I certainly hope this is not a new trend

I awoke this morning, like yesterday, to seizure activity.
He was in bed, thankfully, so I wasn’t as concerned about him hurting himself.

It lasted about two minutes, and he was post-dictal* for about 45 minutes.

*Post-ditcal is the altered state of consciousness that a person enters after experiencing a seizure. It usually lasts between 5 and 30 minutes, but sometimes longer in the case of larger or more severe seizures and is characterized by drowsiness, confusion, nausea, hypertension, inability to talk or form coherent words, headache or migraine and other disorienting symptoms. Also, emergence from this period is often accompanied by amnesia or other memory defects. It is during this period that the brain recovers from the trauma of the seizure.

In the beginning of this journey, we would freak out about every generalized seizure. I would call 911, or take him to the ER myself. After our third trip to the emergency room, a trauma doctor finally told me, “You know, you don’t have to come to the ER every time he has a seizure. He’s going to be here a lot, if you do.”

I dind’t think to ask his neurologist about it at the time. I can’t believe I left such a simple question unasked.

What do we do when he has another seizure?

He was on a therapeutic dose of anti-seizure medication. In my naive mind, that part was over. We were done with the seizures.
I read countless stories about cases similar to Chad’s, and so many of the patients were seizure-free after taking the same drugs Chad had been prescribed.
I was not concerned.
And then he started having focal seizures (just arm and/or leg twitching) on a regular basis, like once a week or so. He wasn’t having generalized seizures except for once every few months. He’s never had generalized seizures (full body involvement with a post-dictal period) so close together, except for when he was newly diagnosed and the doctors were trying to find a therapeutic drug level to stabilize the flurry of activity.

So, what do we do when has a seizure? When should I get concerned and call/take him in for help?

Typically, if a seizure lasts under 3 minutes, and Chad is coherent within an hour of onset, there is no cause for concern.
If there are multiple seizures, with no time in between them where Chad is coherent, that’s a little alarming.
If there is vomiting before/after/during the seizure, that is a little alarming. But not too alarming, if the vomiting and seizures stop within a good chunk of time. Say, 1 hour or so. And if her feels better after vomiting.
The vomiting issue is concerning because it could signal swelling on/in the brain. The brain doesn’t have an effective way of ridding itself from excess fluid, so it sends a signal to your gag reflex. Sometimes the patient feels better after vomiting, as it’s thought to relieve some of the pressure felt. This is the first time we’ve dealt with vomiting at all, but keep in mind we already know there is swelling in that noggin of his; we stopped steroids, the headache intensified, and then the seizure.
I am comforted in knowing that Chad has an MRI tomorrow afternoon.
I am confident everything is fine, and Chad just needs a little longer on steroids, or we may need to investigate another method of reducing the swelling. In either case, we will find out later this week.

As always, thanks for your support, prayers and positive energy. We are so thankful for all of you!


5 Responses to “I certainly hope this is not a new trend”

  1. 1 Nana April 27, 2009 at 8:00 am

    You are doing everything perfectly fine – keep following your instinct! The two of you are doing an exceptional job in adjusting to this entire new journey. Hang in there – I love you!
    (and who knew you’d get a medical degree via osmosis??))

  2. 2 Aunt Carmen April 27, 2009 at 9:06 am

    Nana is right! The two of you are handling this amazingly well and doing all you can do, day by day. You just have to trust your gut and when in doubt, call. Both of you are so strong and have lots of love out there pulling you along.”Just keep on Reaching”
    We Love You!

  3. 3 Meredith April 27, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    What amazing strength the two of you have! And what would Chad do without such a committed wife? There are a lot of folks that would not be able to stand up to these challenges, but you guys don’t fall into that category. We are all praying for you and Chad and look forward to getting good news from the follow-up visit and MRI. If I can help in any way, let me know.

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Coming up

April 3: Happy Birthday to Chad!
April 7: Cailyn's 37th dentist trip
April 8: Happy Birthday to Faith!
April 12: Happy Birthday to Landon!
April 23: Carys' field trip
April 30: Chad's 1-mo post-op eval

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