It was December 11, 2014, and our son had his first seizure ever at 2am. We witnessed it for about four minutes. He twitched, his eyes were looking up, he attempted to roll off the couch, his legs were stiff but trying to move off the couch. It was disturbing and alarming. As he stopped this activity, he was lethargic, he could not speak, and he was very confused.
We attempted to speak with him. He did not say anything. As he looked at us he clearly did not know who he was, where he was, nor what had just happened. For about nine hours, as we took him to the emergency room, as he was being evaluated by up to four doctors, he did not know who we were. He did not want anyone touching him. He did not want to follow simple commands. It was as if he was someone else, acting belligerently, acting as if he did not want to cooperate, and acting like he had no idea who we were.
As I looked into his eyes, it was as if looking into some else’s eyes, someone I did not know, and I was someone who my son was not very interested in engaging. It was eerie. It was uncomfortable. It was discouraging. It was so painful. How long was this going to last? Was there any brain damage? Was this seizure a one-time thing or was this going to be a more regular occurrence? When was our son going to recognize us?
With our son in this state, we still needed to engage him. We needed his cooperation with the doctors and nurses. We had to find a way to establish some kind of a trust relationship with him to accept our instruction. One nurse thought he was simply an uncooperative teenager. Another nurse yelled at him to obtain an upper hand to control him; but, the loud yells were more than his sensitive ears could handle. The normal lighting was more than his eyes could handle. He was fending off advances by us and by hospital personnel. He was trying to get up and out of the hospital bed. How are we going to get him to cooperate when he did not know who any of us were nor where he was?
I found myself trying to establish a trust with him. I spoke softly with a gentle firmness, I touched him lightly yet with guidance. I sensed I was engaging someone I did not know. He continued to have an icy disinterested and confused glare at me. It was so difficult to have my own son look at me in this way. Over four hours had passed and still he did not know who I was.
Finally, after about nine hours, again attempting to question him on who we were, he finally answered, “You are Mom and Dad”. I almost lost it. I almost cried. He was back!
In this situation it is understandable to try to control the situation, to be more forceful to get an answer from him that I wanted as soon as possible. Yet, I realized I had to be patient, kind, gentle, understanding, and trusting. I learned these qualities so much more deeply after my spiritual conversion experience, when I finally realized that there is a God who relates to us, there is a God who loves us unconditionally, and there is a God who wants us to reflect who He is to others, all the time, as best as we can. This is what was in my mind as I waited for my son to return. My attempt was to show him sincere concern and care, to show him love, to treat him kindly and gently, and to be patient, trusting that our loving God would see us all through this. This was so very hard to do. But I trusted. I have learned through my own experiences and through the example of many others how a Christian is to be. This life is so much more joyful and worthwhile living this way, even when things are tough, even when my own son did not know who I was for nine difficult hours….
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This life is so much better living in this way!