I know people with epilepsy. I have seen someone have a fit from the sidelines and it was scary.
Now that is a possibility every day.
On Monday, just as I am writing the last post, I get a phone call.
“L has a rash and she’s unresponsive.” Preschool. “She told us she didn’t feel well.”
“Oh. OK.” Great. She’ll probably vomit and poo and curl up on the sofa. I prepare myself for a week of unpleasantness. I’m not too worried about the rash as both my children get rashes. They both had baby acne and L suffers with heat related rashes. She’ll also get a rash if she’s annoyed or tired so facial rashes don’t concern me too much.
“Do you want us to bring her to you?” Play leader asks.
“Oh that would be great.” I’m in the middle of trying to get O down for his nap so it would be easier if they came to me. I hang up and finish off the post.
A little while later there is a knock at the door.
“You need to phone an ambulance.” She says, stepping aside to reveal K carrying a limp, pale L. L is gurgling and drooling like she is trying to speak but her tongue is too big. She’s looking around but her eyes are dead. Her face looks swollen.
This is not my child.
I cry. I scream. I feel sick and fear and terror as a piece of my heart is ripped out.
Is she dying?
Can she breathe?
I pick up my mobile which chooses this fucking moment…this awful horrible moment to freeze and I hurl it across the room.
K and Play leader tell me to calm down
“There’s a landline.” I say. No time to piss around with shitty software.
I run to the phone in the dining room.
I’m holding it together as I dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.
One thing could tip me over the edge but I’m holding it together as I answer the important questions – address, telephone number, whats wrong.
K has taken L in the other room so I can’t see her but I can hear K cooing it’s OK.
I pretend this isn’t happening.
Yes, she’s breathing. No, she hasn’t had an accident. Send an ambulance.
“Madam, I need to ask you some questions.”
“She’s two, she’s in the other room, send an ambulance.”
“You need to be in the same room…”
K brings her through. She still cooing it’s OK. We’re all scared. L is clicking between the gurgles. What if she’s like this forever?
“Send an ambulance.”
“You need to answer some questions madam…”
“I know you get this all the time, but SEND AN AMBULANCE! SEND AN AMBULANCE! SEND AN AMMMMMMBUUUUUUUULAAAAANCE.” I scream down the phone at the dispatcher, his calming method failing. Fucking questions.
Play leader takes the phone and K hands L to me as I sit on the sofa.
Baby stay with us. Don’t go.
I hold her tight, the clicking and gurgling noise burning into my brain. It will stay with me forever. The left side of her face is slack, pulling her features down. Her eye begins twitching. Her stare is so empty I can see her brain short circuiting.
A solitary tear rolls down her right cheek. She’s scared. I can feel it. Every part of me holds on to her. She can’t talk to tell me but she’s trying to.
Stay with us. It’s OK baby. It’ll be OK.
What if she’s like this forever? What if each misfire is damaging her?
“She’s fitting.” I call through. They are still on the phone. “Tell him she’s fitting.”
A paramedic arrives and we lay her down on her side. Her left arm joins in the rhythmic movements. She’s put on oxygen. Her breathing is shallow but regular. The mask bunches up her face and closes her eyes and I hope she loses consciousness.
We strip her from the waist down and shes given rectal diazepam. Her whole body begins to jerk. Once a second, each muscle contracting in unison. Her eyes have rolled back in her head.
Come back. Make sure you come back.
“Talk to her mum, she can probably hear you.” The paramedic says.
I lean over her convulsing body and sing into her ear. Twinkle twinkle little star. Baa baa black sheep. Away in a manger. I tell her she’s a good girl, that mummy is here. I stroke her hair and her leg while they do her sats and blood sugar.
Why hasn’t it stopped? Why hasn’t the diazepam worked?
I’m told to get ready for the ambulance. I get my shoes and my coat on. O is put in his car seat.
I take a second to wander outside and ask myself where the fucking fuck is the ambulance?
OH arrives looking pale and sick.
“She’s having a fit.” I tell him. People crowd round her. She’s starting to come out of it. The jerking has stopped. Her lips are blue and puffy and she stops breathing for a few seconds. It feels like a few hours. I tell them she’s not breathing and we roll her over and call her name. They strip her clothes off so we can watch her chest move.
She opens her eyes.
She begins to respond when we call her.
Then the crying starts. She howls. Over and over and i scoop her up and hold her to me, tell her it’s OK. Tell her I’m here, she’s not alone.
The ambulance finally arrives and we climb in.
They tell me how brave and strong I am. They say she was fitting for forty minutes.
I’m not strong. I’m doing this for her. I want her back. I want my singing chatterbox back. I want the girl who annoys me so much with her toddler logic back. I want her back now.
I sing to her in the ambulance. I sing over her screams. I lull her into rest periods where she gains the energy to yell again.
At the hospital I stroke her hand and her hair.
“I’m going to leave the oxygen there are they sometimes fit again as the medication wears off.” A nurse says, leaving the hissing mask at the head of the bed.
OH and mum turn up and we take turns comforting her.
Finally the crying stops and she looks around.
“Mummy.” She whispers. I go over and she hugs me tight to her with her right arm. She’s yet to use her left arm.
But she’s back. That’s the important thing. She’s back.
I point out her left side weakness to the doctors and they make her stand up, which she does.
She has Benign Rolandic Epilepsy in childhood