Saturday, January 15, 2011

in which my nightmares are played out...

Turi stopped breathing this morning.  I still don't know what happened.  The morning began like any other morning.  Turi woke up early as usual and ran smiling to the bathroom for a nappy change and then to the kitchen to ask for breakfast.  He ate two weetbix and then went to play in the lounge room.  He was his usual spritely self, laughing, running and full of energy.  He ran down the corridor to say good morning to his dad and Minty who were having a sleep in but the door was closed.  He was crying loudly and then the crying stopped.  He staggered into the lounge where I was standing and made a strange whimpering sound.  I knew instantly something wasn't right - it wasn't his usually loud and lusty cry and he is always so deliberate and sturdy on his feet.  As I picked him up he began to go limp and gradually stopped breathing.  His lips were blue and his eyes were fixed and lifeless.  I screamed and sobbed for help.  My husband started hitting his back, sure he was choking.  He tried to put his fingers in his mouth to prize out whatever was blocking his throat but his jaw was locked.  By now I was sobbing on the phone to the ambulance.  And then as suddenly as it began, it was over.  He started to cry loudly, and move a little.  He never coughed.  Nothing ever came out of his mouth in the way of a choking hazard.

During those everlasting two minutes where I thought he might die I didn't pray.  I guess maybe that means I'm an atheist after all.

The ambulance came, we went to hospital.  His heart was monitored, he was examined, he was watched for hours.  Nothing notable could be found.  The doctors suspect epilepsy.  There will be more tests and specialists but for now all we do is wait.  Wait and watch terrified it will happen again.

I can't begin to describe to you what it's like to hold the lifeless body of you child in your arms and really believe they might be dead and then that afternoon to be cleaning the kitchen and cooking dinner as though nothing has happened while the children play together in the lounge.  Every muscle in my body aches from the constant tension.  Every time Turi stumbles or doesn't move for a second I am convinced it is happening again.  I have no idea how long it is going to take for my terror to subside and complacency to resume.  I keep checking to see if he is dead or just asleep.  I don't think I will be able to sleep at all tonight and if I do I'm sure I will relive the nightmare of this morning.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to compulsively check that Turi is still breathing again.


  1. Oh my gosh! I can't imagine how terrifying that must've been for you! I hope it never happens again and that they can figure out the cause. I don't even know you but I know the anguish of the thought of losing one of your babies.
    Try and sleep well tonight! xo

  2. i just stopped breathing when i read the first sentence - so, so glad that he is okay. i completely do not want to trivialize i this AT ALL but mae stops breathing when she cries every now and again. it usually happens when she has REALLY hurt herself but sometimes there is no apparent reason; she starts crying, the holding breath/heaving breath type of crying, her lips turn blue, her eyes roll up, she goes limp, then she comes around. it's super scary but it's happened five or six times now and i have actually gotten used to it. i did a first aid course with a paramedic and asked him about it during the section on fits, he said it was quite common and nothing to worry about, hopefully it is the same with turi. x

  3. leslie - I did consider the passing out after crying thing. The only thing that doesn't sit well with me about that theory is that he managed to walk down the length of our corridor after he stopped crying before he collapsed. Not sure if that is possible if it was just from not breathing properly when hysterical... I wish I had some medical training so I could have a better go at diagnosing him - Dr Google is failing me tonight!!

  4. Holy crap Susan - hope you're all as okay as you can be now. Jony did a similar thing, but we witnessed the injury - and he did manage to walk before he turned blue - and Granny told us some of the cousins/OldAunties/Iforgetwho did the same thing after painful injuries when little. Thinking of you all.

  5. And minimise the googling!

  6. Oh Susan, just read this - I hope all is OK and nothing happens again. Sending lots of love xoxo

  7. Thinking of you all. Hope it doesn't happen again and the Docs can diagnose its cause so that it can hopefully be prevented from happening again.

  8. Oh I feel for you! My cousin used to do exactly what you described when he was little...he'd hurt himself or get upset about something, there'd be this wail and then nothing...and then he would just collapse. It was frightening to watch. After he collapsed he'd just start breathing again.

    It's also something I learned about in First Aid when I did it for my Certificate in Child Care. A child can sometimes do exactly what you described and then pass out and as soon as they pass out they naturally start breathing again.

    My cousin is in his 30's now. It was only a phase he went through for a few years. No epilepsy, nothing sinister. I trust this will be the same for your Turi.

    Thinking of you.