The Joy of Conor
Every day with my buddy Conor is a joy because of who he is. Every day with Conor requires extra concern and attention to his well being because of the autism disorder that restricts his life and presents serious challenges to his ability to participate in it like others of his age. Today though autism was the least of Conor's, or my, worries. Today, shortly before 11 am I was upstairs and heard Conor downstairs making various noises ... as he often does. But there was something different about the sounds I heard. When Conor makes noises they may sound unusual at times but he is clearly making them, he is in control. What I heard today was different. Conor was making noises but they were not his usual kinds of utterances, he was not in control. I went downstairs to see what was happening.
When I saw Conor he was lying on his side on the living room floor. His body was shaking violently back and forth. He did not appear conscious and he was not responsive to any attempt to elicit a response. Thick green and yellow fluid had oozed out the side of his mouth. I tried to lift him and it was like trying to lift a pile of 190-195 pound bricks, there was no response. For a brief instant my mind flashed with the possibility that this might not end well. I called 911 and the terrific Emergency Measures Response team were soon at our door. With them to offer direction, and with Conor's big brother providing help, I sat Conor up and then changed him. We were soon on the way to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital where the wonderful staff of the DECH hospital took great care of our Conor with me and Mom beside him. Right now Conor is sleeping on one of our living room couches, with lots of blankets and comfy pillows. Mom is spending the night on the other couch.
Autism is not responsible for today's emergency. We don't know for sure if epilepsy or some other condition was involved. What we do know beyond any doubt is that Conor suffered a grand mal seizure as defined by the Mayo Clinic:
Grand mal seizure
Definition By Mayo Clinic staff
A grand mal seizure — also known as a tonic-clonic seizure — features a loss of consciousness and violent muscle contractions. It's the type of seizure most people picture when they think about seizures in general. Grand mal seizure is caused by abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain. In some cases, this type of seizure is triggered by other health problems, such as extremely low blood sugar or a stroke. However, most of the time grand mal seizure is caused by epilepsy. Many people who have a grand mal seizure will never have another one. However, some people need daily anti-seizure medications to control grand mal seizure.
Hopefully the connections between various disorders ... or groups of symptoms ... known as autism, intellectual disability and epilepsy .... will be studied thoroughly and more time will not be wasted by academics spending years trying to find the perfect, stream lined definitions of disorders which are heterogenous, varied, complex and dangerous to those who suffer from them.
For today I am thankful that my Conor is sleeping safe and sound in our living room. Today I say thank you to the wonderful emergency measures response personnel and the staff of the Dr. Everett Chalmer Hospital emergency trauma ward. Thank you very much.