Matthew’s first visit with the Pediatric Neurologist

I was prepaing myself for our visit with the Pediatric neurologist at Schneider’s Childrens’ Hospital and wanted to make sure I spoke about all my concerns about Matthew’s recent seizure which was his first and actually was not witnessed. My mother-in-law happened to find him aleady fallen from our bed lying in a box to the side which was there from our recent move. I could only imagine what was going through her mind when she first saw him. When she described what she saw I could tell how scared and frightened she was. He had lost color in his face and was not breathing. She immediately picked him up and cradled him and gently lied him on the floor pumping his chest until she got him to start breathing. She literally saved his life and was fortunate to get to him just in time. She explained that she was in the kitchen cooking and wondered why there was such quiet in our room. She said Matthew is usually very active and always playing so she decided to walk down the hallway to check up on him and to her horror she saw him in that apparent lifeless condition. Upon reviving him she ran to the owner’s side of the house and knocked on his door which leads to his living room. He is an elderly gentleman and he stayed to help out as best he could until family arrived. My mother-in-law had called me at work and immediately I then sought help from family and friends. I told her to always call 911 when an emergency such as this occurs and my wife and I hugged her for coming to his aid when she was so traumatized. I know how much she loves Matthew and I saw her face so red from all the tears she cried that very night. She was his guardian angel and we were so very grateful to her. I asked her to come with us to explain what she witnessed and I wanted to discuss the incident as best I could so the doctor would have a clearer picture and determine if he did indeed have a seizure which my sister felt he had immediately when she saw him.

When we arrived at the hospital, Matthew was his typical self and he was clutching his teddy bear which he seems to like to bring with him when we go places. He was doing well considering having the apparent seizure and we didn’t really notice anything different about him. I still was very concerned because we were not sure what to make of it and he is already affected by autism. I was wondering if there was a relationship between autism and seizures since the brain or neurological system seems to be connected with behaviors commonly associated with autism and also with the missed signals to the brain that can trigger a seizure. I really needed to discuss this with a professional as it was worrying me to no end knowing our precious little boy was having to deal with all these obstacles. I just had this terribly sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and I wanted to scream as I felt so helpless.

As we waited and had completed all the paperwork I was thinking about how I would lead in with the doctor and then we heard our son’s name called out by the doctor’s assistant. We immediately walked over to her with Matthew and heard her quietly say “Follow me”. We were led to a small office down the hall where there were nurses stationed around and we were asked to wait. Within a couple of minutes a nurse came in to introduce herself and ask us how old our son is and then proceeded to weigh and measure him. She asked when he had the seizure and we told her a few nights ago and mentioned that no one actually saw it as it happened. She mentioned that seizures can be scary but if all the right precautions are taken and medication administered then they can be controlled a lot better. She said the doctor would be in to see us shortly and she managed to get a smile from Matthew. We felt more at ease after talking with the nurse.

We were happy to see the doctor as he introduced himself and immediately faced Matthew and said so “How are you doing little guy?” “I see you brought a little friend with you!” We told him that Matthew is autistic and apparently suffered a seizure. The doctor told us most likely it was a seizure and that he should go on medication to help control it. He mentioned that if someone has 2 or more seizures then generally they are diagnosed as epileptic and would have to be administered medication daily. He told us the medication usually prescribed and indicated that most young kids and babies are given the same medicine known as depacote. He also felt we should schedule an appointment with the hospital to have him monitored through the night if he has another seizure but did not feel it was necessary at this point. He discussed the relationship between autism and seizures and did indicate that many children on the autistic spectrum do also have seizures so he was able to answer one of my questions immediately. We told him that we were concerned and asked him what we would need to do once we start him on this medication. He was very informative and seemed to have many children as patients. He said that the child would have to start on the medicine at the recommended dosage and stay on it consistently and then the dosage would be increased over time as the child experiences body growth. They have to be monitored closely and their blood levels have to be checked regularly. He advised that we start him on depacote and if he experiences another seizure then we would bring him to emergency and then they would have to schedule the video monitoring. He also suggested that an MRI would also be requested. This seemed a bit to much to take in but we realized the severity of the situation and were in agreement. The doctor assured us that our son will be fine and we would just have to monitor him more closely. We were grateful to see him and the nurse and felt we would certainly be back.

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