James is sleeping soundly next to me while I write this, but he really gave us a scare this weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, we were getting ready for Easter. James had taken a nice nap and I’d changed him into a fresh shirt and shorts. Annabel had been waiting for my cousin Leah and her husband Ted to come over so we could decorate eggs. Since I knew they were about to arrive, I started setting things up in the kitchen. Mike was sitting on the couch with a suddenly whiny and clingy James, so I told Mike to bring him into the kitchen so he could help with the eggs. When they walked in, I saw that James had his head resting on Mike’s shoulder. I thought that was weird, since James had just taken a nap. I moved so I could show James an egg (one of his favorite things) and that’s when I saw that his eyes were rolling back in his head and his face and lips were completely grey.

I grabbed James from Mike, and discovered he was limp and unresponsive. Right then, Leah and Ted walked through the front door and I ran James over to them. “Something’s wrong with James, can you see?” They both tried to get James to wake up and failed, so I turned to Mike and said, “Call 911!” Leah quickly went to distract Annabel while Mike, Ted, and I took James outside to meet the ambulance. While we waited, we kept shaking, tickling, and talking to James, trying to wake him. I listened for the ambulance. It felt like it took forever to arrive, but in reality it was about six minutes.

A fire truck and ambulance showed up, and at that point, James was awake but not alert. His color was still terrible, with little pink to be found. Even his hemangioma was grey. The fire crew ran up first and started assessing James and asking questions. They listened to his chest, put on a pulse ox, and started trying to get his attention to see if he could focus on them.

We answered all of their questions: he’d been awake for at least 20 minutes, he hadn’t been sick, no fever, his body hadn’t become stiff, he hadn’t seized. We told the crew that James had been eating Pirate’s Booty with Annabel, thinking that maybe he’d choked, but the EMTs didn’t think that was likely since he’d been whining but hadn’t coughed. I kept repeating that James was healthy and strong, at first for the benefit of the EMTs but eventually to remind myself.

After a few minutes of questions, James started to come around, although his color still hadn’t returned. An EMT said that it sounded like James might have fainted, but since fainting isn’t common in kids his age they wanted to transport him to the hospital. The next thing I knew, James and I were strapped onto the gurney in the ambulance and we were rolling toward the hospital, with Mike close behind. I tried not to think about the last time I’d ridden in an ambulance and focused on James, rubbing his hands, kissing him, smelling his hair. I’d given him a bath earlier and he smelled so good.

Because James arrived via ambulance, he was admitted to the ER and seen right away. The doctor examined him and had him attached to the pulse ox and ordered blood tests and an EKG. He was still pale and clingy, although when he saw Mike he said, “Dada!” and reached for him, which made us all happy. A tech soon arrived to administer the EKG and James started crying as the electrodes were placed on his chest. We did our best to calm him, but I was also so relieved to hear him cry.

As we waiting for all the test results, James slowly came back. His color returned first, then he started chatting, and finally started asking for food and drink. The ER doctor eventually returned to tell us that all of the tests came back normal. We were relieved, but apprehensive because that also meant there really wasn’t an explanation for what happened. Though the ER doctor didn’t have a definite diagnosis, he did suggest a few possibilities. One (the best one) was that this might just have been one of those strange, isolated incidents that happen to kids and never happen again. Another was that James might have had a vasovagal episode, which I’ve experienced several times. He also couldn’t rule out the possibility that James had a seizure, even though he didn’t display the typical signs/symptoms. As he discharged James he reiterated that he hoped this was an isolated incident, but urged us to take James to see his regular pediatrician, which we will be doing this afternoon (Monday).

Ever since the incident, James has been completely normal. He’s been eating and drinking like a champ, and had a great Easter yesterday, running around all over the yard looking for eggs with his sister. Mike and I are both recovering from the experience. I half-jokingly said to Leah that I’m really not emotionally equipped to deal with something like this this week, of all weeks. There’s never a good time for your kid to completely scare the crap out of you, but this is certainly one of the worst times! But, I have so much confidence in Dr. Looove, and I know she’ll check him out thoroughly. I’m not looking forward to walking James into the office exactly 6 years to the day I brought his oldest sister in for the last time, but I will just keep reminding myself that he is healthy and strong.

I’ll be sure to update later this afternoon, after we visit Dr. Looove.

5:45 PM UPDATE:

Just arrived home from Dr. Looove’s office. She thinks that James’ episode on Saturday was likely an isolated incident, but wants James to be seen by a pediatric neurologist for follow up. That is scheduled for ten days from now. We’re feeling very relieved. Thank you everyone for all of the prayers and good thoughts!

waiting at the Dr's office