Saturday, February 25, 2012

3 months, a date with Daddy, and a few seconds that changed everything

First day of church (besides Christmas Eve service)

Two things...(1) This is long and (2) This is published with Steve's permission.

Monday morning at 6:15 I woke up to Steve having a grand mal seizure in our bed. He is epileptic. He's been on Tegretol for seizures for 13 years and has not had one since 1999. We were dating at the time and I witnessed one back then. As far as we know he has had 4 in his lifetime. Because he had not had a seizure in so many years, he had not been taking his medicine consistently for the last 6 months or so. He was always concerned about long term side effects and had wanted to come off of it for quite a while. While he took the medicine when I reminded him, I too, in the back of my mind, thought the seizures were over.

He had been fine at 5:15 am. Benton was fussing in the bassinet and he happened to be sleeping on that side Sunday night. He handed him to me and I fed him, then just laid him down between us about 5:45 until the alarm was set to go off at 6:30.

When I realized what was going on, which only took me about a second because he was shaking so violently, I put Benton down and grabbed the phone and called 911. It had been so long since I'd seen his previous seizure and I was terrified. He starting falling off the bed so I eased him down on the floor. We have hardwood floors in our bedroom and I was scared he was going to hurt himself. The whole thing lasted less than a minute and the dispatcher stayed on the phone with me the whole time and until the paramedics arrived (less than 5 minutes). He went into a deep sleep when it was over, and I knew he was ok because he was snoring so loudly on the floor.

When they arrived (ambulance AND fire truck) they went into our bedroom and tried to wake him. What I did remember from 1999 was that for 30-45 minutes afterward, he was extremely confused and scared. He did not know who he was, who I was, where he was, etc. I was anticipating that again, and I was right. He saw the strange men standing in our room and got very upset. They were so nice and only wanted him to sit on the bed until he came out of it but he felt very threatened and claustrophobic when they tried to put an oxygen mask on him. My heart broke into pieces for him.

If you've never witnessed it first hand, there is no way to explain it. It is one of the most frightening things I have ever experienced. And there is absolutely nothing you can do until they come out of it. As bad as I hate to say it, I told him later I wish I had it on video so he could see for himself. Though I would never film it. I just want him to understand.

By this time, both girls were awake. I put them in front of cartoons in the den and told them to stay there. Anna Clare was terrified. I told her Daddy had a seizure but he was going to be just fine. She could hear the commotion in the bedroom and was crying her little heart out. Seeing her cry made Owen start crying too. Again, my heart broke into little pieces. I went in and out of the bedroom checking on Steve and then checking on them. When Steve would see my face, I could tell he recognized me and a look of relief came over him. But as soon as he looked away to one of the paramedics, he would get upset again. He later told me he felt like he was being kidnapped. He was surrounded by strangers and had no idea where he was and was unable to communicate.

His words were very incoherent and his speech was slurred. He was fighting them off pretty hard because he was so confused. By this time there were 6 or 7 men in the bedroom. I apologized to them and told them he was so not like this. They were so gracious and said this was completely normal post-seizure behavior. Our sweet neighbor saw the emergency vehicles and came over to see what was wrong. The paramedics sent him into the bedroom in hopes that another familiar face would put Steve at ease. No such luck. When our neighbor didn't return home, his wife got worried and walked over. She insisted on taking all three children which was a HUGE relief. I had called my mom as soon as the paramedics arrived and my parents were on the way, but they had gone into work early and were 45 minutes away.

Love this sweet boy and his precious smile

Right after Emily left with our children, one of the paramedics told me Steve had started coming around. Praise the Lord. That was undoubtedly the longest 45 minutes of my life. I went in to see him and he was so relieved to see my face. He kept calling me Mama, but I was just glad to see him coming out of it. His words were still slurred and he was having problems with word recall but he was already trying to apologize to the paramedics. They told him they wanted to take him to the ER to have him checked out, and thankfully he agreed. I helped him get dressed and they took him out to the stretcher. I followed in my car.

By the time we got to the ER, he totally understood what had happened, though he couldn't remember any of it. His body was already starting to become sore and he had bitten his tongue pretty badly. He threw up once in the ER but otherwise was ok. We just held hands and both cried. I cried out of fear and terror and thankfulness that he was ok and so many other emotions. He cried out of fear and guilt for not taking his meds and what we had just all had to go through. We cried when Anna Clare called my cell phone to check on us. I asked her if she wanted to talk to her Daddy and she said, "Does he remember who I am?" Talk about breaking your heart. My dad came and sat with us and told us that my mom had the kids and they were all back at home. The girls were out of school for President's Day.

I started getting phone calls and texts and quickly received an email on my phone that had gone out to our Sunday School class asking for prayer. At the time I had no idea how word had gotten out, but I was so thankful that our friends and family were praying for us. I tried to keep his parents and brother updated through it all also. The ER doctor was great. She even cut up a little with Steve and it didn't take long for his humor to return. We were there about 4 hours and even had a visit from a good friend and two of our pastors. Before they released him, they changed his medicine and told us about the things he should not be doing for 6 months...swimming, bicycling, climbing, hunting alone, and DRIVING. Huge. But we knew that from the last time. And we agreed that we would just make it work.

Daddy/Daughter dance...or as Owen called it, "Royal Ball with a fancy dinner"

We came home and he slept most of the afternoon. I held it together pretty much all day (though I was pretty upset during the actual seizure because it is so frightening to witness) and then completely lost it at bedtime. Something about the night time was so very scary. I was terrified to go to sleep. Terrified. I kept playing it all over again and again in my head. My sweet mom called about 10 pm and said she was on her way to spend the night. I was so relieved. I just felt better having another adult in the house in case it happened again.

Love this man with all my heart

We all slept great and everyone in the house slept until 6:30, including Benton Boy! Tuesday night...not so much. I woke up at 3:00 and never went back to sleep. My mom had offered to come again but I assured her we would be fine. I was sure regretting that in the middle of the night. I laid there watching him sleep and kept checking to make sure he was breathing. And every time he moved or jerked in his sleep I almost came out of my skin. I cried and prayed and begged God to forgive me. What kind of believer was I to live in such fear? It was a very tough night. But the sun did come up finally. GG arrived Wednesday for a couple of nights and it was so great having her here. I was able to sleep well both nights she was here.

And these girls too :)

We have so very much to be thankful for. God is good and his provision and protection have amazed us. This could've happened while driving or in a deer stand or any number of places that could have led to a very different outcome. He could have been driving Anna Clare and our neighbor's children to school. Benton had been in the bed with us (not typical) and he could have been hurt during the seizure. And the list goes on and on.

Let's Party!

We are so thankful for calls, texts, prayers, meals, and friends. So many people have offered to drive him to work and back, and we are so grateful for that too. I have received texts with encouraging words and scriptures about not being afraid. I have claimed them all this last week and will continue to do so. I talked to my Bible study teacher a lot this week whose daughter has seizures. She assured me there was nothing wrong with my is a terrifying experience. I still doubt sometimes. I'm still scared. I still check on Steve constantly. I still don't want to leave him alone. I am trying to find a balance of not making him feel like a child, yet not becoming complacent like we were. I have to remind myself that as much as I love Steve, God loves him more. He holds him in the palm of His hand. His promises are for hope and a future and not to harm him.

We have an appointment with a neurologist on Thursday. We've heard he's the best in the area. Steve's old neurologist retired a few years ago and he'd been seeing an internist once a year. Steve is experiencing lots of side effects with this new medicine (Kepra). He has a constant dizzy, foggy, drunk feeling like vertigo. He is also having memory problems and word recall problems. We don't know if these go away after the medicine gets in your system but will discuss all of that with the doctor. If his old medicine doesn't have long term side effects, I would prefer he get back on it. It worked when he took it :)

Please keep us in your prayers. Pray first and foremost for NO MORE seizures. Please pray that we would not be afraid, for wisdom for his doctor, and that we would find the right medicine to stop the seizures forever without any side effects. Thank you friends! I am so grateful.
And I loved when I opened my CBS book for this week's lesson and read the memory verse for this week. My sweet friend had text it to me only a couple of days before. God's timing is perfect.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid." Psalm 56:3-4a

I'm committing that one to memory! :)


A. Paschall said...

Bless your heart, I am praying for you, Steve and your beautiful children. It breaks my heart that all of you had to go through this. Stay strong in God's word! He loves you and will always protect you guys.

The Skippers said...

Oh my! We are praying for you all. I can't imagine how scary that was for everyone. My mom took Kepra after her seizure. She is no longer on it. I am sure this will help and you guys can feel more at ease. Your memory verse couldn't be more perfect.

Denise said...

Wow. So scary. So glad Steve is okay... We need him around to keep the cool level unachievable for the rest of us. Prayers for all of you. Love you all!!!

kkd said...

LOVE this post and Love y'all more! You handled and are handling all of this very well, it is a lot. Praying for Sweet Steve and your family!

Lydia said...

Kristen, I will definitely be praying for you and the family! What a scare! Hugs to you!

Wanting What I Have said...

I cried while I read incredibly scary! Praying for you and your precious family. Hang in there!

Maggi jones said...

I just read this heart breaking story that you posted. You are such a strong person. I know we have never met but your words were so convincing. Steve is very lucky to have you. Please give him my love, and I am praying for ya'll.

Anonymous said...

You and your sweet family are in my prayers! We serve an awesome God! "I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8
Love ya'll! Shea

Janice Smith said...

What an awesome blog, Kristen! You were one mighty courageous person! So glad it all worked out well and that it will continue to do so! Take care & love y'all!
Aunt Jan

neeraj.p. said...

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It proved to be very helpful to me and I’m certain to all of the commenters here!