Friday, May 17, 2013

Up or Down?

Thursday, July 22, 2010




















My sister came to visit this past weekend. We were all having a great time and enjoying each other’s company on Sunday evening, but I knew that Eliah was not feeling well. He was starting to get a fever around 7pm, so I knew to watch for a seizure. I was trying desperately to keep him engaged and focused on something. He was wincing in pain, which I took to mean his stomach hurt, and he suddenly looked at my computer (as if watching a video), and I knew. That was when I told everyone he was having a seizure.

Chaos ensued as Kelley ran to get the oxygen and dressing supplies for Eliah’s port. Suddenly, Eliah vomited everywhere, and we tried to clean it, access his port, put the oxygen on him, and call EMS for an ambulance all at once. I’m sure we made a great impression to the new neighborhood (we bought a house finally) when the fire truck and ambulance made their appearance on our small cul-de-sac. As I carried Eliah to the ambulance, I noticed a small crowd of neighborhood children on the corner, wondering what was going on.

I spent the next fifteen minutes in the ambulance answering the same questions and requesting the same procedures to be followed. The Neurologist has indicated that due to Eliah’s history with certain medications, we are to treat his seizures with Phenobarbital. It must be done in the ER, and it must be done within 30 minutes of the onset of a seizure. Any longer, and the seizure could damage his brain. So I am sitting in the ambulance, as the EMS tech is on the phone with the ER, explaining that they need to get the Phenobarb ready. 

We got to the ER and people flooded the room as Eliah laid on the table convulsing (see video). Finally, after fighting with the doctor to only treat with Phenobarb, she agrees. It has now been an hour since Eliah’s seizure started. As the doctor figures out the dosage, I suggest that she only try a half dose because of his blood pressure being erratic. She sneered, but agreed. The nurse slowly pushed the half-dose of medicine into Eliah’s port. (Side note: this medication is only to be administered over a 20-30 minute drip) Meanwhile, a new nurse was attempting to give him an IV, of which he does not need because he has a PORT. And another nurse was drawing labs from his port, but got the blood clotted in the line. 

As quickly as it started, Eliah’s body went limp and the seizure stopped…..but so did his breathing. The doctor put the bag on Eliah’s mouth and began breathing for him. My heart stopped. 

More people filled the room, calls to the PICU (intensive care unit) and repertory began. I was frantically trying to re-access his port and keep Kelley updated through Facebook, since he was still at home with my sister and our daughters. Amongst the frenzy of activity, I looked up and it was so surreal. I thought to myself, “Is this it? Is this the time Eliah doesn’t make it?” There was nothing I could do but watch, with one of the nurse’s arms around me, I held my breath. 

Thirty minutes went by, the doctor squeezing the bag, filling Eliah’s lungs with oxygen, until finally Eliah gasped. He coughed and we all let out a sigh of relief. He was going to be alright.

We spent the rest night and the next day in Intensive care; watching his fever go to 105, then back down, without really discovering why. Within 24 hours, we were home and he was back to himself. I went back to entertaining my sister, and all was back to normal. Natalie even turned six amidst the drama.

The only difference today is that Eliah has taken about five more years off my life. It will not be long before the lines on my face tell the cumulative story of all we have been through. I carry every single moment of Eliah’s life in my mind and heart, and there is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful to see his smile one more time.

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