A few days ago, Jasmine had what might have been a seizure. I'm still not sure. Right before we went to bed, she woke up crying, which is normal. Jeab went to her crib, gasped, and said, "Oh my god, ROB!"
She picked her up, I jumped out of bed, and Jasmine was crying hard. I'll never forget that moment that I looked at her. It was straight out of a horror movie except that it was live, and my daughter was the main character being attacked. Her eyes were rolled up into the back of her head, off to the right a bit. She was really scared.
Sometimes she will start crying from a bad dream, and it takes a good 5-10 seconds to wake her up from it. This was very different. We wanted to "wake her up," so we were lightly shaking her saying/yelling her name. We both became frantic. 30 years of life experience were kicking in, and I guess I was prepared because I didn't just shut down. I saw that Jeab was freaking out while she was holding Jazz, so I took her from her arms and tried my best to bring Jasmine back.
Jasmine loves the water. It's one of her favorite things. I took her into the bathroom as I do everyday and asked her if she wanted to take a shower. This usually gets her really excited to the point where she laughs and begins kicking in my arms. No dice. She was literally scared out of her mind and wouldn't stop screaming.
I told Jeab to get ready to go to the hospital. I threw a shirt half on my body while the other arm was still holding onto Jasmine, grabbed the necessities and ran downstairs. This was about 3 minutes into the episode when Jasmine came to. She had that stuttered breathing kids get after a long crying rant. That was a relief, but we weren't feeling it at all.
Rewind: I remember during those first three minutes that I would have done anything to stop it. I realized that I would have ended my own life to save hers, which is normal for a parent...but it was the first time that I had ever truly experienced such an elevated emotional state. "I would die for you" is usually said during sappy love scenes when the person doesn't mean it. I didn't say it, but I felt it. It was truly eye-opening and scary at the same time.
Back in the car it was dark, I had the other half of my shirt on, and we were both shaking. I realized at some point that I hadn't put in my contacts. My vision isn't too bad, and we made it to Nontavej Hospital in under 15 minutes. Jasmine was scared and tired.
I've had nothing but great experiences with Nontavej Hospital, but this experience fell way below par. The on call doctor listened to us, asked a few questions about Jasmine's history and what had happened, and then did some basic vision/reaction/reflex tests. She said we could stay for a 24 hour evaluation, but that she thought it was just an eye spasm since she was crying and her body wasn't flexed. I checked with Jeab to make sure that what I understood was what she was saying when the doctor told me in English, "Yes, that's what I said."
I was a wreck. We decided to leave, and almost forgot to pay. We turned around and asked for our bill, and to our surprise they told us that the visit was free of charge. I guess you get what you pay for.
That night I couldn't sleep. I think I was having panic attacks for the first time ever. I cried for the first time in ages while Jeab and Jazz slept next to me. I knew my mind was playing games with me, but I just let it happen. I imagined a plane crashing through our window and felt panic. I imagined Jasmine turning to me and yelling at me in some demonic tone and felt panic. I imagined myself turning violent against the world and felt panic. I knew these thoughts were straight out of a Hollywood horror movie and weren't real, but I still panicked.
The sun rose and I went to work. I don't know why I went except for the fact that not doing my job usually makes me feel worse about life. When I had free time I was talking with family or writing emails. Every hour or so, I'd picture Jasmine showing the whites of her eyes and I'd cringe. It was a physical reaction like getting tasered for a couple of seconds.
At about 10:00 AM that morning, I spoke with both of my parents. My father asked what Jasmine's pediatric doctor and neurologist had said. In a sure sign that my head was clouded, I realized that I hadn't even thought of telling them what had happened. I made some excuse that I was waiting for them to get to the office instead of admitting that I was being stupid (another sign of a clouded head). I called Jeab, and had her contact them. By early afternoon we had instructions from our neurologist (who is fantastic) on how to deal with the next episode if it occurs.
Unlike the on-call genius "eye spasm" doctor, she didn't rule out a seizure, and was spot on about the direction of Jasmine's eyes when they rolled up and to the right before we even told her. Next time this occurs, we're prepared to make sure she gets through it safely, and have instructions to bring her in immediately for brain scans. A plan is always comforting.
I had what was beyond a stressful day at work. I was constantly thinking of what to do next time this happens, future time and financial implications of all of this, and a whole other football field of related and unrelated stresses.
I drove home in such a worried state. I parked, closed the gate, dropped off my bag, washed my hands in the kitchen and went upstairs. I walked into my room and saw Jeab's mother (Buddha bless her soul) sitting on the floor playing with Jasmine. My entire world of stress and problems vanished for a few minutes when Jasmine turned to see me and smiled her HUGE smile. I got on the floor and did my usual, "How was your day? Did you have fun with grandma? Yeah?!"
We've got an even longer road ahead of us now. I can't explain how thankful I am for my family, friends, and network. The emotional support has been overwhelming. I also apologize if I haven't replied to your messages. Some are so heartfelt that I'd feel worse giving a 2 line thank you message. Please take my blogs as a heartfelt reply from a busy guy (hey, that rhymed).
And a slideshow of Jasmine, mostly from the past 24 hours (WARNING: link contains nudity).