Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Some Red Flags - October 2007

Febrile Seizure

It was the last week of October, 2007; we had just shifted to KL from SG. Aadu was running a mild fever, and I got busy with the unpacking, in the middle of this Aadu wanted to sleep so I made the arrangements, without giving him medicine, thinking that it would recede on its own. This was a huge mistake.
When I went to check on Aadu, I realized that his fever had gone up, and I went and got some plain water and a napkin to sponge his forehead, palms, and feet. While I was doing this he woke up and I sponged him for a few more minutes. I kept talking to him, and I said that 'I'll get the medicine from the cupboard, and then he will feel better'. While I was saying this he tried to get up, and I saw that he had started shivering....he then lay on his back and what transpired in the next 6-8 seconds was horrific. He turned blue. His hands and feet were shaking, his eyes were rolled up, there was froth coming from his mouth.

I had never witnessed such horror before, and I did not know what it was. I was feeling helpless as the land line was still not up, and my handphone was not functioning. So there was no way I could call for help from my house.

In this situation, I had remembered something that I had read in one of the child-care books, that when a child (or anyone) is having a convulsion, we must put something in the mouth so that they don't swallow or bite their own tongue. I put some cloth (I think it was his read vest) in his mouth, wrapped him in a baby blanket and rushed out of the house, shouting and banging on my neighbours doors. This was my first day in KL, and I did not know anyone in my condo. But I kept shouting and finally some neighbours came running and I managed to place a call to Amol who started for the Hospital, and then Veena in her calm voice asked me to come into her house while she administered a suppository to Aadu. I had not known of a suppository for children till that day. She also put a fever-patch on his forehead, then took me down to the parking where Seema was waiting in her car ready to rush me to Pantai Medical Center. I had insisted on Pantai as I used to go there when I was pregnant and knew that it was the best place for Aaditya.

Once we were there, we were taken to the ER (Emergency Room). Thankfully Amol had reached before us, and had done all the paperwork. The doctor there asked me what had happened, and I told her all that took place and also of the suppository that was given to Aadu.
They put on a pulse monitor on his finger, and checked his fever; which had (thanks to the suppository) come down to normal.
It was here that I got to know what had actually happened to my little boy: it was a Febrile Seizure or convulsion. It happens, when the immature, still developing brain of a child cannot make sense of the high fever. This phenomenon can occur till the child is 5-6 years of age. This has no side effects on the other development of the child.

We decided to admit him for a day, just to monitor him and because the doctor said that the chances of a re-occurrence are highest in the next 24 hours. During that hospital stay he required the suppository three times. The next day also showed some ups and downs with his fever, so we stayed on in the Hospital. Meanwhile my brother had also come down from Mumbai after a shock-stricken phone call that I made while sitting in the ER.

On the next day, after the doctor made his rounds, he said we could go home.

Points to remember:
  • When going to a new place, always have the names, phone numbers of hospitals, nearest to your home.
  • Always have one working phone line. Move in only when the land line is installed or then keep your earlier mobile line in roaming while your current mobile line is getting arranged.
  • Always travel with the basic medicines that your child needs.
  • Never wait for the fever to go down on its own. Always administer medication ASAP.
  • Get a health insurance for your entire family immediately when you relocate.
  • Check health insurance for hospital coverage; as hospital stay can get expensive.
  • The health insurance package will give a list of affiliated clinics, hospitals etc and the emergency health line. Keep this handy at all times.
  • Make a list of emergency phone numbers of the new city ASAP and paste a copy near your phone.
  • Maintain all health records of each family member in separate folders. Keep this updated.
  • When at a hospital or clinic, never hesitate to ask all the questions that you have. No question is a 'stupid question'; if you don't know the answer to a question, you have to ask.
  • The doctor may look rushed to you, and you may think that probably you will ask him later...there is no later. It is the doctor's duty to answer all your questions.
  • It is completely OK to check the credentials of the attending doctor. If you know any other doctor in that hospital do not hesitate to ask for him.

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