Thursday, 14 January 2016

Another scary A&E episode

The biggest scares in my life so far have always been related to kids. I hope yesterday's one would be the biggest ever.

ZY came home mid afternoon on Monday due to fever over 38C, probably cos he had a vaccination on Saturday. He was mostly fine on Tuesday though the teacher reported a mild fever in the day. Yesterday, his teacher texted me in the morning about mild fever and said that she would call if it progressed.

Was in a meeting in HQ in the afternoon when I missed two calls - one from Mum and one from an unknown number. Couldn't get Mum but the other was from his other teacher who said that his fever hit 39.3C. I wanted to get N to bring him back first but couldn't reach her. When I eventually got through the phone with Mum, I learnt that they were picking him up already as the school called her.

With things all settled, I carried on with work. I had a FGD at HDB Hub in the evening so I was hot-desking at HQ. I had earlier asked Mum to help until N could bathe both kids and bring ZY to bed. 15 min into the FGD, I got this scary call from N who asked me to go home immediately as ZY went white and Mum was on her way to bring ZY to hospital!

I unceremoniously unplugged my laptop and took off with the blessings of my boss who even offered me a ride if I couldn't get a cab. But I met a kind beng beng uncle who let me have the last taxi. I didn't dare to call Mum in case she was driving. So I called Sito to tell him to go to NUH instead.

As guilt and panic set in, I prayed out loud in the taxi - like I know anything about praying! But I just did it anyway. What if it was not simply the vaccination last Saturday? There was this kid who was coughing... And the high fever... What if it was meningitis?!

And then Sito called. Mum called him from the clinic downstairs cos she didn't bring her phone and didn't remember my number. It wasn't clear what happened. I called Mum but N answered instead. I called the clinic to reach Mum instead and finally understood that ZY had a febrile fit. What a relief!!!

Back when ZK was an infant, I read quite a bit about febrile fits. I know people whose kids had it. I know it looks scary but is harmless. But Mum didn't know. She saw a scary scene where ZY went shaking and stiff and his lips turned green, and she stuck a thumb into his mouth before dashing to the clinic downstairs. She met a kind lady who helped her carry ZY along the way and called for the clinic to open. The clinic didn't have suppositories and could only wipe down while waiting for an ambulance. ZY was unresponsive though the seizure had stopped within five minutes but he eventually started crying in the clinic.

I saw the stretcher with Mum carrying ZY coming out of the ambulance as I approached the A&E. She saw me but was wheeled inside while I registered with the nurse outside. When I finally saw my baby, he looked so tired! My poor baby! He was just lying in Mum's arms while the doc and nurses taped his toe, tapped his everywhere, did their thing... He had pooped so I wiped him down before they could put in a suppository. Then he slept.

The three of us watched over him. Sito had joined us by then, still in his uniform - this was his third day of his first reservist. I was so glad he didn't need to stay in and was on the way home when I called him.

Sleeping in the hospital shirt as his was wet from the sponging at the clinic


Amid the worry and stress and tearful relief, there was a comic moment when an unseen kid in the A&E started shouting, "stop, stop, you're killing me!" Despite it all, Sito and I had a good laugh at that. It was like six months ago when ZK saw ZY having his vaccination and then shouting "nonono!" when he saw the needle approaching his own thigh!

I called home to tell N everything was ok and to stand by in case ZY had to be warded - would need to pack. And I spoke to ZK too, who said that he had to tell me something, which was that ZY was sick and was going to the hospital in an ambulance. He was worried for his didi. Later I found that he thought it was scary to be saved by the ambulance, or something like that. This, after playing with ambulances all the time!

Later, Dad dropped by to pick them up to go home first while I stayed with ZY. The doc listened to his lungs again and said it was a little noisy so she got the X-ray in to check. That woke him up and he wasn't happy. It was his usual bedtime after all. We sang a little and were watching a very helpful show with cats that kept him happy when Sito and Mum came back with a change of clothes and diaper for ZY. I went to have a bite and bought a steamed cake and Milo for ZY who had refused water earlier. But when I got back, he was fast asleep *.*

Sito went back to rest as he has a long day today. Mum and I stayed with ZY and checked periodically if he had peed so that they could check for UTI. No luck. He woke at one point so we gave him the cake and made him drink something. Still, no luck with the pee. It was past midnight when the doc decided that since he couldn't pee, we could just go. She gave us antibiotics since his lungs were still a little noisy although the X-ray was clear. That would help if he had any UTI anyway. She also taught us how to handle any future febrile fits.

ZY fell asleep again by the time we got back. I set him down on his bed, showered and crawled back in bed with him. I read up on antibiotics before I slept - have to wake him to feed him antibiotics tonight, so sian! I wonder why hospitals always give those three-times-a-day type, and in powder form to be mixed with water. It's so hard with kids! Lucky ZY likes the taste. It's difficult to administer antibiotics in school though. See how tomorrow... I may have to take him out after his pm nap to feed him at home.

We woke at 5.30 am or so. ZY was slightly feverish and wanted milk. I gave him more water than usual and let N settle him back to bed while I went to my ZK who came into our bed just as I finished showering last night. He was all alone as Sito was up preparing to go for reservist again. He woke early anyway and I convinced him to have his breakfast in the room so that his noise was more confined and wouldn't wake ZY.

Sito and I planned to have tea at the balcony window in 2009 and never did. Thanks, ZK, for fulfilling the destiny of the bay window!


ZY woke and drifted back to sleep while I was out sending ZK to school. But he eventually woke near 8 am. No more fever. After some oatmeal with honey and cinnamon, we played and read and drew and sang. When he got drowsy, we fed him lunch. He's in his third hour of nap now - he woke at the one-hour mark but I put him down again. So tired, my poor baby...

Me pretending to not know where he is :)


I wish I were there with ZY. I realised I probably couldn't help ZY much - just have to let the seizure run its course while awaiting the ambulance. But at least Mum wouldn't be so scared and wouldn't hurt her thumb, N wouldn't be so scared, I wouldn't be so scared by the lack of information, and Sito could have more rest.

I was having some fleeting thoughts about work - fleeting cos I was too busy to think much about it. But with this episode, I think I need to really think about how I want to spend the kids' childhood - three hours/weekday with kids vs. 10-11 hours/weekday with work, or a more balanced one.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness! Just reading this blog gave me the chills! I don't even know anything about febrile fits and would probably have flipped...I think you have maxed out your bad luck for the year... And good to see ZY is looking cheeky again!

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