Friday was the worst day of my life. Definitely the worst. But thank God, thank God, thank God, it could have been a million times worse. And even through the terror and tears, the pleading and prayer, God blessed us. He heard us. He saved my boy through the hands of paramedics.
I was in the kitchen, picking up before my dad was to come over for a visit. I was in my pajamas. The girls, as usual, were in undies, except Logan also had on a tutu. It was almost 11:45am.
Logan says, “Mommy, AJ fell down.” I look and see my son laying on his back, surrounded by toys. He’s looking up at the light in the hallway. I walk over, “You ok? Whatcha doing, goofy?” He laid there. Nothing. I kneel down next to him. “AJ. AJ, are you ok? Get up.” His eyes are rolled back in his head. He doesn’t move. I know something is terribly wrong. I run to the kitchen, grab my phone, dial 911. I run back to him, thinking he hit his head, so I don’t move him. I yell at Logan, “What happened? What happened? Tell me what happened!” I yell at AJ, begging him to move. The dispatch picks up. I begin yelling my address, she keeps interrupting, she can’t understand me. I’m desperate. “Is he breathing?” “I don’t know!” I scream at her. A knock at the door, my dad arrives. This was not the scene he was expecting.
I still haven’t moved him, as I think he had a head injury. He starts wiggling his arms. Saliva starts spitting from his mouth. I try to put my finger in his mouth to see if he has something in his mouth, but his teeth are clenched. I’m screaming at my dad, screaming at the 911 operator. I give my dad my phone. He gives me his, and I can’t figure out how to even turn it on. I know my husband is at the grocery store, grabbing lunch for us. I finally figure out how to turn it on and now am trying to figure out how to find the keypad to dial my husband. I’m screaming, pleading with God to save my boy.
I dial my husband’s number, what seemed like 30 times. He never picks up.
I still haven’t moved him. My 4 year old daughter Logan stands in the foyer, crying. She says something about AJ dying. I don’t remember exactly what. I don’t know where my 3 year old is during this time. My dad is pacing, trying to get away from me, because he can’t hear the dispatcher, my screaming is too loud.
My dad tells me to roll him on his side, and I do, reluctantly. I don’t want to hurt him. Saliva is still coming out. The wiggling has stopped.
I see his face turning blue and the movement ceases. In that moment, I realize my son is dying. I grab him, finally. I pull him onto my lap. I’m sobbing, screaming. Pleading with God to save him. He begins to whimper, weakly.
Firefighters burst through the door – in my memory, it’s just like in the movies. They rush in, examine him, ask me questions. I’m hysterical. They pick him up and put him on a stretcher in my foyer. I fly upstairs, still in my pajamas. I grab jeans, a sweatshirt and shoes. I run outside, into the cul de sac. I stand near the back of the ambulance, in shock. They tell me to go into the front seat. I argue with them, I want to sit in the back with my boy. I don’t know if he’s alive. I finally give in to make things go faster. I sit in the front. I can barely dial my husband, I keep pressing the wrong places on my keypad and become furious with my phone. I yell at the driver “Why aren’t we going, let’s go, let’s go!” “They need to stabilize him first.” “No, let’s go, let’s go! Now!” We start driving, but not because of my demands.
I look at the driver, and ask, “Do you have children?” With no expression, he answers, “Yes.”
I get my husband on the phone. I have no idea what I said. But I did tell him we’re still in the neighborhood and headed toward Scottish Rite.
He had left a cart of groceries at Publix and ran out, and is headed toward the hospital, and hoping to catch up with us.
That horrifying ambulance ride….I called, I texted, anyone who I believed would pray with passion for my boy’s life. My phone isn’t working correctly, it still goes to the emergency call screen, so I power it down and power it up, I’m hysterical.
The guys in the back ask the driver to pull over near River Green, by Kurt’s. They need to put an IV in. I can’t believe this is happening. The boy I prayed and prayed for, the boy I love more than anything ever, in the whole world, my boy is dying. I plead with God. I know in my heart that I’ve told God, “you can do anything to me, but just don’t take my boy.” Is He testing me? Why? How could He take my boy? No. He can’t do this to me.
They guys in back ask me questions. I can’t see anything. I can occasionally hear whimpering and I know AJ is still alive. They ask if he’s been sick or had a fever. No. He’s been perfectly fine.
The sirens blare and I reach my best friend. I sob into the phone. I hear her begin to cry, “What can I do besides pray?” “I don’t know, just pray, pray, pray.” I get my mom. I have no idea what I said.
I know my dad is at my house with my daughters, thank God for that.
On PIB near 285, I see my husband’s car ahead of us. His arm outstretched in a fist, out the window. I want him to know it’s us. I press my hands against the window and see him, seeing me. We race by. He’ll tell me later that it’s the first time in his life that he ran multiple stoplights, behind us, hoping he wouldn’t get pulled over!
I hear my son crying, he’s very upset. I can’t see anything. The guys in the back tell me that he’s stable and responding. They tell me they believe he had a febrile seizure. But I know he didn’t have a fever. I had just changed his diaper, not even 10 minutes prior to this happening.
We pull into the hospital. I run out, I see my husband run to the ambulance. I don’t even think I acknowledged him. They pull AJ out and he’s alive. I’m in the way as they try to get him inside, it’s one of the coldest days of the year. I put my hands on my boy’s head and face. When inside, I kiss his face. My boy.
The rest of this story includes wonderful nurses and a wonderful doctor. They confirm that his temperature had risen so high so fast, that he had a febrile seizure. He doesn’t have a fever now though. A bit later, in the hospital, as I hold him, I feel him becoming very hot. They take his temp, and indeed, it’s almost 103. They say he must have an ear infection, which I find bizarre, as none of my kids have EVER had an ear infection.
My sister comes. My dad and my husband’s mom comes. My mom raced from Gainesville and is home with my daughters. My dear friends Abigail and Christy are here. We spend time together as I try to give AJ a popsicle but he’s very upset and refuses it. He’s covered with wires and monitors. But he does suck down an apple juice box.
The sugar starts to kick in. My poor boy hasn’t had anything since breakfast, and I think it’s maybe around 3pm. As the doctor explains febrile seizures to us, he plays with me, pretending to give me the juice box to drink. He hugs me repeatedly, and pats my back. It’s him. My lovable boy is back.
We leave the hospital around 5pm I think. That night, I have crying fits as memories overcome me. But I’m thankful. Grateful. For God saving my boy. For the prayers of so many that were answered. For the firefighters who were the hands of God that saved my boy in the back of that ambulance. For cheerful, kind nurses. For friends and family who dropped everything to be with me and my son. For grandmas who brought comfort food. For snacks and water brought by my thoughtful friend. For a stuffed frog as a gift for my boy, and the bag, written, Fully Rely On God.
I almost lost my son. I’m writing this down to tell my brain to let these memories go. They haunt me and fill me with fear and sadness. I imagine what could have been. I fear what could happen in the future.
It’s Sunday now. He woke up smiling and fever free. Thank you God for saving my boy.
(I later wrote another post about febrile seizures and the mistakes I made that nearly cost my son his life. You can read it here and I hope you find it helpful in case you ever find yourself in this situation.)
Here’s a few photos from that day. All iPhone. No editing except turning the one B&W.