When I crawled into bed last night I said to my husband, “I hope Calvin wakes up in the morning.” Something in my gut just didn’t feel right, so I turned up the volume on the baby monitor that sits on my bedside table. Then at 2:30 this morning Calvin had a seizure. At between two and three minutes long it was pretty typical of the kind he has been having for nearly three years. First he lets out a cry and then he starts convulsing. We turn him on his side to prevent aspiration. About 45 seconds pass when he begins a rhythmic, constricted breathing that sounds as if he is choking. After another 45 seconds a terrified expression appears on his face as he stiffens and trembles, and it is at this point that I know the seizure is coming to an end.
As soon as it stops we bring him into bed with us for the rest of the night where he often has what we call aftershocks – intermittent bouts of short tremors – for the next few hours. Just four months ago it was not uncommon for Calvin to have two or three of these grand mal seizures in a night several times each month, but things have improved of late, at least for now.
Paradoxically, the recent improvement coincided with weaning Calvin off of one of his older seizure meds. I had been dubious about the drug for years, noting that as his dose climbed we observed zero improved efficacy coupled with increased apathy and lethargy. Moreover, Calvin did not suffer this kind of frequent grand mal seizure until he reached higher levels of the drug. So I questioned, then campaigned to get him off of it.
Always trust your gut.