When 3 minutes is far too long


Last night, just before midnight, Brendan Bjorn’s seizure alarm went off. I ran to his room and found him losing colour and in a full blown tonic clonic seizure. I can never be sure how long he may have been seizing before the alarm sounds, because sometimes it doesn’t pick up the repetitive, convulsing movements.

The fact that he was beginning to turn blue told me it had been too long. 

I put on the O2 sat monitor…he was at 70.

I grabbed the oxygen tank, turned it on and placed the nasal cannula around his head.

Declan was now right by my side, but this time it was different…

He began crying, shouting for Brendan to please not die…“Brenny, you’re my brother! Please don’t leave me! Come on, Brendan, be ok!”  

I put my right arm around Declan while holding Brendan in my left arm, and I told him not to worry, that I was right here with him. It didn’t help. He ran out of the room saying he would call an ambulance. He was frantic. This has never happened before…in all the years of him witnessing his brother have seizures, has seen paramedics rush into the house to help him…but last night, something was different.

I called Declan back into the room and explained I needed to give Brendan his rescue medication to stop the seizure. He stayed by my side all the while begging his big brother to hold on and not leave us.

The rescue medication worked, or maybe it was just the timing with the seizure ending, but he stayed with us…thankfully…thankfully.

Once I got Brendan Bjorn settled and asleep after the postictal phase of the seizure episode, I had a gentle talk with Declan. I’ve never seen him react this way and, honestly, I found it equally as upsetting as the seizure, if not more so. One thing that was clearly evident is that Declan has a bond with his brother like no other I’ve seen.

Despite being nearly 4 years younger, he is his brother’s keeper. 

This morning, both boys are fine, although Brendan Bjorn is understandably a bit more tired than usual. Declan is already on his PS4, sitting near his brother, and his world is right again.

As for me, I’m still trying to figure out if I can let myself relax. Ok, not exactly relax, but at least breathe a sigh of relief…




One thought on “When 3 minutes is far too long

  1. Deborah Blacoe

    Tracy this is doubly heartbreaking. A bit like Sophie’s Choice, which boy needs the most comfort. Yes, in reality Brendan’s seizure was the most pressing matter, but Declan has now shown something that has probably been going on inside for a while. But he is afraid to burden you. In the heat of the moment it came out. I am not qualified in the slightest to tell you what to do, but as a mother I have seen this happen to one of my children. They bottled up emotion for so long that it eventually came out as full blown anxiety which took a lot of counseling to make sense of. Declan needs you as much as Brendan. You have a very heavy load. All I can do for you is say I will be here for you when I get back from holiday. I know, I know, a holiday, what is that you ask. I wish you could have one. Sending love to you and the boys. X

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