How do moms and dads do it when they have an illness or some sort of traumatic event in their family? Even if it’s a one-time thing? How does life go back to “normal” or does it?
I don’t talk about it much and haven’t really addressed it much on social media because then I would have to say “out loud” how terrified I was that day and how terrified I still am today.
We woke up to a wonderful Sunday, a new year and new hopes & plans for 2017. We were all just hanging out, taking down our Christmas decorations with no real plans for the day. Mike was sleeping as he had just gotten home at 7 am from working NYE (he’s my hero in blue).
I thought about going to get my nails or running to the store for a few things but decided I would wait until he got up. It was about 11am and my daughter was getting a little tired and decided to read on the couch. As she laid down and started to read, I thought it was a perfect time for me to sit with her and get some reading done myself. I was responding to a few texts from a couple of my girlfriends about how this year was going to be a great year, big things were coming and how excited and ready we were. I looked over at my daughter as she fell asleep and thought about how I was glad I decided to just chill at home.
20 minutes went by and she started to stretch and I expected her to start waking up… instead she as stretched she started convulsing. I immediately jumped up and (apparently) threw the coffee table out of the way and went to her side. I had never been through something like this before, other than the flu or common cold she had been perfectly healthy. I have friends who are going through their daughters having seizures. I didn’t know what to do. My first thought was “No! Not her too!”
I screamed 4 times for help. My step-sons and step-daughter ran down the stairs saying they heard me and asked what was going on. I yelled for them to wake their dad up that Ava was having a seizure. She was already on her side when she was sleeping, then I noticed that her hand was clenched in a fist to her mouth. Panic set in, even more, as I looked to see if her fingers were in her mouth…luckily they weren’t…Thank God they weren’t! Then the spit and slobber started coming from her mouth. I just made sure she stayed on her side as Mike came out to see what was going on. I told him she was just sleeping and started seizing.
I stepped back as Mike checked on her. She wouldn’t wake up. Her head tilted to the side and her eyes rolled back. I thought she was dying, I literally thought “Oh my God, my daughter is dying.” I expected Mike to throw her on the ground to do CPR. The boys kept asking if they needed to call 9-1-1…but Mike knew what was happening and could tell that she was starting to come out of it. She opened her eyes and I could see the confusion on her face because all of us were just standing there looking (let me just say, as soon as my 7 year old step daughter came down the stairs she was sent back up so she wouldn’t see what was going on). Mike started asking her questions about her name, saying hi to her, asking if she was ok. She just tried to go back to sleep, she said she knew her name “Ava”, but when asked what her last name was she couldn’t remember. Of course more panic set in and I started trying to wake her up telling her she had to sit up. As she started to sit up she began crying. I kept asking her why she was crying, was she hurt, did she have a bad dream, did she bite her tongue, did she go to the bathroom in her pants…she just kept saying no. I asked why she was crying then and she just said she didn’t know. Her body was just trying to go back to sleep. Mike told me I needed to make sure she could walk. So after some convincing I got her to walk down the hall way with me…she was a little wobbly but ok. I asked her if she just wanted to go back to the couch and she said yes, she just wanted to sleep.
There is no history of epilepsy. She didn’t fall. She hadn’t been sick. There was no fever. This had never happened before. She didn’t eat anything different. We didn’t DO anything different.
Even though I was scared, I let her go back to sleep on the couch and stayed with her…she slept for 20 minutes, lunch came and she got up and ate, almost like nothing had happened. I say “almost” because she was definitely drained and lethargic. She ate most of her lunch and asked if she could lay in my bed with me…she fell asleep for another 15 minutes. We had decided that if she had another seizure we would take her to the ER…otherwise we would keep a close eye and treat it like a concussion. I stayed up with her most of the night as we both slept on the couch…every twitch, every time she moved I was watching. But she made it through the night with no incident. It took a full 24 hours before she was herself again. The next night she slept on the floor next to my bed…we treated it like a slumber party…but with me staying up all night and not the kids.
So as of today, her blood work came back normal, her MRI came back normal and now we’re waiting for her apt this month for her EEG. Everything is pointing to this being a fluke as nothing else has happened since New Year’s day. The neurologist said 5-10% of the time that someone has a seizure they never have another one, that its genetic and just lies dormant for the rest of their life. However after the first one there is a 30-40% of a 2nd one occurring. Now we sit and wait for what the EEG will tell us…
So again I ask…how do parents do it? How do you not look at your child differently after such an experience? How do you not become over-protective or clingy? I think I’ve done a good job with not acting crazy protective but I do catch myself glancing over and just savoring the moment. So if the doctors can’t find a reason as to why this happened and why it’s only happened once…maybe the reason is as simple as to get our attention, to put things back into perspective, to remind me of my priorities, to savor the moments…