I’m on my lunch hour from work, and I just finished eating lunch at Jersey Mike’s (one of my faves). It’s an off-Friday for me, but there’s too much to do. But still, life is good. Full belly, beautiful day, and the day is shaping up to be very productive for me. My phone rings and I glance down to see who’s calling. A local number, but no name. That can’t be good, I should probably answer it. Reluctantly I pick up the phone. “Hello.”
“Hi. I’m calling to inform you that Gracie had a grand mal seizure today.” The woman on the phone with me sounds too cheery for me. Christ, could you at least lead me into it? Whatever happened to killing me softly?
I really don’t know what to make of this information at first. Did the staff at the school just see some unusual behavior and assumed it was a seizure? “You know, Gracie has a lot of unusual behavior. Are you sure someone isn’t mistaken?”
The school staff is adamant they have witnessed a seizure in Gracie. They describe all the classic symptoms of a grand mal seizure. I’m told I need to pick her up and take her home, as the staff doesn’t want to risk Gracie seizing on the school bus.
I think about the doctor visits we’re going to have now, as a result of this latest event. I’ve always known that epilepsy is more common in people with autism, than those without autism. When people asked Kristine or myself if Gracie experiences seizures as a result of being autistic, the answer was always no. People who asked this question always seemed surprised at our response. I thought somehow we might have gotten lucky, as far as Gracie was concerned. But two days before her summer vacation, and it finally happened.
I send Kristine, Gracie’s mother, a text telling her about Gracie’s seizure. I learn later that one of Kristine’s coworkers seemed blown away by how calmly Kristine handled the news. I know exactly how Kristine feels. Numb. It takes a lot to elicit any sort of emotional response from us these days.
I get to Gracie’s school and find her with a half a dozen school staff members hovering over her. She hates that, people hovering over her. But I know they’re only concerned, and are trying to help. She’s pale, and looks confused. When we arrive at home, Gracie goes straight to her bedroom, lies on her bed, and begins to nap. Her caretaker says in all the months of watching her, she has never seen Gracie go straight to bed after getting home from school. Gracie went to her bed around 1:30 PM, and seven hours later she shows no signs of wanting to get out of bed. She slept right through dinner.
What caused Gracie to have a seizure now? Is it an effect of sleep deprivation? She stays awake almost all hours of the night for days on end. Her sister took to sleeping on a futon in our bedroom, because of all the noise Gracie makes in the middle of the night.(screaming, slamming her bedroom door, and banging on her bedroom walls). Our house has a split floor plan, so the girls’ bedrooms are on one end of the house, next to each other, and our bedroom is on the other end .
Or was the cause due to taking Gracie off of almost all the supplements she had been taking? Maybe it’s a combination of all of these, or maybe not. Who knows?