Semi-awake, she heard the shower running in the next room. “Good, David is up and getting ready for school. My baby’s first day of 8th grade!” She was jarred wide awake by a tremendous thud in the bathroom. Throwing open the unlocked door she found her son convulsing on the floor, his entire body thrashing uncontrollably.
“Kevin, call 911!” she shouted to her 20 year old son. She grabbed a towel; covered David. The seizure continued unabated for three uninterrupted minutes and then abruptly stopped. His lips blue, blood seeping from one corner of his slack mouth, he stared unseeing through his horrified mother. Now the dread really set in as she fervently kept repeating, “Breathe, Davey, breathe. Look at Mommy, please! Please, keep breathing!” In the distance, sirens could finally be heard.
The paramedics ran into the house asking rapid-fire questions: “Has this happened before? Is he a drug user? Does he drink alcohol?” They hooked up an IV drip, supplied an oxygen mask, and lifted the now moaning boy onto a stretcher. Semi-conscious, David fought and they restrained arms and legs to protect both themselves and him from further injury.
“Ma’am, you can ride up front if you’d like.”
“Kevin, call Dad and tell him we’re at Providence Hospital. I’ll call you when we know anything.”
Fifteen minutes later the ambulance pulled into the ER and as it backed into the unloading dock, David became alert for the first time. The blank gaze suddenly focused on the emergency gear, the IV, and the realization he could not move. Panic-stricken, disoriented eyes filled with tears.
“It’s going to be all right, Davey. I’m right here.” Mrs. Post spoke as calmly as she could. “You had an accident. You’ll be fine.” She sincerely prayed that would be true.
“Mrs. Post, I’m Dr. Williams. The blood work showed no trace of drugs in your son’s system. We’ll run a CT scan to rule out a brain tumor.” The doctor spoke matter-of-factly. “You may accompany him to the procedure if you’d like.”
An orderly, pushing David’s gurney approached, and Mrs. Post grasped her bewildered son’s hand. The outer door opened and a hurried Kevin entered, carrying a disheveled much-loved teddy bear. It had been David’s favorite. Kevin tousled his brother’s hair and placed the treasure on David’s chest as the stretcher proceeded down the hallway. She observed, as the doctor administered the test revealing a normal, healthy brain.
“We’ll make a referral to a pediatric neurologist. You may take your son home.”
“You don’t know what’s wrong? What if it happens again?”
“He’s had a tonic-clonic or a grand mal seizure. A specialist needs to perform other tests to understand why. Take him home and let him rest today. He can resume his activities tomorrow until you see the neurologist.”
Vacillating between relief David didn’t have a tumor and fear of the unknown, Mrs. Post helped him stand. His tight, painful muscles made walking difficult. As they exited the room, they were greeted by Mr. Post and Kevin. She relayed what little information she possessed. Given the specialist’s name and number, they warily drove home as David slept.
Though any loud noise sent Mrs. Post’s heart racing, no further seizures occurred and on the scheduled day, Mr. and Mrs. Post accompanied David into Dr. Shippley’s office.
“I’ve analyzed all the data, but need one more test to confirm my suspicions. Come with me and we’ll do a sleep study EEG.”
They entered a darkened room and the doctor attached electrodes to David’s scalp. “Son, just try to relax and go to sleep.”
It took several minutes but soon David was breathing deeply; snoring softly. The doctor scrutinized the EEG tape for 3-4 minutes and then spoke softly, encouraging his patient to awaken. As David gradually became alert, Dr. Shippley continued to monitor the tape. “There it is! Just as I thought: a classic case of JME.”
“Is that a good thing? What’s JME?” Mr. Post asked
“Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. It’s a condition that presents at or near puberty. It is well controlled with adequate rest and medication in 80% of the cases. It shouldn’t keep him from doing anything he wants to do including getting that all important driver’s license when he’s old enough.”
“Know what Mom?” David asked his mother recently. “I’m thankful I have JME.” Surprised, she paused to look at him questioningly. “It makes me rely on God more and care about others who have special needs.”
* “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
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