Tonight (or I guess now it’s last night) at 10:45pm J and I were watching a movie when someone knocked on our door. I paused the movie and before J could get there the door bell rang and again there was a knock on the door. He opened itand immediately called for me.
My first thought was that someone was going to rob us but when I got to the door our neighbor from across the hall was on her cell phone and her door was wide open. She said, “Help me!” and J ran into her house and I followed. She was behind us and said her daughter was having a seizure then she handed me her phone, burst in to tears and ran out of the room.
I took the phone and rolled the little girl (Ella, 18 months) on to her side. The 911 operator asked me what was happening. “She’s seizing, her eyes are glazed over and it looks like she threw up.” I said. She told me to roll her to her side and I told her I already had. The little girl began gasping for air and making a strange clicking noise with her tongue. I told her I thought she had a high fever, she was very very hot to the touch and I could feel her pajamas were soaked with sweat.
The operator says, “Okay well the ambulance is on the way. If anything else changes give me a call.” and hung up. I could.not.believe.it. I felt so useless and helpless. This little baby having a seizure, her mom wouldn’t even stay in the room with her. I don’t even know these people. I just gathered my self up and took off Ella’s blanket and pajamas.
The mom was pacing in the hallway and her other little girl (Brooklyn 4) was very scared and just saying, “mommy” over and over. The mom told J the ambulance was lost and I asked J to go find them. He took off running across the grass field barefoot to flag them down. They had passed out entrance and were at the next door apartments.
I started very softly rubbing her arms and legs, thinking about her muscles and trying to help her relax. She stopped seizing but was still not breathing steadily. She closed her eyes and her mom came in to look at her and started crying again even louder. “Oh it’s my fault! I’m so sorry Ella Bell!” she kept saying. I turned to her and with as much love and firmness I could muster told her, “This is absolutely not your fault. Children get sick and it is not their mother’s fault. It is the middle of the night, how could you have known this would happen?She is seizing because of her fever, it’s very common for children. But it is so scary to not know what is happening or how you can help her… it is not your fault.” She hugged me and told me she was sorry for knocking on our door. “Nonsense. You need to call someone to come and get Brooklyn while you’re at the hospital.” and then I turned myself back to Ella and just kept petting her and saying, “shhh” to try and calm her. Mom left the room again and made some calls. Once again trying to extend myself, I touched every muscle that was tensed and told it to relax, just like my mom did when I was in labor with Sam and so afraid of what was happening.
It was about 5 minutes later several of the neighbors came into the house from the back yard. They just kind of stood there looking at me while the Mom (I don’t even know her name!) was crying at the front door looking for the ambulance. The woman who sits on the curb smoking was there just totally glaring at me and I felt really guilty because I didn’t want to step on any one’s feet. I’m not friends or even acquaintances with these women. I’m sure her friends felt pushed out of the way, but honestly SOMEONE should be there trying to comfort little Ella. Her mom was too upset to stay in the room for even a few seconds. She would come in then go out flapping her arms sobbing.
It was about that time that her husband stumbled by and the mom asked him to go lay back down and she told another neighbor (we’ll call her L) that he was drunk. My heart was instantly broken. To not be able to leave one daughter and home with your husband while your other is being rushed to the ER, unconscious… I was literally sick for the mom. A few very slow and long minutes later the ambulance arrived and he asks me, “What’s happening?” like I knew. I said, “Well she was having a seizure, and this is her mom *pointing* and how long was it going on for?” The mom answered him and I quickly told him she hadn’t woken up, her eyes were glazed over and I could tell she had a fever then I stepped out of the room in to the hall. I immediately started shaking and I told the smoking curb woman I was going to go home. She just nodded and kept staring into the room. J and I walked back into our door and I sat there shaking for about an hour. It dawned on me I had been praying for her without knowing it, the other part of my mind telling me I was there for a reason and the other part telling me what would you have done had she died. I realised that’s what I had been thinking; I don’t even know if you can die from a seizure but it was very very scary!
It’s been a couple of hours but I’m still shaken up and completely awake, though is 2:15am.
I feel so thankful and so so so so blessed for healthy children, a supportive husband who is ALWAYS there for me, who would do anything for me, for that peace that came over me, and the words of comfort for this poor woman. I suppose even though I did nothing she was free to calm herself and call her friends to help.
I don’t know what happened to Ella at the hospital but I know she’s surrounded by people who know what they’re doing. I felt so foolish for not knowing anything and not knowing what I was doing.
oh my God… I was so scared.
I hope that by getting all that out of me head I can fall asleep, but I feel like if I live to be 1000 I’ll never sleep again and never forget this totally scary experience. Either way I’m going to snuggle into bed with my husband… who is dead asleep.