Saturday, August 25, 2012

L's first seizure

I will never forget L's first seizure.

We were taking the boys into the city, and Whim had stopped for drinks at a rest area on the way.  L, about 10 months old, was strapped into a carseat alongside his brother, drinking a bottle of water.  Whim was taking a while, and L was getting restless.  He started waving the bottle around, making a mess with the water.  I sharply told him "No!" and took the bottle away.  He was mad, and started to cry.

He did his signature cry - one 'starter' noise, then the long pause leading up to the real wail.   He cried like this all the time, and I'm sure I've heard other parents talking about it, too.  "The longer the pause between the injury and the scream, the louder it's going to be."

At first, I didn't turn around.  I didn't even feel bad for him.  Sorry bud.  Next time don't make a mess with the bottle and you won't be in this position.   The pause was getting uncomfortably long, so I looked back.  L looked terrible.  His face was contorted into a cry, but he was silent.  He was obviously fighting to get the cry out, but he couldn't.  He was getting paler by the second, except that he was blue all around his mouth.  He was frantically clawing at his carseat straps.  I shouted his name, and turned around in my seat to try to unbuckle him.  His eyes were filled with sheer terror.  It's really hard to gauge the timing, but I guess at this point, it had probably been almost a minute since I took the bottle. 

Then, suddenly, his eyes unfocused and rolled to the upper right and his head turned robotically the same direction.  He arched his back so tightly I couldn't manage his carseat straps.  His arms and legs were jerking and his whole body was rigid.  As far as I remember, with that first seizure he didn't make any noise, but I was screaming and could have missed it.  Though it seemed like the most terrifying thing anyone could ever experience, when the seizure ended, it was worse.  He slumped down in his carseat, and as far as I could tell, he was dead.

I pulled him out and ran with him to the convenience store where Whim had just finished checking out.  I was too scared and fumbly to even think about rescue breathing or checking his pulse. The only thing I could think of was getting to Whim.  I was frantically trying to describe what happened when Lennon suddenly came around.  He was clingy and wanted to be snuggled for about 5 minutes, and then it was as if the whole thing had never happened.  He was back to normal almost immediately. 

I wanted to rush him straight to the hospital, but at Whim's suggestion we called the hospital first. The hospital's response deserves its own post, but in a nutshell they assured us that if there is no fever and that if he came around normally afterward, there was no reason to rush in, but that we should schedule an appointment for him in the next couple of days.  And that's a post for another day.


  1. Oh my gosh that's so scary! What happened? Did you end up going to the doctor? Just found your blog today from Life on the Funny Farm's link party. Glad I found it!

    1. Yes, over the course of the next few months we learned more about his seizure disorder. I may link one of the follow up posts in another linkup. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. yikes, this is so scary and upsetting. i hope everything turned out ok, or manageable. visiting from TULA.

    1. It really was scary. Thankfully we've found ways to keep his seizures minimal. Thanks for visiting.