We had to keep Matthew home from school the remainder of the week as it was Monday in mid October 2005 when he had the seizure on a school field trip and was taken to Long Beach Hospital where he was observed by doctors who confirmed he had a grand mal seizure. He was subsequently transferred to Schneider's Children's Hospital where he spent the next 3 days going for extensive tests to try to determine the cause of the seizures and he was there through Friday morning.
Matthew was very brave during his tests at the hospital and he made a nice friend. After the video monitoring and brain wave tests were completed he was transferred back to his room which he shared with a girl his same age who was also experiencing seizures but her condition was more severe as she had multiple seizures daily. She and Matthew talked and shared their drawings and seemed to connect well with each other as they both went through the same tests. We talked with the young girl's parents who were very kind and spoke of their daughter's condition and how they had moments of fear and uncertainty and had their daughter in hospitals several times. We told them that Matthew had experienced 2 seizures, one at home unwitnessed and one on a school field trip in front of his teachers and luckily managed thru them both but the one at home was very scary as he had to be revived by Maria's mother. He also was recently prescribed depacote which the young girl is taking to help control her seizures also. She is such a precious girl and I just felt so sad knowing that she has such a condition. Her parents main concern with their daughter's seizures is that she is safe while going through them so she doesn't bang her head or fall and get hurt. They were also mentioning that they were on a waiting list for a seizure dog which would be a lifelong companion and would be there to help in the event of a seizure. They are specially trained and are very effective as they can sense a seizure before it happens. I was intrigued by the idea and thought that would be a nice companion and a lifesaver for Matthew but I knew his condition was no where near the severity of the young girl's and if she was on a waiting list Matthew's wait would be much longer.
Matthew's doctor stopped by to speak with us and discuss the results of the tests he endured the past 2 days and he really did not surprise us but at the same time confirmed with us something I was hoping was not true. Matthew was considered epileptic and would most likely experience seizures throughout his childhood and possibly into his adulthood. Sometimes the condition can be outgrown but usually once the child has more than one seizure they are considered epileptic. We also informed Matthew's doctor that he is on the Autism spectrum and is diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and that it seems epilepsy and autism are intertwined and he said there is a high correlation between young children having autism and also a seizure disorder.
I asked the doctor what we can do to help Matthew with this condition and he said that he will need to continue taking depacote and in the event he has a seizure that whoever is there should maintain there calmness which may not be that easy to do but with time if you see enough of them it will be easier to deal with and the main thing to keep in mind is to protect him from hitting his head while going through the seizure.
The doctor concluded that Matthew did have 2 grand Mal seizures based on how they were described and that he would most likely experience them in the future but that the effective use of the depacote should manage and control them. He also mentioned that there were no seizures detected in the hospital as a result of the monitoring which was a relief to us since we did not want to feel worried that he was seizing through the night and we were unaware of it.
The doctor said that Matthew was scheduled to have his lunch and then we could sign all the paper work which the nurses would go over with us so he could be discharged and then he turned to Matthew and told him what a wonderfully brave and intelligent little boy he is and he shook his hand and Maria's and mine and went to see his next patient.
Matthew ordered his usual chicken nuggets and french fries with a milk and ate the chicken nuggets the way he always does which was only the edges. We signed all the paper work which the nurse instructed us to and readied Matthew for preparing to go home after his 3 day stay. He met a nice friend and we enjoyed talking to her parents and found they were very kind to us and gave us a lot of insight. As we gathered all of Matthew's belongings and the paper work and his books we were ready to say good bye and we wished the girl and her family all our best wishes and they extended their best wishes to us as well and we headed for home. Matthew was all excited to get back to familiar sights again and as we left he blew a kiss to his little girl friend and said "We are friends and I like you." and the little girl said "Thank you Matthew and I like you too." and her parents and we looked at each other and we laughed and said "How cute!"