Why is it that the rain seems to always accompany me and my family at the darkest moments? Sometimes I think it is God's way of assuring us that we don't shed tears alone. Sometimes I think it might be spirits way of making sure the smiling sun doesn't mock us when we are most afraid. Maybe the rain symbolizes the cleansing effect that the crucible has on the soul. Either way, it was raining today and today has been tough.
Last night Ellie was up from 3 to 4:30am. Dave was with her. First trying to calm her then he fed her and played with her. I heard the whole thing but was trying to sleep because I knew that he would be tired in the morning and I thought at least one of us should try for some coherence. I couldn't sleep though until I heard them both laughing and "reading the box" which is another story.
But my gut kept telling me to go in. It was a tug of war gut versus brain.
At 6:42am, I awoke to Dave's voice on the monitor saying, "Bebe, come in here somethings wrong with Ellie."
I quickly crutch in there and there she is in full on seizure very much like the last one. She is laying on her back, arms straight down her sides and legs straight out. Her eyes are deviating painfully to the right this time and just bobbing there. I turn her on her side and reach for the Diastat kit on her bedside table and give it to her. It's 6:46am at this point. Dave went to call 911 while I gave her the Diastat. He is back pulling out the oxygen and we get the cannula on her. The medics, cops and fire crew are all at our house on our tiny street by 7:51am. I recognize them. They all know about us as they have been here 3 times in the last 6 months.
The seizure is still going on. For the first time the Diastat seems to have no effect. I am calling to Ellie to come back. Telling her "mama's here, sweet pea." "come on back to mama".
The medic decides to give her some Adivan. He does and nothing changes. She is still seizing.
They get her into the ambulance as I quickly change into street clothes. We head toward the nearest hospital. They give her two more doses of Adivan in the ambulance and nothing seems to change. We get to the hospital and she is in a quiet emergency room as it is only 7:30am at this point though time seems like it is in slow motion. Why is she still seizing?
Her eye stops deviating and come to the middle a few minutes after we get there. But Ellie is neither sleeping nor awake. Just lying there. They decide the seizure has stopped but I know this is not yet the postictal stage.
So they decide to give her a loading dose of Fossfentinal in order to allow her to make it to Boston Children's hospital without seizing again. They do and she is knocked out of it. We get in another ambulance and the Children's transport team takes us in. The new medic looks in Ellie's eyes and they are not dilating. In fact the right one gets larger than it already is - and it's huge. The left stays huge with no change when they shine a light in it to check (which by the way is a great thing to do if you think your kid is seizing - if they are their eyes won't dilate properly to light). This is bad.
We get to Children's and they wheel Ellie straight into the CT scanner. Things are moving in that fast slow motion way where seconds feel like minutes because so much is packed into each moment. Finally we are in a room in the Boston Children's ER and the doctors start to come. They did bloods at the other hospital and her Depakote dose is in the middle of the therapeutic range. Her white blood cell count is not elevated. But she now has a fever. She does have an ear infection in her left ear.
They decide to do a lumbar puncture to make sure her cerebral spinal fluid is OK. We agree as her eyes are still not dilating. The CT results have come back and her ventricles are looking smaller than before so we will be able to avoid shunt revision brain surgery that would be needed if she had increased inter cranial pressure. Ellie is being a very brave girl.
They use Emla cream to numb the skin and then put in a shot of Lidocane. That shot really hurts Ellie and I silently question it's effectiveness. There is a guy named Wally holding Ellie on her side in the fetal position to make sure the vertebrae between which the doctor is going to thread the needle stays open. Ellie wiggles though, very strongly then goes limp and keeps doing this. Wally has to be very strong. The Lidocane is in and she proceeds with the lumbar puncture, I am holding my breath and Ellie's hand. Dave is there telling Ellie she is a brave girl and that she is doing well.
This procedure takes 10 minutes with the needle in Ellie's spine while her CSF drips maddeningly slow into 4 different vials, 4 cc's in all. Then it's over, band aid on her back and Ellie checks out and thumb in mouth goes straight to sleep. The results come back and hour later and one doctor tells us that the white blood cell count is low but the protein levels are somewhat elevated. Whoever taught this doc comes from the "cushion the blow" school of thought because when we finally talk to the Neurologist he tells us her protein level in her CSF is 268. Normal protein in the CSF is 40. So the words "slightly elevated" don't come to mind. "Freaking through the damn roof" would have probably been a more accurate description. They decide that though her white blood cell count does not confirm it, they want to treat her as if she has meningitis - viral or bacterial. The scary part here is that if she does have meningitis she will have to have all her shunts removed and replaced. Removing some of her shunts could easily cause her more brain damage.
They also decide to up her seizure meds and give her a loading dose which knocks her out even more. Then they give her two huge doses of antibiotics. I feel like my little family is in some sort of pharmaceutical hell. But what can we say? She does have a fever, she had a seizure that lasted almost one hour and her CSF protein levels are through the roof.
It's 10:13pm as I write this. I just got home from the hospital. Dave will take this shift tonight. I will take tomorrow night because he has a training to attend on Monday morning. I am happy to say that for a couple of hours before I left Ellie finally started to pull out of it. She wanted her videos, and for me to sing the 5 little duckling song, and she started chewing her thumb and making her hungry sound. When we were finally allowed to feed her she kept all her cereal down then went promptly to sleep again.
Please keep her in your heart tonight and wish her a speedy recovery. She needs some angels tonight to guide her through this storm.
I will keep you posted.