hospital and a nurse took Stella to be weighed and her temp taken while I registered. Her temp was already down to 102.3 and they gave her motrin to bring it down further. Then we waited. And waited. I thought perhaps coming in an ambulance would get you faster service at a hospital, but that is not the case. Of course, they prioritize the patients by the severity of the case, which is totally fine and the way they should do it. It's just hard when you are waiting with a child who has had hardly any sleep and lots of things poked in her all night.

After the waiting room where we watched some truly awful episodes of Roseanne, we got in a room. The doc said her fever was most likely due to a viral infection and had nothing to do with the dog bite. They took some blood since she had an IV, an xray and it took 4 different nurses 4 different tries to get a catheter in her, it was awful. She was so worn out that we were holding her while she slept and if we moved a muscle she woke up and started sobbing. Finally, about 6:30, we were done and headed home. We were all exhausted. The fever continued at about 100-100.8 until Monday morning, with us treating it with ibruprofen. We saw an associate of our pediatrician, since she was full, Monday, and that woman thought it was related to the dog bite, Stella's body fighting off infection. She also said, as I believe the ER doc had said, that the seizure was probably due to the fact that the fever came on so fast. She'd had her temp taken at the Urgent Care Center and the ER earlier in the evening and it had been normal, so the fever rose extremely quickly. She gave us a stronger dose of antibiotic and we went on our way.

We had to see our regular pedi again Thursday because there was some pus in the puncture wound and she gave us yet a stronger antibiotic, and antibiotic cream to apply topically. Luckily, everything is healing nicely and Stella is back to her regular self. Gideon has been given to a nice missionary family in Dallas who have older kids, and while we're sad that we won't have him around anymore, we are SO happy that he gets a great new family. There was talk of putting him to sleep and that would have broken Tim and I's heart. Talk about a double tragedy!

Tim's take on the whole thing is here


Kate said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You're such a wonderful momma! I'm so glad that Stella is okay and you're okay. And Gideon, too.

I love you!

Marsha said...

Man, I can just imagine how horrible this was for you. Hope she recovers quickly!