The Story of a Seizure

We’re pretty sure Sage had her first seizure episode very early this morning. She and I had spent most of the night on the couch because she was having trouble sleeping. She finally drifted off to sleep for a short bit and then she woke up screaming — not crying, screaming like she was terrified.

I swept her into my arms and tried to calm her. “I’m here, it’s was just a bad dream.” She looked at me, calmer for a moment. Then her eyes went wide and rolled to the left and she got this very still dead stare.

For half a second I thought maybe she was still asleep, and just had her eyes open in her sleep. That’s a think people do, right? I thought, Sage never has. Then I began to worry. “Sage, Sage, are you ok?” No response.

I brushed her cheek with my hand thinking she’d maybe stretch, stir, or wake up from the dead stare that had her gaze fixed. Nothing. As I adjusted her in my arms her head flopped back, limp. I my heart began to race. I placed my hand upon her chest and didn’t feel it rising or falling. It didn’t seem like she was breathing. Is she dead? What do I do? The questions passed through my mind in less than a second and I screamed. “BRYAN! BRYAN!”

Both Bryan and Thad came rushing in.

By the time they got to the couch Sage had come out of it a little. I could feel her chest moving again and for a short flicker she looked around with a confused expression on her face. Then it happened again.

Her eyes widened slightly and stared off to the left and she became completely unresponsive. Again she didn’t seem to be breathing.

Sometimes seizures look different than convulsions, sometimes they can manifest as a blank unresponsive stare. The neurologists words ran across my mind.

“I think she’s having a seizure.”

After that it’s hard to say what happened exactly. The edges of everything blurred a little. “She’s blinking, she’s coming out of it.” Bryan kept saying, but she looked the same to me.

“She’s still not responding.”

“Is she ok?” Thad asked.

Bryan held a finger up in front of her face, “Sage. Sage, can you follow my finger.” She stared blank and still, off to the left. Sobs rose through my body, “I thought she had died,” I choked the words out in barely a whisper. She still wasn’t responding but I had a reason in my mind. The word I’d dreaded ever since her diagnosis, now felt like almost a relief. Seizure. It’s just a seizure, I tried to tell myself.

“Should we call 911? What should we do?”

And then she looked around with a dazed look for a moment, stretched, closed her eyes, rolled towards me, and fell asleep. In her sleep she started to grind her teeth and chew loudly. I worried she’d bite her tongue and tried to wake her up, but she wouldn’t wake up. She gagged a little and I sat her more upright in my arms. She was asleep again.

We turned the lights on and talked about what to do.

“Should we take her somewhere?” Bryan asked.

“I don’t think there’s really anything they can do. You just have to wait it out, right?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’m not putting her in a carseat. I’m not letting go of her.” Sobs choked at my voice again. “Get online and look up what to do and is it ok that she’s so sound asleep? Should we keep trying to wake her up?” I touched her cheek and tried again to wake her.

Bryan, still blinking sleep, read from his phone. “There’s nothing you can do. Just wait it out. Turn them on their side if they are sick or congested. If it lasts more than 5 minutes call 911.”

“I don’t think it was 5 minutes, do you?”

“No. I don’t think so.”

“Is it ok she’s in such a deep sleep.”

He’s quiet for a moment trying to find something, “This says it’s normal to be really tired afterwards… and to let them sleep.” I could feel my hand on her lungs rising and falling in a steady and even rhythm. I could feel her pulse. I leaned back on the couch and sighed, pulling Sage closer to me.

Now, hours later, we move through the day tired and worn, worried and raw. We snap at each other. Ask for, and give, forgiveness. And keep a close watch on Sage. We call the neurologist, no answer and no alternative number for after hours. We call the Children’s Hospital where Sage is scheduled to have hip surgery in just over two days, “Can she still do the surgery?”

“Definitely not without being cleared by neurology. It’s a long surgery, a long time to be under anesthesia and if she’s already at risk for seizures and now she’s exhibiting her first seizure symptoms… we’ll hold the time slot as long as we can, but we may have to reschedule.”

Friends, would you pray. Pray that she doesn’t have another seizure. Pray that neurology clears her for this surgery. Pray for a smooth surgery and recovery.

Grace and peace,

Bethany Stedman