a blog about raising a daughter with cerebral palsy and learning unexpected lessons along the way

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I had been anticipating the visit of our dear friends; Sawyer (same age as Oia) and his mommy, who were arriving sometime Sunday evening. The Sunday was pretty typical in routine but Oia had not been wanting to eat or drink much. We have been spending quite some time outdoors in recent days despite the unbearably hot weather so I assumed the lack of appetite was weather related.

Sunday night rolls around. Our friends arrive safely and mommas and kiddos decide to go for a walk. Sawyer rode a tricycle and Oia rode in her red ride. I noticed Oia was getting whiny and she wanted out of her red ride to be carried. Since it was so hot, we turned around and headed back for home after about 30 minutes or so.

We returned indoors and Rob noted that Oia was hot to the touch. She wasn't sweating like the rest of us were (which was puzzling) but very, very warm. He took off her shirt and soon after carried her upstairs to get a cool bath. She was unhappy at bath time, still hot, and very tired. We were both getting a little concerned that she may have been experiencing some degree of heat exhaustion. After her bath, Rob took her temp and it was over 100. She was still, lethargic, and a little out of sorts and we both were very concerned and worried at this point. The last thing we want is any fever at all since seizures are an ever-present worry for us. Immediately, Rob gave her some children's ibuprofen to reduce the fever while I comforted her on the couch. No more than what seemed like 1 minute later, she was agitated and began to push out of her mouth an excessive amount of thick, clear, mucus-like saliva and her eyes became heavy during this time, almost shut at one point. I panicked. It lasted seconds but I panicked. Rob frantically asked what Oia got into as it seemed like she was trying to cough out something toxic that may have been ingested. We knew she had not been into anything and together we feared that this was our nightmare come true; her first seizure. Rob called the squad who took us to UVa's Pediatric Emergency Department.

Oia seemed fine on the way to the hospital. We arrived at the ED sometime around 10pm. She was very hot, still fatigued, but very interested in what all the commotion was about. We stayed in the ED for 3 hours or so waiting to be seen by a neurologist. Oia was chipper and chatty again despite a fever of 101.5. Rob and I decided that sleep was the best option for the evening so we requested to be discharged as it was nearing 1am and no neuro was in sight. ED doctor said that she was considering Oia's episode a seizure until she was 'proven otherwise'.

Oia slept well through the night but her fever remained even with continued doses of ibuprofen and generic tylenol. Rob stayed home Monday to be with us and he called our neuro first thing in the morning to get his take on what may have took place. Neuro does not believe that Oia seized since she was cognizant enough to push out the saliva with her tongue as well as reach up to pull it out with her hand. The question to be answered was why in the world does Oia even have a fever? It's the middle of summer and she has had no symptoms of cold or infection. No runny nose, cough, etc.

I made an appointment for that afternoon with Oia's pediatrician. Fever was 102. After a thorough exam, her ped noticed that Oia's throat looked 'beefy' with 3 spots that were bound to be blisters by the following day. She tested negative for strep. Which leads us to another nasty, but fairly common summertime virus in children called Hand, Foot and Mouth. The high fever and blistering throat are hallmarks signs. Thankfully, there are no blisters on her hands and feet which are also common in HFMD. Nothing to do but treat the symptoms and let the virus run it's course. We're guessing this is something she got at the pool...who knows, could have been anywhere.

Oia's fever finally went away last night. Today her appetite is back. She is still not 100% yet but much better all around. Sunday was scary, to say the least. You realize in moments like this how very quickly your world can change and with little to no warning whatsoever... And it only takes a mere second to remind you how out of control we really are. Thankfully, Oia's neuro and ped are not convinced that Oia experienced a seizure but just a sudden spike in fever. And who knows, the medicine we gave her initially may have burned on such a raw throat which may explain the frantic output of that thick saliva.

Just glad that's all behind us... glad Oia is feeling better by the day and that we didn't scare Sawyer and his mommy back to NC. We enjoyed a couple low-key days indoors and as it turns out, they were just the medicine that Oia needed.


  1. So scary! I would have freaked out too. I'm so glad she's doing well and is recovering nicely. Every time Katie blinks wrong I think she's having a seizure...I wonder if that will go away with time. Probably not till she's 20.

  2. Ugh! Hand, foot & mouth SUCKS! I had it for like 4 summers straight, although I hear for most people once you've had it your body developes antibodies and you won't get it again. Hopefully Oia goes with that group instead of my antibody deficiant group. The pool does help with the blisters, if you can use someone's pool, exept for the mouth blisters.

  3. Oh NO! Poor Oia! I know you must have been terrified, Mo! What a scary day, I am so glad to hear that she seems to be on the mend. Will say some extra prayers for the little one....Fevers alone are a four letter word in our house since they always trigger seizures, so I understand how scared you must have been.

  4. Phew. Scary indeed. Glad she is on the mend...I've been trying to find time to read your blog for weeks. Oia is ADORABLE. What a perfect smile, so sweet.

  5. Poor sweet Oia, and poor sweet Mo! I hate those middle of the night trips to the pediatric ER, it is like you say, you realize you have absolutely no control. When we had an unexplained fever around here recently I did hear Hand/Foot/Mouth was making the rounds, maybe it is that time of year. But hooray at least, for not having real seizures.

  6. Mo,
    I just happened upon your blog this afternoon and have enjoyed reading it. Our babes seem to have a lot in common,from CP and successful constraint induced therapy to a surprisingly seizure-less EEG and a recent bout with Hand/Foot/Mouth that scared us to death because Shelby stopped eating for 5 days (I thought she had developed an oral aversion and would need a feeding tube). I have never been so glad for my daughter to have a virus in my life. I have lots of PT/OT/developmental related questions that you might be able to help me with since Shelby is only one year old. My email address is tiffany . kinnaird @ yahoo . com (without the spaces to prevent spam) if you have time. Thanks so much! And by the way, Oia is absolutely adorable. :)
    -Tiffany Kinnaird
    Asheville, NC

  7. I'm sorry you had such a scare, and that she was so sick, but THANKFUL that it wasn't a seizure!