Friday, November 2, 2007

Let's look at Seizures... 101

While discussing my tumor with my new neurosurgeon, the topic of seizures came up seriously for the very first time since I was diagnosed. First off, he wants me to have an EEG. It's a pretty simple brain wave test that will tell us if I am having seizures and not really aware of it. I'm actually pretty interested in this test because I'm curious if it is possible I'm having some signs I'm not aware of. Beyond that, he reminded me that after surgery seizures are possible and honestly right now I am a high risk for them because of my tumor and its location. His advice to me was to educate myself AND those around me so that if I should have a seizure it doesn't take anyone by surprise.

Well, here's the information I have and passed onto those that I work closely with at my job. I figure the chances are if I have one, it will be there so they need to be aware.

First off there are over 60 different types of seizures but they can essentially be divided into two main categories: Grand Mal and Petit Mal.

A Grand Mal seizure is the type of seizure that usually pops into someone's mind first when they think of a seizure. The body stiffens, they lose consciousness, fall to the ground, have convulsions that are usually violent... If you should see someone with a Grand Mal... DO NOT TRY TO STOP IT!!! Instead you should make sure there is nothing near by they can hurt themselves or someone else with, make sure they are away from danger like stairs, step back, and let them have it. You do not want to put anything in their mouth. You do not want to try to stop the seizure because you will only cause harm to them or yourself. You do want to step back in case they get violent so they don't hurt you.

If they are conscious when it is over, don't allow them to get up to quickly and rather make sure they are ok before letting them leave the ground. If they are unconscious, roll them to their side so it is easier for them to breathe. If this is not common for them, call 911

The second type is the Petit Mal seizure. These types of seizures are typically minor and often go unnoticed by the person experiencing it. Some of the things that would be common in my case would be a sudden spacing in the middle of a conversation that lasts 1-90 seconds and then the conversation is completed as if nothing ever happened. Garbled words, distant stares, twitching, and odd sudden change in behavior are also possible seizures. Since the person this happens to doesn't always realize anything happened, it is important that when you are sure they are back to themselves you notify them of what happened. This will allow them to make the decision that they need to on what to do next.

So there is a quick and dirty explanation of seizures and what I have learned about dealing with them. Since I currently am not having them (to my knowledge), I really can't give much information beyond that and know that I am accurate. I realize that most of those that read this don't see me on a daily basis but now you know what to do should you witness anyone having a seizure.

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