Two years ago today I got the worst call of my life. I see the school number come up on my phone and wonder which boy isn’t feeling well. I answer as usual. It’s the nurse and she says “Beth it’s Beth. Grant is having a seizure…”
I can’t even tell you what she said after that. I was already in the car when she called. Gracie was playing in the passenger seat and I was cleaning the car waiting for my mom to show up so we could go to a consignment sale. I’ve never strapped Gracie in and flew to the school faster than that day!!
I walked in to see my boy having small convulsions and just completely out of it. His little eyes rolled back and face was twitching. His amazing para had him cradled in her arms and was talking ever so gently to him. I felt numb!! I wanted to scream and cry and hit something. But at the same time I was frozen. I had no clue how to help him and it broke my heart.
Finally he coughed and his para said “he’s done. He’s coming out of it” she then handed him to me. I was terrified. The paramedics came in and asked question after question. The next several minutes felt like a blur. I was so torn between him and what to do with Grace. Here she was only 5 months old and I literally just left her by the secretary. Luckily his amazing school staff watched her. They told me they had her and to take care of Grant. And they watched her until my mom made it up to get her.
That year he had three more seizures. Each of those times it happened at home. The next year he had three while in AZ before getting stem cells and after a day flying and driving and being exhausted. Then another in July when the temp in our house got ridiculously hot due to a broken a/c.
Each of those seizures was just as scary as the first but each time I felt more composed while my heart was breaking for my baby boy!! You don’t know the feeling of pure helplessness until you are holding your child in your arms and they don’t even know it. Watching their eyes roll back. Watching their mouth and lips smack. Watching their arms and legs get so stiff and convulse even if ever so slightly. And there is nothing you can do but watch and wait. You not only have to make sure your child is safe but you have to remember to check the clock as soon as it starts and continue to check it. Then it creeps closer to the golden number…5 minutes and as it creeps closer and you are comforting and praying, you have to mentally be deciding at what point you will administer the drug to help stop it. However you know that administering the drug will guarantee a trip to the hospital to be monitored. All these decisions have to be made in a few short minutes. Meanwhile you are fervently praying for it to stop on it’s own. I’ve been lucky enough that I haven’t had to give the Diastat to stop the seizures but the worry and the pain is still there. The wondering will this be the one that doesn’t stop?
Then they come to. Yes it’s over…but it’s not. You spend the next few minutes to possibly close to an hour or more helping them understand that everything is okay. You reassure them over and over that Mom is here and it’s all done and they are safe. But they are still worked up. He’s nonverbal and just went through that awful ordeal. I find myself wondering after each one if he knows what happened. Or does he know it’s coming before it starts. Does he know I’m there for him the whole time praying and comforting and loving him?
And then from the time the first seizure happens you are constantly on watch. The thought is always there. His first seizure was caused by a reaction to a Z Pack he was prescribed for strep. The next several were caused by motion. So I worried every hilly road we went over or every time he rough housed with his brother or Pa. I truly believe that seizures cause PTSD. If he’s staring off especially to the upper left I panic and shout his name. If he is asleep on my chest and his eyebrows twitch funny I jump into prepare for seizure. I sometimes feel like things I should be enjoying I can’t always truly enjoy for fear I might miss the initial signs and be prepared.
I knew that seizures were a possibility with Cerebral Palsy but I really thought we were out of the woods!! He was 5 years old and we had never seen anything close to a seizure with him.
What breaks my heart even more is that it doesn’t just affect me as his mom. It affects the whole family. Matthew has witnessed every seizure except the first one. And it terrifies him every time. It’s so hard to help Grant through a seizure all while making sure I’m comforting and reassuring Matthew the best I can. I remember in AZ after Grant’s third seizure in less than 12 hours Matthew wrote a poem that ended in “seizures are scary”. I hate that my 9 year old knows the signs and he is also always looking out for Grant to make sure it’s not going to happen.
I thank God every day that this is not an everyday occurrence and my heart and prayers go out to those that this is something they face every day. I also thank God for always placing his hand on me and guiding me through each one
Moral of the story: You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
Have a blessed day!