If you want to feel like you've been dragged through a shredder backwards emotionally, just let something happen to one of your kids. Emotional exhaustion far exceeds a tired body.
On Wednesday, Nub took a head over heels tumble down a half flight of stairs. Following that he was bouncing on the couch and fell off backwards and hit his head on the coffee table. After checking for signs of concussion, we put him to bed.
In the morning we took him to the chiropractor to check his spinal alignment and got a reassuring assessment. At his age, his body is still fairly plastic. Thus, we sent him to school. A few hours later I got a call from my wife saying the school reports that Nub was having a seizure.
Full stop. Heart stop.
After peeling my pregnant and emotional wife off of the ceiling, we were able to make quick arrangements about what needed to happen next. Mrs. Nod called called Nub's doctor who directed to which hospital he wanted him to be sent. Emergency 911 arrived and whisked Nub away. I made a break for the hospital from work and Mrs. Nod followed with Nib in tow from the house. It made an odd little caravan with me 5 exits ahead of the ambulance and Mrs. Nod behind it. The paramedic even called me on my cell phone, which was a good thing since they were taking him to the wrong hospital - something I quickly corrected.
When they let me in to see him, Nub was happily sitting on his teacher's lap in the emergency room hospital bed playing patty-cake. What's going on here? I felt like a yo-yo -- I went from full-on crisis handling mode to relieved bewilderment in a single moment.
We had told the school about his accident in order that they should keep an eye on him throughout the day, just in case. When they saw him tensed and shaking and eyes all squinted up, they thought it might be a trauma induced seizure.
The thing is, I'm not so sure.
Nub does occasionally do a "self-stimulation" thing where he stares at the lights, tenses up and shakes himself. Sometimes he laughs when he does it, sometimes not. It's not unusual for Down's kids to also be prone to seizures which come in all shapes and sizes. Seizures can last for 3-10 seconds or minutes. However, they are usually not interruptible.
When Nub did it at school, the teacher was able to interrupt him to get him to touch is nose, ears, etc. A little while later he did it for several minutes and she couldn't interrupt him; that's when the nurse was called and she thought it was a seizure. Or he was ignoring her. Unclear.
I walked Nub back into the hospital CAT scan room so they could get a look. He took one look at the big machine in this room and turned around and walked out. He may have DS, but he's no fool. We attempted to get some pictures, but he was now scared and wasn't having any of it. They needed him to hold still for 2 minutes. Without anesthetizing him, it was doomed to failure. Have you ever tried to wash a cat? Yeah, it was about as pleasant and about as successful. Even strapped down to a papoose board, he wriggled both arms free and scootched his head off the rest. Even with four adults working on it, which included me half laying across him to hold his chin still, it was a disaster. I declined any further attempts or sedation.
Parts of it were blurry, but they were able to interpret his CAT scan: no signs of bleeding or trauma to the brain. The doctors observed him for a while as he talked, signed, played music, and walked. He was presenting a baseline normal. So, they concluded that whatever it was, it wasn't trauma induced, gave us a referral to a neurologist (yeesh, another doctor!), and sent us home.
So, ultimately we learned nothing.
Nub slept just fine, but Nib woke us every two hours during the night with her crying because she refuses to sleep through the night without a warm body next to her. I felt so terrible the next day that I went in late, left early, canceled all my activities and went to bed early.
Kids, man. What can you do?