Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Am Rylan's Mom

Wow. I don't even know how to begin this blog. It will probably be rambly and long and sentimental so y'all have been warned.

For those of you who don't know, my Boog has been very sick. Last Friday, he started having seizures with vomiting around 4:30 p.m. and he just didn't stop. He had 10 seizures in 24 hours (the most he'd ever had in 24 hours before this was 3) and he couldn't hold anything down which, apart from the obvious risk of dehydration, was a major problem because we couldn't keep his anti-seizure meds in him. We hit the maximum daily dose of his emergency meds and then he had two more seizures in half an hour, so we knew it was time to go to the ER.

Note: If you ever want to feel like a VIP, rush into the ER holding a seizing kid. Folks in scrubs were coming out of the woodwork to pay attention to us, haha.

I felt much calmer once we got to the hospital. He had a long seizure in the car on the way there and he stopped breathing and his face began turning blue. I was crying and begging with him to come back and to breathe. It was terrible, just indescribably gut-wrenchingly awful.

He was running a fever that day which probably made the seizures worse. The ER ran a bunch of tests while they were working on getting him admitted and they got some fluids and Zofran in him and he finally stopped throwing up. A chest X-ray revealed he had pneumonia, or so they told me at the time. It turns out that it was a very small spot and the radiologists were arguing over it. One said it was pneumonia and one said it wasn't. Regardless, they began treating him with antibiotics and his fever did disappear after that, so maybe he did have pneumonia. Anyway...

He got a mega-dose of anti-seizure meds via IV on Saturday night and the seizures finally slowed down. We saw the neurologist on Sunday morning who was just going to release us and increase his meds. Um. No. I asked him to at least run an EEG, which he agreed to, and thank goodness he did. The EEG revealed major dysfunction in the electrical activity in the left side of Ry's brain. We had noticed during these seizures that the right side of his body was jerking and twitching and the left side wasn't and then after the seizures, his right side was very weak, and these symptoms fell in line with what the neurologist saw on the EEG. He was concerned and said, "Okay, we need to run an MRI and get a lumbar puncture."

Only...since he got that g-d controversial pneumonia diagnosis, Anesthesia wouldn't agree to put him under for the tests for 3 weeks so we couldn't get the tests done then. His lungs were clear and his fever was gone, so it's a total CYA thing. Annoying.

We got released Monday night and only as we were walking out the door did I notice the motor problems. Ry was having trouble balancing and his gait was off. His right knee was buckling slightly and his left foot turning in. After watching him for awhile, I realized his head was shaking slightly and his right side grip was weak. All courtesy of this hellish bout of seizures and whatever the heck is causing them.

On Tuesday afternoon I was alone with the kiddos and Ry was eating lunch. I left the room to put a toy away and I heard Pippa scream, "RyRy!" and ran in just in time to see Ry seizing and falling out of his chair. I couldn't get to him in time and he landed on his head. I settled him on his side and ran for his emergency meds. Once I administered those, it occurred to me that he had been eating and he could be choking while he was seizing if he hadn't swallowed before the seizure started. I tried to finger-sweep his mouth, but I couldn't get past his clenched teeth, so I sat him up and started doing the Heimlich maneuver. I did it several times while poor Pippa cried and asked, "RyRy? RyRy sick?". The seizure lasted five minutes which is the longest he's ever seized before. Definitely my worst and scariest moment as a parent so far. I wanted to run to the phone and call 9-1-1, but I didn't want to leave my boy. The seizure finally subsided and he started breathing normally, so it was obvious he wasn't choking, thank God.

I called the neurologist and spoke with his nurse who spoke to him. He couldn't even be bothered to get on the phone with me. That kind of rankled given what we'd just gone through, but I know this stuff is commonplace to him. He added a third medication to Ry's regimen and scheduled him an appointment for Friday and said if we had to use the Diastat again or Ry showed signs of concussion from the fall to go back to the hospital. The nurse then said, "Honey, I don't agree with Dr. G. If you don't feel comfortable, you take that baby to the hospital."

I decided to wait and see how he did over the next few hours, though. Surprisingly, after the major dose of elephant tranquilizer, he woke up after only 30 minutes and got up and began playing as normal. Usually he sleeps for at least 2 or 3 hours after a seizure. He still had the tremors and slight right-sided weakness he had before the seizure but nothing seemed worse, so that was encouraging.

Then, yesterday afternoon he started running a fever. It was a low fever, only 100.0 under the arm, but the pediatrician said to bring him in considering all he'd been through over the past week. They ran every test under the sun and everything came back negative. His lungs sounded clear, but his throat was red, so they figured he probably picked up a little virus at the hospital (irony, haha?).

And that brings us to today. He's home with me and he's playing and eating and sleeping and I'm happy. But he's also changed. He has tremors and sometimes he has trouble walking. His balance is worse than ever and he keeps trying to do things he used to be able to do like climb up on the end table (I know, parent of the year award, but it makes him so happy. We call it his "standin' table") and he can't and then he cries. He's extra-cuddly (and this is a kid who didn't want anyone touching the front of his body up until this week) and clingy and wants me to carry him around the house (which I am very, very happy to do regardless of the fact he weighs 34 lbs.). He's licking blankets and pillows and upholstery and rubbing his face against them. He's sleeping a lot.

We have no idea right now if these changes are permanent or temporary or what's causing them. I know that I want those tests like yesterday and I don't want him on 3 medications, so we'll be talking to the neurologist about that at our appointment tomorrow. We're looking in to special diets for kids with autism and epilepsy that can help control the symptoms. I've coordinated with the school nurse and Ry's teacher to keep him away from sick kids at school since Ry could have a serious seizure event like this any time he runs a fever now (he doesn't have febrile seizures, per se, he has epilepsy, but fevers can make it worse). I've coordinated with Ry's therapists to work on the new motor problems and to keep him away from sick kids at therapy and to change his schedule so he has a day off during the week because the neurologist thinks his brain may be getting overtired from working so hard at school and therapy 5 days a week since he almost always starts a seizure cycle on Friday afternoons or Saturday mornings if he's going to have one. I spent all day yesterday sanitizing every single toy and book and surface in Pippa's room (AKA the playroom) and I'll spend the rest of today doing the same in Ry's room and the other rooms of the house if I can get to them.

I used to think being a parent was lame. Even after I had Ry, I would make apologies for any "mom" behavior I exhibited in front of friends. I cried for a week when I had to quit my job because of Ry's special needs. I never wanted to be "just" a stay-at-home mom. I saw that as giving up, as settling, as becoming average and boring and out-of-touch. I was ashamed of not using my B.A. and ashamed of not going to grad school like I'd planned and ashamed of saying to people when they asked what I do, "Oh, nothing."

Can I just say I don't care about any of that shit anymore. I am Rylan's mom. Period. And he makes me proud to say that and just that. I was born to take care of this child, to be his advocate and his voice and his protector and the person who carries all 34 lbs. of him around the house all day because he wants his mommy. I can't think of anything more noble and worthwhile than this.

Boog in his EEG cap AKA Mummy Superhero 3000 hat at the hospital this weekend


  1. you're making me cry.

    you're the best mom rylan could have.

  2. Keep up the strength Megan! You guys will make it through all these tough challenges! Ry and Pippa are awesome kids and you two are fantabulous parents! Freckles and I sent lots of love and healing thoughts your way! :-)

  3. There is no doubt in my mind that God picked Rylan for you and Dylan and Pippa. So many prayers.

  4. aw Megan, you made me cry to. Being Ry's mom is an amazing thing to be - keep up the awesome work :)
    Sara v (from IV)

  5. You are my hero lady. I don't know how you handle it all but you do it with such optimism. That Ry is a lucky lucky boy to have you in his corner!

  6. Oh Meg... I am sobbing...just sobbing for you. Sweet boy, I hope he is feeling a little better now. You are doing an awesome job. Your strength is amazing, and I can only hope to have as much as you one day. Thinking of you guys, praying, positive thoughts...and general fist shaking at the universe!! XOXO (Shannon Shurtleff on PoCA)

  7. Can I just say what an amazing little girl you have? I don't think Gabrielle would notice at all if Aisling suddenly fell off her chair and had a seizure. She's is going to be a great look out for her big brother and his well being! Really hoping that the rest of your wait for testing is very uneventful and everyone stays healthy!!

  8. Megan,
    I love how you write. I love your passion for your children. I stopped going to school and never finished my college education when I got pregnant with my first child. I used to beat myself up for that. However one day I realized I was in the most important role of my life and that was to be the best mommy I could be to my 2 beautiful daughters. (They are both in college) and that makes me proud. I don't regret one moment I got to be home with them and I often wish for those days back. We sacrificed a lot. I didn't have a lot of new clothes or fancy things because I always made sure my girls had what they needed. (Another choice I don't regret.) Our Children our gifts from God and what a honor it is to raise them. Your words brought tears to my eyes not only because of your honesty and spunk but because in someways I have been in your shoes. My youngest daughter has epilepsy. She has seizures and for some reason it took many doctors and neurologist to get her diagnosis so she could get the medication she needed. (That is a long story in itself.) Megan I know you don't remember me from The Prescott days but I remember you and I am very fond of your mother who was always very kind to me. You and your family will remain in my prayers. Sincerely, Nancy Stryker

  9. Praying so hard for Rylan that the worst has passed, and that the docs can give good solid answers soon and help stop this from happening to him ever again. BIG (((HUGS)))!! I wish I could make this all better for you! So, so sorry this is happening to him!!

  10. So touching. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Many prayers for Ry's well being.

  11. Meg,

    YOU are an AMAZING person. And an AMAZING Mom. Having worked with and loved several children with autism in my time as a reading comprehension teacher/specialist, I've seen parents make so many sacrifices, whether physical, mental, or financial...and you know what? Every second that made their childrens' lives better made them better. Ry and Pippa are your world, but so is Dylan. Your writing speaks volumes about the type of person that you are and you have a lot of passion in your life. I know that you have so many people who support you on the interwebs, and I am sure you have just as many in the real world. When you're a mom, mom-behavior happens. Be proud and wear it with a badge of honor.

  12. Oh my goodness, Meg! I am so sorry to hear this! How scary and awful. You are an AMAZING mom. You're right. YOU were born to be the Boog's mom. You are strong and brave and badass. I'm out of words and I hope Ry starts getting better RIGHT NOW. All my healing vibes of fluffy goodness are coming your way. All of them.

    1. PS- I use my degree, and I can guarantee that what YOU are doing with your life is more challenging and rewarding. Keep on keeping on.

  13. Wow! I cannot imagine how difficult this would be to have a child going through this and still not having a good diagnosis! But, it is laughable that you said you "didn't do anything"! OMG, you have the HARDEST job in the universe! Not only is it physical, emotionally, spiritually and cognitively challenging, but medical care isn't cheap! My heart goes out to you and your son. I pray you get a good diagnosis, a good prognosis, and healing for all!

    Murphy & Stanley
    Online Doods

  14. Dear Megan, we just dropped over from A Day In the Life of Goose to read your story. You are amazing (I am sure you don't care about hearing that) but you are and what a blessing you have turned this all into.

    I wish with all my heart that Bert could be there for you, as that is what he does when we visit the children in the pediatrics ward at the hospital. I wish we had the opportunity to meet your sweet son.

    Thank you so much for sharing with us all.

    Bert's My Vickie

  15. Hugs an prayers are being sent to you and your son.I hope the Doctor's get it figured out quickly. Take care and God bless.
    Sherrell Fick

  16. What a scary experience. I hope Boog is doing better.

    I used to feel the same way about being a SAHM. I know that we are never "just" anything. I think it is awesome that you are proud to be a mom and can say it now with conviction. You should be proud. You are obviously doing an amazing job.