This is part of a month-long series that my teen daughter and I are writing about her life and learning to live with epilepsy. To start at the beginning, click here.
I'm going to split this post into two parts - my memory and Beth's memory of her first seizure.
Beth's first seizure stunned me. She had been complaining of a headache for weeks and that was pretty odd for a five-year-old. I was at my desk and she asked to sit on my lap because her head hurt so much. I put my hands under her arms to pick her up and her body didn't bend. I kept trying to pull her back onto my legs and she wasn't sitting. Within a few seconds, just as I was getting irritated, she started kicking me. That would have been extremely out of character for her but I thought she was fighting me.
As I described it the day after, "I tried to turn her around to scold her and that's when I realized that her entire body was rigid and her eyes were rolling back in her head. In my panic, as I tried to stand up and help, she suddenly went completely limp and rolled out of my arms onto the ground. Her eyes were open, but still rolled back. After a few seconds of me screaming her name, her eyes did gradually focus on me and she started coughing. Then I realized that she was as pale as I've ever seen a human be - green almost."
What I didn't understand at the time was that not all tonic-clonic seizures involve wild thrashing about as they show in the movies. Sometimes it can be mild trembling all over. And that's what happened. She had also stopped breathing for about 30 seconds, which is why she was so pale.
I was in absolute shock and I just remember asking her over and over again, "Did you have a seizure? Did you have a seizure?" As if a little girl even knew what a seizure was and could tell me what had happened.
Within a few minutes, our neighbors showed up, I called my husband, and we called 911.
It's really interesting comparing what Beth remembers with my memories:
I remember Dad called Mom about helping a woman who had gotten hurt biking. He was on the bike path trying to get her help. After Mom got off the phone, she sat down at her desk. I thought I was going to throw up because I was grossed out about the story of the woman getting hurt so I went and sat on Mom's lap.
And the next thing I remember is waking up on the floor and asking what happened. I don't remember what Mom said. Our neighbor came in the room and asked if she needed to get her parents. Her parents were suddenly there, then Mom called Dad, and we called 911. I remember the firemen around me and they took my blood pressure and stuff. I was leaning against Mom's desk and then I remember getting in the ambulance and sitting on Mom's lap in the ambulance and that's all I remember.
We'll continue the story of Beth's diagnosis on Monday.
*If you'd like to read all of our 31 Days posts about living with epilepsy, click on the button on the sidebar or start here. And if you're wondering what the heck is going on and who Beth is, click here. :)