For one family, the end of 2020 has been a traumatic experience. Demaris Agius, a mother of two, experienced what she has described as “the scariest experience of my life” in a Facebook post after her son suffered an epileptic fit.
“Now after this traumatic experience, I [always] sleep next to him. I never leave him alone. If I go to the toilet, I’m constantly calling him or with a camera switched on watching him through my phone! I’m scared and afraid that I won’t be strong enough to see him in that state again” Agius has said in a Facebook post marking a week since her son’s sudden seizure.
The story began on the night of 30th December 2020. Agius was sleeping beside her 13-year-old son, Thias when she suddenly felt the bed trembling and shaking.
“I uncovered him from the bedsheets and I saw him stiff, jumping and having this fit with saliva coming out of his mouth.” Agius recounts in her post. This was the first time that her son had ever experienced anything like this before.
Agius described this experience as a moment where she panicked, stating that “whatever I have heard about a seizure, what to do at that moment, I just forgot everything…”
Luckily, her husband came running as he heard Agius screaming her son’s name in alarm. He was swift to place Thias on his side. Thias soon stopped shaking but was looking at them with a blank expression – unable to speak and without the strength to sit up.
Due to this being the first time that Thias had ever experienced a seizure, emergency services were immediately called and Thias was taken to hospital by his parents themselves rather than an ambulance.
After taking a swab test, Thias was admitted into a room and asked to stay overnight to run an electroencephalogram (EGG) test in the morning whilst also taking blood samples.
An EEG test is a procedure which allows changes in brain activity to be monitored and is commonly used when diagnosing brain conditions including epilepsy and other seizure-related disorders.
As the test was going on, Agius notes that she was able to hear the two staff members overseeing the test mention that “there is an abnormality.” As the test was finished and the family returned to the room that Thias was staying in, a Dr Calvagnia came to the room to speak with them.
Asking Thias to sit down, Dr Calvagnia explained that Thias was an epileptic and needed to begin medication. Additional tests were also required yet it was normal that being tired alongside lots of screen time were potentially the reasons behind the seizure.
Yet, either way, Thias would likely have had a seizure sooner or later.
In light of this, Thias was asked to stay overnight once more, this time spending New Year’s Eve in the hospital with his mother.
“We called the family and asked them to bring us more things so we stay in hospital for the new year… my husband brought us food in the evening and my son couldn’t take it. He went out to hug him and we all cried so much.”
Since this experience, Agius has described that she feels scared to leave Thias alone in case he may get another seizure. Currently, he is on medication to help prevent the risk of seizures. She has also opened up a Facebook group and forum page where people can seek information about epilepsy and also share their experiences or seek support.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around one in 10 people may have a seizure during their lifetime, which indicates just how common, and dangerous, these situations can be. They recommend that you should call emergency services if a person has never had a seizure before – among other reasons.
You can find further advice and information by the CDC here.
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