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A Closer Look at Seizures: Ryan’s Story


We want to thank Ryan’s mother, Shari, for sharing Ryan’s story with us.

In April 2012, Ryan was at the group home getting ready for a day program [when he had his first seizure].This seizure lasted 90 seconds and this is what the nurse noted as his symptoms: “Pale, eyes turning to left, slumped forward, both arms trembling.” He returned to baseline after the seizure. The home called it a Petit Mal seizure.

Ryan and Shari

A few months later, he had another seizure. This seizure lasted 50 seconds and this is what the nurse noted: “Staring spell, slow, flushed, upper extremities became cool to the touch. Twitching of the lips. Return to activity engaged in prior to seizure.”
The next one was a few months later, and lasted about 120 seconds. The nurse noted: “Violent shaking of entire body, staring spell, shallow, ashen, cyanotic, unresponsive drowsiness, return to activity engaged in prior to seizure, complaints of headache, maintained safe environment, contacted nurse, contacted Emergency Services, sent to emergency room via ambulance. Precipitating Factors: None to note. Had just finished programs and shower. The home called this one a Grand Mal seizure.”

The doctor was wonderful with Ryan. She understood that he wasn’t a candidate for a monthly heart monitor to “try” to catch a spell, because he would never have kept it on. She compared his EKG from one at birth and it showed a pattern where it slows down. She determined that it was the vesovegal reaction causing Ryan’s blood pressure to drop and hence less oxygen was going to the brain, causing seizures.

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