Today was supposed to be Ellie's first day of preschool and I had big plans to photo bomb this blog with proud mama bear photos of my little baby girl headed off to school with her little penguin backpack.  However, Ellie really really really didn't want to go to school today.  Already, The Bear is trying to find ways to weasel herself out of the classroom.  In fact, there is a strong possibility she will miss Thursday as well, the little stinker.

Okay, to be fair, Ellie was/is sick.  We have been so fortunate that Ellie has rarely been ill.  She has a rockin' immune system thanks to me passing on my hard core antibodies and thanks to her fascination with gnawing on the dog toys and shoes.  Sadly, when Ellie does get sick, she does it will full force (i.e. last year's coxsackie virus that turned into a whopping sinus infection and a nasty cellulitis on her leg).

The Bear is strong.  The Bear is feisty.  The Bear will survive.  Mama, however, is a big wimp and is still a bit traumatized.

Bear before things start to go down hill.

A fever.  It all started with a puny little fever yesterday morning after a rough night of sleep.  I cancelled therapies and snuggled with Ellie during gazillion episodes of Signing Time!  Ellie is not a snuggler, but rather a climber so I embrace these small moments of snuggling.  My little girl needed me and I could provide.

Last night was rough with minimal sleep.  I laid next to her for half the night comforting her and then at 5:30am, I felt it.  I saw it.  The seizure.  In the heat of her fever, her left leg twitched for 2 full minutes.  It felt like an eternity.  I placed my hand on her leg thinking it was a tremor and that I could stop it with tactile pressure.  Not so. The twitching continued.  A sign of a seizure.

Febrile seizures are common among the 6 months to 5 year-old age group.  I read somewhere that about 1 in 25 children will experience a febrile seizure at some point during an illness.  It does not mean epilepsy and there is really no treatment.  I am serious, you do not do anything unless it last longer than 10 minutes.  That would be a long 10 agonizing minutes and I feel horrible for the parents who must witness that. The thing is, Ellie's seizure was one-sided rather than full body--called a focal seizure.  Apparently, this is less common and more concerning when there is a fever involved as it can be a sign of meningitis OR it could just be a regular febrile seizure.

Believe it or not, I was not overly worked-up over this new development as Ellie was only acting irritable and clingy.  I did call the pediatrician hoping that they would look a little harder for her fever source--UTI, perhaps? (we were in on Monday were the pedi saw perfect ear drums with patent ear tubes and heard fabulously clear sounding lungs.  Strep test was negative).  Oh did I mention the hives?  Two big whopping bright, beefy red hives just popped up out of no where on her legs and one appeared during the visit.   Seriously, what was going on with my peanut?

Within 20 minutes of having out at the pedi's office , Ellie's temp jumps up 5 degrees while Motrin was on board and she becomes more difficult to arouse.  She fell asleep after her urinary catheterization and I had trouble waking her.  I was banging on her back down her spine and she remained asleep.  Her bloodwork was also little wonky, not overly alarming, but when added to her fever, the focal seizure, and some tiny patches of petechiae, meningitis became a possibility.  I only know horrible horrible things about meningitis and my heart plummeted for I know how quickly a brain infection can progress.  Fear grips me.  I hold Ellie tighter.  My throat closing up, I called Andrew and tried to appear calm.

An ER visit.

By the time I arrive to the ER, Ellie Bear is complaining like a little banshee.  This is excellent for it means improvement!!!  Motrin had kicked in and her fever lowered by one degree.  Another great sign.  Plus, she half-hearted fought the blood pressure cuff--not like my usual Bearity Bear, but better than before.

I know that clinically, my daughter doesn't look horrible. Yet on paper, the symptoms are down right scary.  That is why you always look at the child first and foremost. 

Sometimes it is really hard for me to back away from my medical knowledge and not panic.  It is hard to look at my daughter objectively and not as a petrified parent so scared of losing her beloved baby.  I picture the Zebras.  In the medical world, we say "when you hear hoof beats, picture horses and not zebras."  That means your differential diagnoses should be the common things and not the rare--i.e. a fever could be from an ear infection or strep throat and not leukemia.  A headache is a headache and not a brain tumor.  I love Ellie so much and the thought of ever losing her paralyzes me.  When she is ill, all I can picture are the zebras.

My Ellie perked up just in time to reassure myself, Andrew, and the ER physician.  Her petechiae was not too impressive (almost nonexistent you could say).  Her platelets were low, but not in the critical range.  Ellie started to try and walk.  Her clinical picture greatly improved and the ER doc didn't feel the need to torture her with a lumbar puncture.  Instead, more blood was drawn and a CT scan of her brain was completed.  Her brain scan is normal and we are still waiting for blood culture results.

Returning home from the ER, I heard my little girl utter "dada dada" and then I knew that everything would be okay.

*For all of my Facebook friends who offered prayers and reassurance, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I appreciate your kind words and thoughts.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.*

**I actually wrote a post a few days ago, but haven't published it yet about my big fear of losing my daughter.  An irrational fear, but real to me.  Then today happens. Scary, but a happy ending.  May all of us hug our little ones a little tighter tonight and whisper those precious words of "I love you".**


  1. Oh, Anna! I can't imagine how terrified you were! I'm praying for little miss Ellie tonight. I hope she is better soon and mom can relax a little!

  2. Oh Anna! I feel your pain. This is just how helpless and terrified we felt a few weeks ago with Abbie. I am SO, SO glad that Ellie is okay and feeling better!!! How scary. Please let me know if there is anything we can do to help out while she is sick, and otherwise, just get your sweetie better soon!

  3. Oh, Anna! What a day. I'm so thankful Ellie is doing better. I let my mind go to the zebras too..and I'm not a medical professional. I can see how it would be easy to go there when you have more information. I just said a special prayer for miss Ellie AND you - hope tomorrow is 100% better than today. Hugs mama!

  4. Ha ha, I posted before I read the other comments and just saw that we all started with "oh Anna". How funny is that?!

  5. Thank you, dear ladies! Elissa, I really thought of you and little Abbie when I was going through this. Thank you for all of you thoughts and kind words!

  6. Im so glad to hear that Ellie is doing better...I hope she is doing even better today...

  7. There is really nothing that can prepare you for that kind of fear. And there is no avoiding it sometimes. I wish I could erase my own fear moments. But I am beyond grateful that Ellie is OK. That poor little stinker!

  8. Whew!!! I had seen your FB posts yesterday, but still held my breath while I read this. Poor little Ellie!!! And poor mommy and daddy - I can't even imagine the terror you must've been feeling. So glad she's doing better!! (((hugs)))

  9. So scary! Even if you know that seizures are probably fever related it's not something you want to see. Hopefully Ellie doesn't pull something like this again on her next first day of preschool!

  10. Oh Anna! So glad Miss Ellie is okay! I can imagine how scared you must have been, and yet you remained calm. Kudos!!


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