Archive for the 'Kevin's special brain powers' Category

The Story of the Beginning of Kevin’s Special Brain Powers – Part 2

September 29, 2009
When last we left our heroes, one was inside the hospital on a stretcher and the other was having a total melt down in the parking lot.  Will Kevin be leaving the hospital today?  Will Sara pull it together and actually go in the hospital?  Let’s find out in The Story of the Beginning of Kevin’s Special Brain Powers – Part 2.

I asked my mom if she would come inside the hospital with me, just so I didn’t have to come back out and let them know that Kevin was indeed there and was not moved to another hospital or anything.  So, Paul stood by the van to keep an eye on the kids and mom and I went in.  The place was absolutely empty.  I got to the desk and the administration nurse asked me if I was here for the man brought in by ambulance.  I said yes I was and asked if he was there.  After she said that he was there, mom left to get the kids back to her house and I was taken back to where he was.  He had been there for about 30 or 40 minutes at that time.  They didn’t have the sirens going on the ambulance because there was no traffic at that time of night, but they did have the lights going so they got there fast.

I went back to sit with Kevin.  He looked OK and was no longer confused.  He knew he had a seizure and knew that the hospital was the place he needed to be so they could get to the bottom of it all.  The nurses there were absolutely incredible and kind.  We were asked all of the same questions that the paramedics asked – job, how many kids, any history of seizures, what were you doing when it happened etc.- and then came the questions that Kevin and I were to get very familiar with over the next few days.  “Do you know what day it is” (he got that one wrong but the nurse gave him a pass anyway as it was the wee hours of Friday morning and he said it was Thrusday), “What city are you in” “Do you know where you are” and the nurse left us alone for a while.  I can’t really remember what we talked about in that time, but I do remember we were laughing and joking around with each other. It is just our nature to make light and laugh when we want to cry.  The nurse assigned to Kevin came in after about 25 mintues and had some funny conversation with us for a bit… but she came with an IV for Kevin.  So with her pleasure came some pain.

Now, Kevin had never had an IV before.  Never.  He had to have one so they would be able to get some drugs in him if he started seizing again. Kevin did not like the IV experience.  Not. At. All.  They put it in his arm, not in his hand, and got it in on the first try, but it was not a pleasant experience for him.  The nurse told us that Kevin would be getting a CT soon and asked us if we needed any thing or had any questions.  I asked her how they would keep Kevin from having a seizure if he started to have one again.  She told me they would put anti-seizure medication in his IV and it just kind of shuts down the brain.  I remember us having a conversation with the nurse about seizure medications and seizures in general, but I can’t for the life of me remember what was said.  After we were done our conversation, she left us alone to do some nurse-y type stuff.

Kevin kept on pointing to his IV and saying “OW!” These were my exact words to him “Priorities, there Kev. You just had a seizure.  Let’s not focus on the IV. Mmm’kay?”  To which he would reply “Ow!” and point to the IV. (Kevin, if you’re reading this, you know I love ya! Mwah! But, um you’re a bit of a wimp.  Yeah… I think you know that, right?  You’ve had many IVs since then and it’s still always the same.)

Someone came and to get Kevin to bring him to CT after a bit.  I followed along and sat outside the waiting room while Kevin got his CT.  I was tired.  I was in bed at 1:00 and up at 4:00 with all of this. Sitting in the waiting room at CT was the first time I relaxed.  I was just leafing through a magazine and trying to keep awake.  The CT didn’t take long, however, so I didn’t get a chance to relax for long.  The orderly walked really, really fast.  She was such a nice lady and talked to us the whole way back to emerg, but she was one fast walker!  And I remember being freezing.  They kept piling Kevin up with blankets from the warmer but I was so, so cold.  And then when we were whizzing down the halls, I just started shivering.  Why are hospitals so cold?

We got back to emerg, and Kevin and I stated talking again. We were thinkging that the CT was going to come back normal and Kevin would be able to go home and would have to see a specialist or something.  We were our usual joking selves but by that time, the laughter was really hard to stop.  We were both so tired, physically and emotionally and we could not stop laughing.  We were right across from the nurses’ station and the two nurses were laughing at us.  We knew that, but didn’t care.  It was all in good fun.  Then, the resident in the emergency department came in to talk to us about the results of the CT.  She told us that there was a mass found in Kevin’s brain but could not say what it was.  We were told that University Hospital has a neurology unit and Kevin would be transfered there as soon as possible. She said that the mass could be anything from a virus to a tumour and they would be able to tell us more there.

We stopped laughing.  The nurse came over to check on us and we were both crying.  She brought us a box of tissue and I can remember her exact words she said to us and the compassion on her face.  “Not the news you wanted to hear.” A bit of an understatement, but I was so grateful for her for saying anything at all.  It made it all OK that we were falling apart.  She didn’t expect us to be cheerful through that news, and that was what I was really grateful for.

Kevin kept on saying “What if it’s cancer?” and I kept on telling him “Let’s wait to find out.”  Then he said “It’s coffee and muffin day today” very quietly.  At the company he worked for at that time, they buy a bunch of muffins and brew a huge pot of coffee when a new person starts working there.  They put all of this in the new guy’s office and people come in to get a muffin and cup of coffee and greet the new guy.  That day was to be Kevin’s coffee and muffin day.  He had bought a plastic table cloth and put an extra table in his office the day before in preparation.  The funniest things are important to you when your world is turned upside down.

The nurse came back in and told us Kevin would be transfered in about 20 minutes.  I asked her if I could use a phone to call my mom so she wouldn’t try calling there for an update or to get a hold of me. I got to the patient phone and dialled my mom’s number and got her machine. It was after 6:00 at this point and I figured that they were sleeping.  I was surprised that mom didn’t answer the phone to get an update but figured that she was just that tired (I sure was). So, I left a really tearful, incoherent message telling her that they found a mass in Kevin’s brain and he was being transfered to University and I would update her when I knew more.  I hung up and went back to Kevin’s bed.

When I got back to his bed, the nurses were arranging with some paramedics to get Kevin over to University hospital.  Because he had an IV, a nurse had to go with them.  While they were discussing all of this, Kevin said to me very quietly “It’s starting again”.  I ran over to the nurse and told her Kevin said he was starting to have another seizure.  If you want to see nurses move fast, telling them someone is having a seizure is the way to do it!  They grabbed the syringe, injected his IV and asked him what he felt now.  He said that he was still having his pre-seizure aura (a word the nurse taught us earlier) and so they put more in.  When he still felt it, they put in a really big dose. The nurse told me he would not be able to stay conscious with that much in him, but they could not risk him having a seizure during transfer.  His eyes started to get heavy, but he was fighting it.  I said to him “Don’t fight it, Kev. Just go to sleep.  It’s OK.”  He still continued to fight it and told me he didn’t want to sleep and leave me alone.  I told him not to worry about me, just stop fighting it and he would see me when he woke up.  He drifted off to sleep at that point and the nurse told me that they would be moving him really soon.  I asked her how I was to get to the hospital and she gave me a taxi voucher and told me there was a direct line phone to the cab company by the doors to emerg.  They pushed Kevin’s stretcher through some doors I was not allowed to go through and I went to the phones and called my cab.

I stood outside the doors waiting for the taxi to come pick me up.  The sun was up, the sky was beautifully blue with not a cloud and there was a wonderful breeze blowing.  People were driving past the hospital on their way to work.  I couldn’t believe just how normal the day was.  All of this normal activity was going on, all of these people were doing normal things and here I was, wondering if my husband was dying.  It was a very surreal experience.

While I was waiting for my cab, I saw the nurse and paramedics put Kevin’s stretcher in the back of an ambulance and drive off.  That was hard.  Once the ambulance was out of the parking lot, the lights and sirens were turned on and Kevin was on his way to University Hospital while I was left standing there waiting for my cab.

The cab came to pick me up and off we went, across the city to University Hospital.  Being that it was rush hour, the ride took a lot longer than I would have liked.  I wanted to scream at all of the people in the morning traffic. Didn’t they know that my life was changing! How could they act so normal!  I probably should have used the time to sleep.  I was dropped off at the emergency room entrance and made my way to the administration desk.  The nurse got an orderly to take me to Kevin and he was still unconscious. It was shortly after 7:00 by this time and he would remain mainly unconscious through blood being taken on two occasions and numerous pupil tests until 12:00.  (And here is a measure of my love for Kevin.  He had a huge zit on the bridge of his nose that was begging to be squeezed but I didn’t touch it.  Even though he wouldn’t have woken up.)

I decided to call my mom again to tell her that we got to University Hospital OK and that I don’t know any more than when I called before.  She answered the phone on the first ring and told me she had been waiting for me to call. I told her that they found something in Kevin’s brain and she just said “What!”  I filled her in on all I knew and  I told her I called earlier and left a message and she said she didn’t hear the phone ring and there was no message.  So, it was a bit of a mystery.  We thought maybe the phone just went screwy or something. I saw someone going into Kevin’s bed area in emerg and told my mom I had to go.  We hung up and I went to talk to the neuro resident for the first time.

Kevin was still sleeping and she wanted to do some tests but said it could wait until he woke up.  She told me that they gave him four times the regualar dose of medication and so he’ll be out of it for a while longer.  She asked me a lot of questions about what exactly happened when he had his seizure.  Was it his whole body? What part was affected first? How long before he lost consciousness? How long did the whole thing last? What is the family history? And on and on and on.  Boy was she thorough!  She did some reflex tests, had blood drawn then looked at Kevin’s pupils.  After all of the questions and poking and prodding, she told me that she looked at the results of the CT scans.  She said it looks like a cerebral arteriovenous malformation or something else I don’t remember but it is not a cancerous growth as far as they can tell.  She said to know for sure the will do and MRI but she was 98% positive that it was not a tumour.

I waited until 9:00 to call Kevin’s parents.  I told them Kevin had three seizures in a twelve hour period and was in University Hospital and they found something in his brain.  I told them that they were pretty sure it was not a tumour.  I told them to call whoever they thought would need to or like to know and I would continue to update them as I knew more.  Then I asked him (I was talking to Kevin’s dad) to not come to the hospital.  That may seem insensitive to some, after all, it was his son who we were talking about.  But, there was only one person who was allowed back in the emergency area and everyone else had to wait in the waiting room.  I didn’t want to worry about having to “entertain” someone in the waiting room and as it was, I could see Kevin from where I was calling.  If I had to go to the waiting room to update someone, I would have to leave Kevin and I didn’t want to do that.  I got off the phone with Kevin’s dad and called my mom and told her we knew that it was most likely not cancer and that’s all we knew for sure right now.  I then asked her to call Kevin’s work and let them know what was going on.  I felt badly about askng her to to that, but I didn’t have the number and Kevin was sill sleeping .  Plus it was long distance so I didn’t want to make that call from the hospital.  I then called my work and told them I wouldn’t be in that night and that I would be in to talk to HR on Monday about when I would be back.  I had started that job in mid-July and I was worried about being fired for missing a lot of days before my three month probation was up.

After all of the phone calls were done, I went and sat with Kevin.  And I sat.  And I sat.  And I sat.  Then I walked a bit.  Then I sat some more.  The nurses in emerg came over to me and told me to go get something to eat.  They were filled in on what went on and knew that I had been at this since 4:00am.  It was about 9:00 at that point.  So they pointed me in the direction of Tim Horton’s and I bought myself something to eat and a hot chocolate and brought it back to Kevin’s bed.  Then I ate and sat and sat and sat.

At 10:00, the neuro resident came back to examine Kevin.  Seeing that he was still asleep, she told me that she was had to wake him to do some tests.  She drew more blood before waking him up and then woke him up.  It took a very long time to wake him up.  She did reflex tests, picked him lightly with a pin and asked if he could feel it, asked him to push on her hands etc. etc. etc.  He stayed awake for all of that and after she left promptly fell back to sleep.

Part three in which Kevin finally wakes up – coming soon

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The story of the beginning of Kevin’s special brain powers – Part 2

September 21, 2009

When last we left our heroes, one was inside the hospital on a stretcher and the other was having a total melt down in the parking lot.  Will Kevin be leaving the hospital today?  Will Sara pull it together and actually go in the hospital?  Let’s find out in The Story of the Beginning of Kevin’s Special Brain Powers – Part 2.

I asked my mom if she would come inside the hospital with me, just so I didn’t have to come back out and let them know that Kevin was indeed there and was not moved to another hospital or anything.  So, Paul stood by the van to keep an eye on the kids and mom and I went in.  The place was absolutely empty.  I got to the desk and the administration nurse asked me if I was here for the man brought in by ambulance.  I said yes I was and asked if he was there.  After she said that he was there, mom left to get the kids back to her house and I was taken back to where he was.  He had been there for about 30 or 40 minutes at that time.  They didn’t have the sirens going on the ambulance because there was no traffic at that time of night, but they did have the lights going so they got there fast.

I went back to sit with Kevin.  He looked OK and was no longer confused.  He knew he had a seizure and knew that the hospital was the place he needed to be so they could get to the bottom of it all.  The nurses there were absolutely incredible and kind.  We were asked all of the same questions that the paramedics asked – job, how many kids, any history of seizures, what were you doing when it happened etc.- and then came the questions that Kevin and I were to get very familiar with over the next few days.  “Do you know what day it is” (he got that one wrong but the nurse gave him a pass anyway as it was the wee hours of Friday morning and he said it was Thrusday), “What city are you in” “Do you know where you are” and the nurse left us alone for a while.  I can’t really remember what we talked about in that time, but I do remember we were laughing and joking around with each other. It is just our nature to make light and laugh when we want to cry.  The nurse assigned to Kevin came in after about 25 mintues and had some funny conversation with us for a bit… but she came with an IV for Kevin.  So with her pleasure came some pain.

Now, Kevin had never had an IV before.  Never.  He had to have one so they would be able to get some drugs in him if he started seizing again. Kevin did not like the IV experience.  Not. At. All.  They put it in his arm, not in his hand, and got it in on the first try, but it was not a pleasant experience for him.  The nurse told us that Kevin would be getting a CT soon and asked us if we needed any thing or had any questions.  I asked her how they would keep Kevin from having a seizure if he started to have one again.  She told me they would put anti-seizure medication in his IV and it just kind of shuts down the brain.  I remember us having a conversation with the nurse about seizure medications and seizures in general, but I can’t for the life of me remember what was said.  After we were done our conversation, she left us alone to do some nurse-y type stuff.

Kevin kept on pointing to his IV and saying “OW!” These were my exact words to him “Priorities, there Kev. You just had a seizure.  Let’s not focus on the IV. Mmm’kay?”  To which he would reply “Ow!” and point to the IV. (Kevin, if you’re reading this, you know I love ya! Mwah! But, um you’re a bit of a wimp.  Yeah… I think you know that, right?  You’ve had many IVs since then and it’s still always the same.)

Someone came and to get Kevin to bring him to CT after a bit.  I followed along and sat outside the waiting room while Kevin got his CT.  I was tired.  I was in bed at 1:00 and up at 4:00 with all of this. Sitting in the waiting room at CT was the first time I relaxed.  I was just leafing through a magazine and trying to keep awake.  The CT didn’t take long, however, so I didn’t get a chance to relax for long.  The orderly walked really, really fast.  She was such a nice lady and talked to us the whole way back to emerg, but she was one fast walker!  And I remember being freezing.  They kept piling Kevin up with blankets from the warmer but I was so, so cold.  And then when we were whizzing down the halls, I just started shivering.  Why are hospitals so cold?

We got back to emerg, and Kevin and I stated talking again. We were thinkging that the CT was going to come back normal and Kevin would be able to go home and would have to see a specialist or something.  We were our usual joking selves but by that time, the laughter was really hard to stop.  We were both so tired, physically and emotionally and we could not stop laughing.  We were right across from the nurses’ station and the two nurses were laughing at us.  We knew that, but didn’t care.  It was all in good fun.  Then, the resident in the emergency department came in to talk to us about the results of the CT.  She told us that there was a mass found in Kevin’s brain but could not say what it was.  We were told that University Hospital has a neurology unit and Kevin would be transfered there as soon as possible. She said that the mass could be anything from a virus to a tumour and they would be able to tell us more there.

We stopped laughing.  The nurse came over to check on us and we were both crying.  She brought us a box of tissue and I can remember her exact words she said to us and the compassion on her face.  “Not the news you wanted to hear.” A bit of an understatement, but I was so grateful for her for saying anything at all.  It made it all OK that we were falling apart.  She didn’t expect us to be cheerful through that news, and that was what I was really grateful for.

Kevin kept on saying “What if it’s cancer?” and I kept on telling him “Let’s wait to find out.”  Then he said “It’s coffee and muffin day today” very quietly.  At the company he worked for at that time, they buy a bunch of muffins and brew a huge pot of coffee when a new person starts working there.  They put all of this in the new guy’s office and people come in to get a muffin and cup of coffee and greet the new guy.  That day was to be Kevin’s coffee and muffin day.  He had bought a plastic table cloth and put an extra table in his office the day before in preparation.  The funniest things are important to you when your world is turned upside down.

The nurse came back in and told us Kevin would be transfered in about 20 minutes.  I asked her if I could use a phone to call my mom so she wouldn’t try calling there for an update or to get a hold of me. I got to the patient phone and dialled my mom’s number and got her machine. It was after 6:00 at this point and I figured that they were sleeping.  I was surprised that mom didn’t answer the phone to get an update but figured that she was just that tired (I sure was). So, I left a really tearful, incoherent message telling her that they found a mass in Kevin’s brain and he was being transfered to University and I would update her when I knew more.  I hung up and went back to Kevin’s bed.

When I got back to his bed, the nurses were arranging with some paramedics to get Kevin over to University hospital.  Because he had an IV, a nurse had to go with them.  While they were discussing all of this, Kevin said to me very quietly “It’s starting again”.  I ran over to the nurse and told her Kevin said he was starting to have another seizure.  If you want to see nurses move fast, telling them someone is having a seizure is the way to do it!  They grabbed the syringe, injected his IV and asked him what he felt now.  He said that he was still having his pre-seizure aura (a word the nurse taught us earlier) and so they put more in.  When he still felt it, they put in a really big dose. The nurse told me he would not be able to stay conscious with that much in him, but they could not risk him having a seizure during transfer.  His eyes started to get heavy, but he was fighting it.  I said to him “Don’t fight it, Kev. Just go to sleep.  It’s OK.”  He still continued to fight it and told me he didn’t want to sleep and leave me alone.  I told him not to worry about me, just stop fighting it and he would see me when he woke up.  He drifted off to sleep at that point and the nurse told me that they would be moving him really soon.  I asked her how I was to get to the hospital and she gave me a taxi voucher and told me there was a direct line phone to the cab company by the doors to emerg.  They pushed Kevin’s stretcher through some doors I was not allowed to go through and I went to the phones and called my cab.

I stood outside the doors waiting for the taxi to come pick me up.  The sun was up, the sky was beautifully blue with not a cloud and there was a wonderful breeze blowing.  People were driving past the hospital on their way to work.  I couldn’t believe just how normal the day was.  All of this normal activity was going on, all of these people were doing normal things and here I was, wondering if my husband was dying.  It was a very surreal experience.

While I was waiting for my cab, I saw the nurse and paramedics put Kevin’s stretcher in the back of an ambulance and drive off.  That was hard.  Once the ambulance was out of the parking lot, the lights and sirens were turned on and Kevin was on his way to University Hospital while I was left standing there waiting for my cab.

The cab came to pick me up and off we went, across the city to University Hospital.  Being that it was rush hour, the ride took a lot longer than I would have liked.  I wanted to scream at all of the people in the morning traffic. Didn’t they know that my life was changing! How could they act so normal!  I probably should have used the time to sleep.  I was dropped off at the emergency room entrance and made my way to the administration desk.  The nurse got an orderly to take me to Kevin and he was still unconscious. It was shortly after 7:00 by this time and he would remain mainly unconscious through blood being taken on two occasions and numerous pupil tests until 12:00.  (And here is a measure of my love for Kevin.  He had a huge zit on the bridge of his nose that was begging to be squeezed but I didn’t touch it.  Even though he wouldn’t have woken up.)

I decided to call my mom again to tell her that we got to University Hospital OK and that I don’t know any more than when I called before.  She answered the phone on the first ring and told me she had been waiting for me to call. I told her that they found something in Kevin’s brain and she just said “What!”  I filled her in on all I knew and  I told her I called earlier and left a message and she said she didn’t hear the phone ring and there was no message.  So, it was a bit of a mystery.  We thought maybe the phone just went screwy or something. I saw someone going into Kevin’s bed area in emerg and told my mom I had to go.  We hung up and I went to talk to the neuro resident for the first time.

Kevin was still sleeping and she wanted to do some tests but said it could wait until he woke up.  She told me that they gave him four times the regualar dose of medication and so he’ll be out of it for a while longer.  She asked me a lot of questions about what exactly happened when he had his seizure.  Was it his whole body? What part was affected first? How long before he lost consciousness? How long did the whole thing last? What is the family history? And on and on and on.  Boy was she thorough!  She did some reflex tests, had blood drawn then looked at Kevin’s pupils.  After all of the questions and poking and prodding, she told me that she looked at the results of the CT scans.  She said it looks like a cerebral arteriovenous malformation or something else I don’t remember but it is not a cancerous growth as far as they can tell.  She said to know for sure the will do and MRI but she was 98% positive that it was not a tumour.

I waited until 9:00 to call Kevin’s parents.  I told them Kevin had three seizures in a twelve hour period and was in University Hospital and they found something in his brain.  I told them that they were pretty sure it was not a tumour.  I told them to call whoever they thought would need to or like to know and I would continue to update them as I knew more.  Then I asked him (I was talking to Kevin’s dad) to not come to the hospital.  That may seem insensitive to some, after all, it was his son who we were talking about.  But, there was only one person who was allowed back in the emergency area and everyone else had to wait in the waiting room.  I didn’t want to worry about having to “entertain” someone in the waiting room and as it was, I could see Kevin from where I was calling.  If I had to go to the waiting room to update someone, I would have to leave Kevin and I didn’t want to do that.  I got off the phone with Kevin’s dad and called my mom and told her we knew that it was most likely not cancer and that’s all we knew for sure right now.  I then asked her to call Kevin’s work and let them know what was going on.  I felt badly about askng her to to that, but I didn’t have the number and Kevin was sill sleeping .  Plus it was long distance so I didn’t want to make that call from the hospital.  I then called my work and told them I wouldn’t be in that night and that I would be in to talk to HR on Monday about when I would be back.  I had started that job in mid-July and I was worried about being fired for missing a lot of days before my three month probation was up.

After all of the phone calls were done, I went and sat with Kevin.  And I sat.  And I sat.  And I sat.  Then I walked a bit.  Then I sat some more.  The nurses in emerg came over to me and told me to go get something to eat.  They were filled in on what went on and knew that I had been at this since 4:00am.  It was about 9:00 at that point.  So they pointed me in the direction of Tim Horton’s and I bought myself something to eat and a hot chocolate and brought it back to Kevin’s bed.  Then I ate and sat and sat and sat.

At 10:00, the neuro resident came back to examine Kevin.  Seeing that he was still asleep, she told me that she was had to wake him to do some tests.  She drew more blood before waking him up and then woke him up.  It took a very long time to wake him up.  She did reflex tests, picked him lightly with a pin and asked if he could feel it, asked him to push on her hands etc. etc. etc.  He stayed awake for all of that and after she left promptly fell back to sleep.

Part three in which Kevin finally wakes up – coming soon

The story of the beginning of Kevin’s special brain powers – Part 1

September 20, 2009

Two years ago at the beginning of September, my family’s lives changed forever.

I was working nights at Sparton Electronics (yes, I spelled Sparton right) and called Kevin at my supper break at 9:00 as I normally did. He told me he had fallen asleep and had a strange dream that he was lying on the floor and not able to get up. In his dream, he tried to yell for Lilly to call my mom but couldn’t get the words out. He told me that before his dream, he had a weird feeling in his arm and leg. He told me he didn’t know he even fell asleep and the next thing he knew he was in the bathroom. I told him to just get some rest if he wasn’t feeling well and I would call at my next break at 11:30. I told him if he was sleeping to not bother getting up to get the phone.

I got home at 2:00am and read for a bit to get some down time. Then I crawled into bed with Kevin, Rosemary and Victoria. Kevin woke for a bit and said he was feeling strange still, I told him to get some sleep. To tell the truth, I was kind of annoyed with Kevin right then. I can’t really explain why, just a feeling of frustration that he can’t even take care of his own issues and had to foist them on me. I was tired, it was past 2:00am, I was just getting off my shift, I was irrational. I drifted off to sleep.

At around 4:00, I woke up because the bed was shaking. I nudged Kevin and told him he was kicking in his sleep. He responded that he wasn’t doing it on purpose and that this had happened before he had his strange dream. I have to admit that even at that point, I was annoyed with him. I told him to stop it. Then his arm left arm started shaking. He grabbed his left wrist with his right hand and tried to stop the shaking and told me he was trying to make it stop.

Then, he lost consciousness.

As he fell back on his pillow, his left arm went straight out to his side and continued convulsing, all the while hitting poor Victoria in the head. I scooted her out of the way and then called 911. They told me it sounded like he was having a seizure and an ambulance was on the way. They asked me if he had ever had a seizure before, and I told them no. They told me to make sure he was breathing OK. I said he was making strange noises and how do I know he’s breathing OK. They asked me what did the noises sound like. I told them like gurgling, choking kind of noises. They asked if he was choking on his tongue and I said “How the hell should I know! He’s never had a seizure before!” Then the shaking began to lessen and so I told them I think he’s stopping and hung up on them. That is when the adrenalin really kicked in.

I have had many people say to me that they would have lost their head if that happened to them, and they wouldn’t know what to do. They give me compliments and praise me that I was able to remain so level headed while all that was going on.* I let them go on about how great I am, all the while thinking in my head “if you only knew…”

I got off the phone with 911 and Kevin stopped shaking. His seizure lasted two to three minutes, with him being unconscious for a good chunk of those minutes. When he stopped shaking, I sat down on the edge of the bed and started talking to him. I told him he had a seizure and that I called 911 and an ambulance was on the way. He just kept on looking at me and not saying anything. Kevin was catatonic and kept on tapping me on the leg and then tapping himself on his head. Kind of like this tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on my leg then tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on his head. Over and over and over. I talked to him but he couldn’t talk in his catatonic state. I said “Are you OK?” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “Kevin, are you OK?” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “Kevin, please be OK…” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. I told him that I was going to move Victoria and Rosemary out of the bed and I would be right back. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. I moved the two girls into their own beds.

I ran back and sat down by Kevin again. Then I thought “Oh crap! I better go unlock the door for the paramedics!” So I told Kevin I was going to unlock the door and that I would be right back. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. I ran down the stairs and unlocked the door. You see, I didn’t want the doorbell to wake the kids. Yup, that was my thought process. My brain was just going a mile a minute at this point. Then I thought “I better call my mom. She’s going to have to take the kids tonight!” So I ran into the kitchen and picked up the phone and started dialing. Then I thought “Geeze Sara! What the hell are you doing! You need to go make sure Kevin’s OK!”

So I ran back up the stairs and sat back down on the bed. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “You had a seizure Kevin, I called an ambulance.” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “Do you understand?” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “I don’t understand what you are trying to tell me.” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “Kevin, can you understand me?” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. “Are you OK? Does your head hurt? I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me.” Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. Right then, I was more worried than I had ever been before in my life. I didn’t know if he would ever recover, if he would ever talk again, if he could understand me, what he was trying to tell me. So, I decided to ask him to wave his hand in front of my face if he understood what I told him. He waved his hand in front of my face and then tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head. I was relieved. I said to him “I am going to go downstairs and check for the paramedics. Wave your hand in front of my face if it’s OK if I leave you for a couple of seconds.” He waved his hand in front of my face and then tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on leg, tap-tap-tap-tap-tap on head.

I ran back downstairs and went outside, no ambulance. Then I thought “I better get the girls shoes and coats ready to go!” and started to gather their things. Then I stopped myself and said “No! Call mom! She’ll need to meet me at the hospital!” and ran into the kitchen to call my mom. I got to the phone and stopped myself again and ran back up the stairs and into our room to be with Kevin.

When I got in the room, Kevin was trying to sit up. I ran over to the bed and gently pushed him back down. I told him that he needed to wait until the ambulance got there before he got up. He was able to talk at that point and told me he had to go to the bathroom. I told him to lay back down until the ambulance got there. He snapped at me and said “I’m not going to the washroom in the bed!” Those were his exact words. I was worried for two reasons. One – Kevin never snaps at me. Never. Two – His wording was a little strange. I would have expected something like “I’m not going to pee in the bed” or something. I was so shocked and worried, but I helped him get out of bed. He could barely walk. I helped him into the bathroom and told him he had to sit down to go pee. He refused. I made him. He could barely stand and I was afraid that he was going to fall over just trying to pee. I didn’t want him to bang his head on the toilet, counter or bathtub so I told him if he needs to pee, he can sit down to do it. I helped him with his pants because he couldn’t even pull down pyjama pants on his own and helped him to sit down. That’s when the doorbell rang.

I ran downstairs and let in the paramedics. I told them what had happened and that Kevin was in the bathroom sitting on the toilet. Now, see all of that that happened above, from when I called 911 to when the paramedics arrived? All of that was in the span of less than five minutes. We lived really close to the station at that time that I’m pretty sure all of that transpired in under three minutes. I know that they strive for less than four minutes between a call and the ambulance arriving. Now, does any of that sound level headed? No, the only level headed thing I did that night was to call the ambulance. The rest of it was just the adrenalin telling me that I needed to be doing something, then something else and keeping me distracted from what I should have been doing – staying with Kevin. Not that I blame me, but it’s not the picture of calm that, for some reason, most people think I had that night and I can’t convince them otherwise.

When I let the paramedics in, I was ready to collapse. I was so ready to just turn the whole thing over to them because I was in way over my head. One went up the stairs while the other talked to me. I filled him in on what happened and that Kevin had no prior history of seizures and then we joined his partner and Kevin upstairs in the bathroom. The paramedic who was with Kevin was asking him a few questions. I must say right here how much I admire paramedics. When he was done asking Kevin his questions he said to Kevin “I’m going to let you finish up in the bathroom, and wait just out here for you. I’m going to close this door and your wife will help you. Don’t forget to wash up after you’re done.” Why do I admire him for that? Well, he basically told Kevin how it was going to go, what was going to happen and left no room for argument. But, he did it in a way that was commanding but so kind. I asked my paramedic brother just how you learn to talk like that and he told me it just goes with the job. (The reason he reminded Kevin to wash up is because people just coming out of a catatonic state aren’t quite able to remember these things on their own.)

So I helped Kevin finish up his business in the bathroom. All the while he kept asking my why the paramedics were there. I kept telling him he had a seizure and needed to go to the hospital. He kept on insisting he was fine.

One of the paramedics asked me to go downstairs to answer a few more questions for him while the other helped Kevin down the stairs. I’m glad that they got there before I attempted to take him down the stairs because both of us would have taken a tumble if I attempted it. Kevin could barely walk, but he was able to go down the stairs slowly, all the while the paramedic went backward down the stairs in front of Kevin with his hand on Kevin’s chest to keep him from falling. I never would have thought of that, and that’s why these things are best left to the professionals, kids.

While one paramedic helped Kevin, the other asked me some more questions. Just basic ones – what did he do today, what is his job, how many kids do we have, to what hospital did I them to take him, was I bringing my kids or did I have someone to watch them, did I want him to call the police to sit at my house until a sitter got there. Those are the only ones I remember. I answered all of them, told them to take Kevin to Victoria hospital because it’s close to my mom’s house and my mom can meet me and the kids there and take them over to her house. Just let me call her first. While all that was going on, Kevin and paramedic number two made it down the stairs and paramedic number two sat Kevin on the couch. He and his partner discussed a few things.

While they were talking, I called my mom. I told her Kevin had a seizure and that he was going to Victoria hospital. I was babbling and not really talking straight and she said “Tell me what you want me to do.”  I told her that she and Paul (my step-dad) need to drive to Victoria Hospital and wait for us there and then one of them will drive the van back to her house. I told her that she would need to come back sometime to get clothes etc. for the kids because I wasn’t going to have time to pack anything and not to bother taking the kids to school the next day. She said OK and we hung up.

By the time I got off the phone, the paramedics had a stretcher outside waiting for Kevin. Kevin was still sitting on the couch and was looking at me. I recognized the look he was giving me. He didn’t think he needed to go to the hospital but was going to humour me and go along with it. They helped him up on the stretcher and strapped him in. They told me that they would be heading to Victoria Hospital and Kevin would be waiting there for me. While they were loading Kevin into the ambulance, I went upstairs to get the girls. I did not want to see them drive away with Kevin.

I woke the girls up and told them that daddy was going to the hospital in an ambulance. Paramedics, like Uncle Mark, took him and I was going to meet him there and g’ma was going to take them back to her house. Madeleine told me all of the noise woke her up and she heard something happening. I’m very glad she didn’t go downstairs to see Kevin on the stretcher or anything. I marched the kids down the stairs and as I was helping them with their shoes and coats, the phone rang. I ran to answer it and it was mom asking me if I wanted her to just come to my house. I told her that the kids were pretty much ready and I didn’t want to wait that long to get to the hospital, so no please just meet me there. She said OK and we hung up.

I got the kids all out in the van and we drove to the hospital. It’s interesting driving in that time of night. There’s no one out at all. There’s an eerie sense of peace and quiet.  During the drive, I kept on thinking “I guess things were going too well for us.”

I got to the hospital and met my mom. Up until that point, I didn’t shed a single tear. I was teary, but I kept it together. My mom asked me what happened and I told her everything that I knew and then I said “Things were going so well” and broke down. My mom, who knows that nothing goes well for us without something bad happening after, gave me a big hug and said “I know”. You see, two weeks prior to that night, Kevin got a new, really good, job for a really good company. I had started working again after being at home with my kids for eight years and life was good. We had benefits again after two years of having none, so we could take the kids to the dentist (oh the silly things that excite us moms). We were digging ourselves out of some financial trouble, we had money to do fun things now, the stress level in our house was at the lowest it had been in a long time. We were just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It didn’t just drop, it kicked us in the ass.

Part 2 coming soon

* In the two years since all of this began for us, I have discovered that it’s better to let people do their gushing without trying to tell them that I am only human and they would have done the same thing in my position. At first, I tried to tell all of the “I could never handle it as well as you!” people that yes they could. When you are offered the choice to keep it together or to let it all fall apart, you really have no choice. You have to keep it together. Humans are amazing creatures and are incredibly adaptable. I used to try telling people that I am no different than anyone else, but everyone always protests and tells me that I am stronger than they are. Now, I just sit silently when people tell me these things because it’s just not worth the argument.