Sunday, August 5, 2012

GBE 2 Challenge : Unexpected

Less than a year ago, on a crisp autumn evening, our older son suffered a seizure in our driveway.

That was unexpected.

Prior to that night, he had experienced absence seizures, where he would go into a trance-like state for a few seconds; however, this time was different. It was so very different.

Holding my child while he was convulsing and foaming at the mouth, yes, at least at first, it was unexpected. While I thought that day would eventually come--given the close relationship between autism and seizures--how could I have ever been prepared for that first realization that this was truly happening?

"In an ambulance," I remember texting to my father so that my parents would know.

I can only imagine how unexpected that message was to him. And, what an unexpected turn in our relationship this event had caused.

My husband was situating our younger son with his parents and joining me later at the hospital. Until then, it was just me with our big guy there, in the ambulance and later in a cold corner in the hospital. I didn't expect to ever be in that situation.

Then again, life with special needs is about expecting the unexpected. Knowing that the other shoe can and likely will drop at any time.

The meltdown in the grocery store.

The onset of pain.

The toileting accident in the Halloween costume.

The fit of rage.

The seizure in the driveway.

It's just a known element in the equation that is this life, but I'll admit that it didn't come easily to me. In the early days, I became neurotic about trying to prevent the unexpected, packing bags for our outings that contained everything imaginable to combat the "what ifs".

Extra clothes.

Extra food.

Fidget toys.

Ear plugs to block offensive sound.

Chew tubes for sensory needs.

Medicines, medicines and more medicines.

Despite these efforts, something still managed to happen. And, the next time we ventured out, I would add more things. And more things. And more. I was on the path to insanity until I eventually gave up trying to predict the unpredictable.

Bruised and humbled by the battles, I moved forward without my daily armor. Special needs could throw its arrows wherever it decided. It was out of my control.

This life was out of my control.

A few months after our older son's seizure, I received a phone call from our younger son's school counselor. Those were the days before school phobia, the days when he actually attended school.

"I just wanted to tell you that a student had a seizure at school today," she said. "We gathered nearby children into another classroom to discuss the event so that they could begin to process it."

I held my breath and was taken back to that night one year ago when our older son had his seizure. Our younger son was shuffled around in the chaos of that night. Normally, his day would have been coming to a quiet end. Instead, he was at his grandparents' house into the night making "Get Well" cards for his brother.

Where did little brother fit in the crazy, unexpected life that is lived with his big brother?

"Your son shared with the group that his brother had suffered a seizure," the counselor continued, "and that he's fine now. The students seemed comforted by knowing this."

Unexpectedly, I felt thankful for that night in our driveway when our older son had a seizure. We've walked a long and complicated road, this little family of ours. Hearing this news of our younger son somehow gave this portion of our journey some purpose.

It was the rainbow within the storm; an unexpected positive from an unexpected negative event in our lives. And, in that moment, all that we had experienced had unexpectedly found its place.

This post was written in response to a word prompt written by The Group Blogging Experience 2 (GBE2).


  1. Wow...great post Amy! I was right there with you. Ri started having seizures when he hit puberty. He has complex partial seizures and they have been controlled with meds (tegretol) so has never had a grand mal...yet.

    Absolutely melted reading how your younger son made his peers feel more comfortable.

    Our lives are definitely anything but predictable that's for sure. BTW...I think you have such great attitude! :D


    1. I'm sorry to hear that you and he are dealing with this. It's not fair for them and simply stinks.

      I suspect this will be our path as well. Our son is 11, and he was just starting to experience the first signs of hormone shifting as this started. We're in the hold our breath stage--isn't everyone with absolutely everything?

      Thanks for reading and supporting!

  2. very touching heartwarming post! well done!

  3. Very touching. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. I hate that T has to deal with the seizure issue as well as all his other bodily pains, bless his sweet little heart. Again, I am so touched with W's big heart and his desire to soothe others. What a wonderful little man is he. Must be the great parenting!

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