Febrile Seizures and Healthy Anxiety

It’s Friday morning and the air is cool. The sun is out and the clouds are sparse. The kids are off to school and daycare for the first time in 5 weeks and my music is turned up. Thank you Walker Hayes Pandora station. I have a quarter cup of coffee left in my to-go mug; it’s still hot despite being poured over an hour ago. I don’t feel like I’m scraping myself off the floor today. It’s a good morning.

I mentioned it in my last post but I started anxiety meds at the end of May. It takes a while for the meds to get in your system but I can say without a doubt that medication combined with therapy has made a world of difference for me. I still struggle with anxiety but I’m getting better at recognizing healthy anxious thoughts vs. obsessive thoughts. I’m getting better at communicating those obsessive thoughts with my husband and he’s getting better at giving me grace when I can’t let go of something, snap at him, or need to step away.

Our son had a febrile seizure on Wednesday, his second since June. He’s been at daycare both times and both times I missed the call. I saw Fred’s text explaining what happened after I got out of a meeting and immediately left work. I called him on the way to daycare. I panicked. He panicked. I snapped. I didn’t get to daycare before the ambulance left the parking lot so I followed closely behind knowing that that they wouldn’t do anything but give him some acetaminophen and ibuprofen and a COVID test. I got turned around in the parking structure. Fred somehow made it to the ER before I did.

Febrile seizures are interesting because as long as they’re not occurring frequently during a single “illness” or longer than the completely frustrating range of somewhere between 5-15 minutes, medical professionals don’t really bat an eye. The first time it happened, the ER doctor told me to Google the answers to my questions about how often to expect seizures / whether or not they occur with every fever / if they’re caused by temperature alone or the rate at which the temperature elevates / the statistics of reoccurring vs. one time febrile seizures. Google. To a mom whose son had just had his first ever seizure that lasted 7 minutes followed by another one for 2 minutes.

Another interesting thing about febrile seizures is that the fever is often the first symptom of a virus. So you bring your kid to school and you temp them at the door and you send them on their way. They don’t have a stuffy / runny nose. They don’t have a cough at night. No sore throat. Not even a sneeze. Then they wake up from a nap with a temperature of 102 and they seize.

Little man didn’t need the ambulance ride but I’m shit in emergency situations and I couldn’t think straight. The director at daycare told me the EMTs had arrived and I couldn’t slow down my thoughts enough to ask the questions:

  • Does he have a temperature?
  • How long did the seizure last?
  • Is he lucid?

His COVID test was negative and I tested negative on Tuesday after a coworker was diagnosed. I waited the appropriate number of days before testing myself, we mask in meetings at work, and my other team members tested negative but I’m still obsessing. I could take another test but the first did nothing to curb my anxiety so I haven’t, telling myself that I can rely on the test results and that my anxious thoughts aren’t serving me.

Healthy: Taking the necessary precautions to prevent illness and testing for COVID after a possible exposure

Obsessive: Thinking that you have COVID and spread it to your child despite knowing you and your son tested negative

I’ve always been an anxious person. I know that about myself. I think back across relationships and I see the patterns. The way I obsessed. The way I let healthy anxiety roll into obsessive anxiety. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for being so rigid. I’m sorry that I held so tightly to control. I’m sorry if my anxiety made you doubt yourself. Recognizing healthy anxiety and letting the rest go is something I’ll probably always work on.

So I sent my son to daycare today. I’m slow-sipping coffee. I’m spending a moment in catharsis before I hit post and carry on with my day. And I’m trusting that God has this. That whatever caused Freddy’s seizure just is. If I could have prevented it, I would have; I can’t control what is.

Little Man

Febrile Seizure Fact Sheet

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