Friday, February 19, 2010

A Prolonged Seizure

Lisbeth during a recent ER visit. For someone with uncontrolled seizures, this is not an uncommon occurrence.

Lisbeth had a tonic clonic seizure at 10:30 yesterday morning that lasted almost 15 minutes. This is rare, and it is an emergency situation. Staff called the ambulance - by the time they arrived at Lisbeth's house, the seizure had stopped and she was doing some of her usual postictal behaviors. She had been given 1 mg of lorazepam at 10:00 for seizure aura, but it had not yet taken full effect. I advised by phone not to transport Lisbeth to the hospital since she'd had the lorazepam, was responsive, and her vital signs were stable. Lisbeth slept quite a bit after the seizure and was very cloudy. (One neurologist told us years ago that a tonic clonic seizure uses up the same amount of energy as playing a full football game. I believe it). Staff kept a close watch on Lisbeth for more signs of seizure aura, in which case they would have immediately administered another lorazepam. Lis is still very sleepy this morning, but is a bit clearer - remembering and talking about coming over tonight to have dinner with us. Lisbeth's big sister Kaitlyn and her husband Cory are bringing down fresh lobster from Islesford where they live. It's Lisbeth's favorite.
We think that this unusual seizure was due to the med changes that are in place, the Vimpat increase and the introduction of Cymbalta. Fingers crossed it was an isolated event, and Lisbeth will be able to enjoy her weekend. I am posting this video of a little girl named Jessica Lindgren having a tonic clonic seizure. Jessica lives here in Maine, is the same age as Lisbeth, and also has uncontrolled seizures. Her mother, Leslie Lindgren, participated in the making of this video about epilepsy back when Jess was just six. I think that it is important to see what a seizure looks like. There are millions of people in the world with epilepsy, and you may be called upon one day to help someone having a seizure. DO: Time the seizure. Keep the person who is seizing safe - cradle her head, or put a pillow beneath it, and turn her head slightly to the side. Loosen clothing, move objects that might bruise her jerking arms and legs. Speak softly and reassure her that it is almost over and that you are there. If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, CALL 911. Stay with her after the seizure ends - she may lose bladder or bowel control, or vomit. She will be very cloudy and will need assistance. DON'T put your fingers or anything else in her mouth!!! And don't panic - seizures are rarely life threatening.


  1. 15 minutes? Wow! Hope she's feeling better!

  2. What's the difference between a grand mal seizure and a tonic clonic seizure?

  3. they are the same thing. yes, that was scary. she is a bit better today!

  4. This sounds scary, Martha!

    I'm hoping Lisbeth is doing better now!


  5. Thanks for that information, Martha. You are right, you never know when you might be called on to help someone in that situation. I hope Lisbeth is doing better and that the med changes didn't cause it.

  6. Thanks for dropping in, Dean and Deborah! It means alot to us! xox