Dropped my son off at his school this morning; saw him stop and stare at something there at the cars. I saw a little child sitting on the sidewalk there, between some people (his mother, obviously, and some school children). My son then walked on and went to class. I looked more closely as the kiddie got up – he didn’t seem hurt, but by now I could see that there was another person lying on the sidewalk who had been shielded by him. I got out to offer my help; thought maybe there had been an accident of some sort. A little surprised at my son for walking away (he does First Aid), but I was about to understand, why.
There was a girl on the pavement having an epileptic seizure.
I asked if there was something I could do to help, and eventually there was, no matter how small: I could go and inform the lady at the office that they were bringing a girl to the sick room.
What I knew about seizures, was diddly squat. I offered to call emergency services and the mom declined. I saw in her eyes, her whole demeanour, that she is no stranger to this scenario. The two little brothers were helping here and there make their older sister comfortable, but the family interfered minimally with the seizure, basically just putting the girl in recovery position on her side repeatedly. One of the little brothers checked that the friend was okay who had caught his sister’s fall.
I mean, these kiddies couldn’t have been older than maybe eight or nine. Still the calm and strength that they projected, really shook me. The mom comes across as an absolutely rock-steady being, a veteran.
First-aid wise, there apparently isn’t much you can do for someone who is having a seizure. You catch their fall, if you happen to be next to them if they collapse. You basically make them comfortable, put them on their side (it opens air passages) and cushion their head with something if you can. I didn’t know this or I’d have offered my jersey. And you move them away from danger if they are, for instance, in the middle of the road when they collapse; but that’s the only reason to move them, to protect them from injury. Otherwise, you move objects out of their way rather than move them. Work gently with them, and time the seizure (if it lasts beyond 5 minutes, call the ambulance). You never put a spoon in their mouth or hold them down.
What causes epilepsy? According to this link, 70% of cases have no known cause. The other 30% are from previous brain injury of some sort caused during encephalitis, or trauma during birth, accidents etc.
No known cause?
They said that for the colic of my first baby, too. And after months of misplaced trust in a medical profession that was basically just telling me to wait it out (colic moms will understand how this can make you lose your faith in the med profession), a homeopath fixed the problem in 24 hours. From fully-blown colic to a healthy baby, in a day. No: That was certainly not her “outgrowing” the colic. It was from 100% to zero. I don’t know. When the medical profession says, “no known cause”, the researcher in me is triggered. Someone said: A scientist is a person who believes in the ignorance of the experts.
A second thing that I then encountered (when I went to alert the office) was another child who was asking the office for help because she had difficulty breathing. The office has no emergency asthma medication, in fact they have nothing – legally they are not allowed to keep any medicines.
Asthma? I do know about asthma! My son has had asthma since he was small. He carries a pump with him; this is an essential, a potential life-saver. Unlike in the movies, asthmatics don’t wait until they are lying unconscious on the floor; they use their asthma pump when their chest begins to tighten. But you never “lend” your asthma pump to another person experiencing an attack, because 1) you don’t know how they will react to the medication and 2) you don’t know if they will have an allergic reaction to your spit of which there are always traces on the asthma pump.
Asthma isn’t one of those “no known cause” ailments. It has too many known causes. The mechanism is well researched; the trigger can be anything from an allergen to an infection to, in severe cases, emotional strain. Exercise can trigger asthma. (However, swimming is apparently excellent to help asthma sufferers build lung capacity.) Asthma sufferers need to record what triggers their attacks; whether they are more sensitive to dry or moist air, cold or warm.
The only thing the school can do to stave off such emergencies is to employ a trained nurse or have a school doctor on the premises. I know that this is a luxury these days; a generation back it was standard practice. There’s something wrong with this picture.