Bodhi had a febrile seizure today. I have never been so terrified in my entire life.
We were driving out of Barletta, where we stayed in our Best Western bubble the last two nights, when all of the sudden Bodhi woke up and started to scream. Not fuss, but full-on scream. This is not like him, not like his gentle, happy personality to scream at all, so I craned my head around to the backseat and saw a sweaty head. He was wearing a sweatshirt, so I said to Chris, 'he must be hot, I need to take off the sweatshirt if you can get off at an exit. The next exit wasn't for ten or so kilometers so I was trying to placate him with some water, blowing on his head, and trying to cool the car down. He stopped crying and I took off my seatbelt and reached around my seat to check out what was happening and I saw his eyes closing, and drool coming out of his mouth. I instantly went into panic mode, and began taking him out of his car seat. Before then, I was content to wait until we stopped at a safe place, but in that moment, I needed him out of the chair and in my arms. So I pulled him out the the carseat and had his shirts off in about 2 seconds, and began to nurse him as chris was flying off the exit. We stopped and I got out, carrying him in my arms, and he was whimpering and so so very hot. He was burning up. I was shaking... "Something's wrong', I said, "he's not just hot, something's wrong". He felt lethargic and limp. So Chris jumped on the gps and proogrammed in the nearest hospital, only a few kilometers away, and we got back into the car. I couldn't bring myself to put B back in his seat so we rode with him seat belted on my lap, nursing and whimpering, still flushed and emitting rays of heat.
We got the the hospital and rushed inside, and immediately people we there helping us. i think they saw my look of panic, my momma tears, and me half-naked carrying a nursing half-naked baby, and figured they better do something. Within a few minutes we were in front of a doctor, and thank heaven we can speak enough Italian to get by b/c no one there spoke English. It still amazes me that the more educated professions, people still don't seem to know English, unless they are more required to for their income, for touristy areas, restaurants and hotels. So here we were in a pediatric ward with the Italian doctor explaining basically that he had a fever, a high one, had had convulsions, and we brought him in. Oh, and we had given him already a dose of tylenol... So they held off giving him another one, even though his blood was still raging with fever. They examined him and took his temperature again. 38.5, whatever that is, I couldn't calculate at that minute. She said it was high enough to continue giving tylenol and to give him antibiotics if the fever was still around tomorrow, but in one day only, no. ok.
Now, I know all of this as a doctor. I knew he was likely having a febrile seizure, and that young children often get them from higher fevers, since they mount such a strong immune response. That they are 'benign', i.e. non concerning, unless they happen repeatedly. But I was having flashbacks to a day I witnessed my nephew, six years old at the time, having the same dreadful thing, and it looks so dramatic and downright frightening, and then they pass out or go too sleep right afterward, and you are so terrified they are slipping into a coma that you are calling their name and trying to arouse them. I know that worked out OK too, but I was there for the first terrible moments and the ride in the ambulance. I was paralyzed in fear then, and even more so today as I stood there with my own little 13 month old, wanting someone to make it better. My rational mind was completely overruled. I hope this happens to other doctors too, that they find themselves feeling helpless and neurotic when it comes to the people closest to them. I think it is human nature to need someone else to be in charge in those situations, to talk you back off of the cliff that you are on with worrisome thoughts and irrational fears. I sure needed that today. I still am sitting here while he sleeps praying he will recover right this instant. I just cannot bear another day of him not feeling well, it floods my heart. I remember reading in some book about when you decide to have children you can kiss your carefree life goodbye because everything you thought you cared intensely about before becomes more like an afterthought, and you find yourself so much more deeply in love, totally connected, and completely torn up over another human being that you can't stand it. It is so true for me. I have a love I never knew possible, and it covers everything i do. In a way, having children wrecks your otherwise sane life.
After we left the hospital, we drove two hours to the amalfi coast, so he got a great nap, and we arrived in Vietri just as he was waking and starting to cry. We stopped at the first hotel we saw, guided by the gps, and are now in the comfort of a room by the sea. We have our gps wired to the closet hospital just in case, but it is feeling like we are coming out of the murky waters. Bodhi had a little food and some soy milk, and his temperature seems milder, so we are hoping his little body has come through the worst of it. He is still so very tired, he has been sleeping on and off all afternoon since we arrived. I am preparing myself for a long night with frequent wakings, to check on him to make sure everything is ok, like I did when he was first born. I didn't care the cost or condition of the room, I didn't care about anything except getting Bodhi inside, keeping him close, and it's all Bodhi all the time. Chris and I take turns holding and rocking him to sleep, patting his head with cool washcloths, and watching him while he sleeps. He's a blessing, a hot little blessing.