Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In Which Connor Has Another Seizure And I Reflect On Just How Weird Things Get Around Here Sometimes

This evening Connor had about a three minute seizure.  I was talking on the phone with a friend and folding laundry when I recognized the warning signs; the little guy had stopped playing with his toys, was very quiet and his head was drooping sharply to the left.  I got the oxygen mask in place and Connor settled on his side while I was still talking on the phone. Connor's left leg started jerking about thirty seconds after I had him in position, and I could see his breathing getting shallower.  "Can I call you back in a few minutes?" I asked my friend while I took Connor's mask off.  "I have to resuscitate my son now."  When the seizure was over I put a perfectly calm little kid down in his bed to peacefully sleep off the effects and then went back to folding laundry.

I'm not sure at exactly what point in the past few months it happened, but the seizures have become so commonplace around here by now that I'm sad to say that I don't even have to eat large amounts of chocolate after them to relieve the stress.  Not that I need an excuse to eat large amounts of chocolate, but you know what I mean. 

While I'm happy that I don't get a total freak-out adrenaline rush anymore every time the seizures happen (though I must admit that the not-breathing-while-I'm-driving-on-the-highway ones still get my heart thumping) it's kind of disturbing that I know the signs so well I can tell, usually to the second, exactly when Connor will stop breathing and can judge how much time I have to, say, get off the phone.  I believe by this point I've done mouth-to-mouth almost eighty times on my kid in the last two years.  That's kind of crazy.

The seizures don't really seem to bother Connor anymore either, which is good but kind of makes me sad at the same time because he's had so many of them that they don't scare him anymore.  It's gotten to the point that I actually forget sometimes that everybody doesn't deal with this sort of thing and wonder for a few seconds why people are completely freaking out when he has one in public.  On several occasions I've actually had to split my time between keeping an eye on Connor as he recovers from a seizure and calming down an absolutely hysterical bystander who is convinced I should be rushing my child to the hospital right that second and my lack of excitement is possibly borderline criminal and/or negligent. 

What's really funny is that I was thinking about it, and I'm relatively sure I would still totally freak out if I had to do mouth-to-mouth on someone other than my son.  I have no idea why this is either; I certainly have the technique down by now.  I think it's because that would feel like an actual, you know, emergency.  And while Connor's seizures and the whole stopping breathing thing certainly are also an emergency (and we've had to call the EMTs on multiple occasions when we couldn't get him started up again fast enough), they're an emergency we've experienced eighty times by now.  I think if I still got as freaked out about them as I did when he first started having them I would probably have had some sort of major nervous breakdown by now.

It's this kind of thing that makes me wake up every once in a while and realize just how truly bizarre my life is.



Niksmom said...

Sadly, I get it. I used to feel the same way about some of my son's stuff. Thankfully, I've never had to resuscitate him , though.

Hoping for an uneventful day for you all!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

I think you have just gone into survival mode. The fact that you don't get completely worked up about the seizures anymore is sad, but I think it your body's way of protecting you. A person can only handle so much!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a particularly religious person, but what comes to mind reading this post is that god picked the right parents for Connor. Seriously, to take care of your son you have to be tough and a bit unshakable. Not just anyone could do it. You might not have been that girl before, but you are now. And that is a compliment.

KLB said...

Jess - It is quite possible that his calmness around a seizure is in part because YOU are calm(er). As a child I faced frequent medical "crisis" and my parents were like rocks, taking the lumps with grace and making me feel like "oh yeah, there it goes again. Well, we've been through this before and it's no big deal" This helped me feel that way as well. So, you aren't getting blase - just helping him feel this is just a part of life, of growing up as Connor and in your family. (And big hugs to you for being able to do so.) Warmly, Karen

xraevision said...

I can identify with your thoughts here. Although we only had to resuscitate our son thirteen times in seven months, the situation quickly became a normal part of our life. After the first few episodes, we stopped feeling that frozen panic and simply went about our emergency routine. When the episodes occurred in public places, I also spent quite a lot of energy calming other people down, including nurses.

I also remember thinking that it was impossible to summarize what our life was like, so I just stopped talking about it in detail, which probably made me sound very nonchalant about having to repeatedly resuscitate my son. It is very strange, indeed, to think about how this kind of life must be different from others.

sarah said...

I totally *get* where you are coming from. My husband has been having seizures for about 18 years now. I have been taking care of him during seizures for 16 years now. Up until this year, he ALWAYS went to the ER for treatment after an episode. The first 10 years or so, I was so shaken up the paramedics would inquire if I was OK too.

It was a personal triumph for me when I loaded him into the ambulance without being asked if I was OK. Then about 15 months ago I was a first responder (of sorts)when a stranger had a seizure in the candy isle at Costco. I was more pissed about the behavior of the by-standers than upset by the seizure itself.

Hubby has had 3 episodes of focal seizures since April, and I have not taken him to the hospital at all. through trial and error, we have found that it takes 1.5mg of Ativan to stop the seizure and allow him to keep breathing. Sunday morning when it happened, I was almost on auto pilot--administer meds, get him lying down, reassure him he will be OK...oooh he's tired, get him on C-PAP.

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