Thursday 19 November 2015

A Second Febrile Convulsion

In the paediatric assessment unit 

I started to write this back in June, I always planned to complete it. Now Eliot has suffered his third febrile convulsion it has encouraged me to get on with this one so I can start the next. By sharing our experiences I hope in some way they can be helpful to others, even if it's helpful to just one person, my job is done.

It's been over a month since Eliot suffered a second febrile convulsion.
He had been suffering from a cough for the previous two weeks, and I'd made a couple of out of hours appointments whilst staying at my parents as he'd become under the weather. The out of hours GP's diagnosed him with a sore throat. Within a couple of days he seemed to be as right as rain apart from the cough.
Our trip to Alton Towers was the following weekend. We had driven up to Rugeley to stay the night, so that we would have a shorter journey to the theme park. I was really looking forward to taking Eliot to CBeebies as a bank holiday treat.
When we arrived we checked in to a Travelodge and headed out for a walk. Later we went out for dinner before returning to the Travelodge. Eliot had been absolutely fine, his usual self. He went down to sleep no problems.
During the night he awoke crying, I assumed it might have been a bad dream and went over to put his dummy in. When I felt him he felt quite hot, (stupidly) I hadn't bought the thermometer with us so couldn't check his temperature. The room was quite warm and stuffy so at first I wasn't sure if that was the reason he seemed hot. For the rest of the night he slept next to me, although he was unsettled to begin with. The next morning he awoke still feeling warm, so I went over to the petrol station to buy some calpol (as I'd stupidly forgot to bring any of that too!)
Getting Eliot to take medicine is a nightmare but we managed to get some in. Within half an hour he seemed a bit perkier and ate some food.
We needed to make the decision whether or not to head to Alton Towers or home. In the end we decided to head to the park and if Eliot was unwell we would leave.
On route we stopped off to get some food. As I was driving out of the car park I turned to check on Eliot and was met by the sight of him convulsing. I literally stopped the car where it was, jumped out and ran round to get Eliot out his car seat. I was really conscious that there was a risk of  Elot swallowing his tongue so I wanted to get him on his side. The OH called an ambulance and that was when we realised we had no idea where we were. We had just pulled in to a retail park but didn't know where. Further down a man was crossing the road, the OH stopped him and he told the 999 operator where we were. I held Eliot on his side in my arms where he continued to convulse, making rasping noises and frothing at the mouth. A terrifying sight that I'd really hoped I wouldn't see ever again.
A single paramedic in a car arrived first, took all the information while checking Eliot's stats and giving him oxygen. It was then Eliot started to come round from the fit and began to cry.

The paramedic asked us what happened and Eliot's history with convulsions. Shortly after another ambulance arrived, after further talking Eliot was taken in the ambulance to Stafford hospital with the OH. I followed in my car and cried.
When we arrived at the hospital I needed to park the car so I wasn't with Eliot when he was taken through to A&E. I had to check in with the A&E reception and give them all our details before I was taken through to Eliot and the OH. 
After a wait, a doctor came and checked him over, he had a sore throat, she then asked her colleague to check his ear as well. 
We were then told that his left ear drum was perforated but it was an old perforation. This information came as a bit of a shock as Eliot had never suffered with any ear problems.
We were then sent to the paediatric assessment unit so Eliot could be assessed by the doctors there.
Eliot spent most of the afternoon asleep on my lap, his temperature and other stats taken regularly. He was also given some paracetamol and had some numbing spray sprayed on to his throat.
When he was seen by the first paediatric doctor he agreed there was a perforation in his ear drum. We then had another wait before we were seen by the senior doctor (who was rather interesting to say the  least!) he couldn't agree that Eliot did have an ear perforation. He wanted us to come back the following day and see the ear nose and throat team but we couldn't do that as we were in Stafford without anywhere to stay for another night. So we were told to take him to A&E at our local hospital so they could do a quick referral to the ENT team.
Whilst waiting Eliot's temperature started to creep back up, one of the nurses gave him some ibuprofen. Within half an hour he was running round the ward! It's amazing how quickly he felt much better, such a relief!
At around 7pm we were given discharge letter along with some throat spray. The OH & I were nervous about the journey home in case Eliot had another febrile convulsion and we would be in the car on a motorway. Fortunately he slept most of the way home.
The next day I took Eliot to A&E as advised. The doctor we saw said he could see a perforation and called up to the ENT to get us an appointment.
A couple of days later we saw the ENT doctor who had a look in Eliot's ears and confirmed he could see the perforation. He went to have a chat with the senior doctor. Next yet another doctor had a look in Eliot's ear but he wasn't convinced that he could see a perforation. So overall four doctors said they could see a perforation and two couldn't. It seemed strange especially as it was the senior doctors who couldn't see/confirm a perforation. I was told even if it was they wouldn't do anything unless it was causing Eliot problems. I was just told to protect it from soapy water with cotton wool and to go to our GP if I had concerns in the future. Thankfully his ears don't seem to be a problem and his hearing appears normal.
I really hoped that would be the last febrile convulsion I would see but as he had a third one last week it's more likely they will be a common occurrence.
Have your children suffered with febrile convulsions or a perforated ear drum?
I'm really interested to hear your experiences!

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