On Friday 4th Sept 2020 I found myself in a situation that I had hoped would never happen again. I had a grand-mal seizure (the one that knocks you out cold!), the first big one since my diagnosis in February and unfortunately it happened at a time when it was just me and my daughters at home. As a parent you always hope you can protect your children from anything that could cause emotional or physical pain but this was a nightmare. My two little girls ended up protecting me with their quick thinking, bravery and resilience.
I don’t actually remember exactly what happened because when you have a seizure like this, you have no recollection of the actual incident and so I’ve pieced this together from what my girls have told me. I was lying down in bed next to Arya (my 3 year old) in our main bedroom while Avaana (my 5 year old) was on her iPad in her bedroom. Apparently I began to “shake and roll” according to Arya who was woken up by this. The poor girl started crying not understanding why I was rolling around, why I fell on to the floor and why I had “bubbles” in my mouth. Avaana had rushed in hearing her sister crying, tried calling out to me but did not get any response and knew something wasn’t right. She grabbed hold of her sister and took her into her bedroom and tried to keep her calm and she immediately used my phone to call my wife to let her know something wasn’t right. My wife immediately called 999 to send the ambulance straight to our house – but feared the worst hearing Avaana say “Daddy is not waking up, his eyes are closed and he is not moving”. The emergency services told my wife (Sindhu) that they were going to call my mobile and see if they could speak with Avaana to get an idea of what was happening while the ambulance was on its way. Sindhu quickly prepared Avaana for a call from the paramedics. I’m told she was so calm and collected and listened to everything her mum told her. The paramedics called and she followed their instructions, stayed really calm, and was asked to see if daddy’s chest was moving up and down. Thankfully I regained consciousness while she was on the phone. As soon as she saw my eyes open she shoved the phone in my hand and told me I had a call!!! Of course at this point I had absolutely no clue what was going on – I asked who was on the phone and the guy said it was someone from Emergency Services. This confused me even more and I actually apologised to the paramedic thinking my daughter had called them by accident! I had no idea that anything had happened… coming round from a seizure your mind is just one giant hazy fuzz ball. I thought I was just waking up from my nap and I was actually about to tell Avaana off for calling 999 in error!
I have such a mixture of emotions just writing all that down again – overwhelming pride and joy thinking of my girls’ actions, huge pang of sadness and disappointment that they had to even witness this, gratitude that neither of them were physically hurt and that I came away only with superficial abrasions… these are just to name a few. But having had some time to really reflect on it, the overwhelming feeling is pride. So unbelievably proud and humbled that I get to be a father to these bright little girls who showed so much bravery at such a young age. I’m proud of my wife for teaching them what to do in an emergency, instilling that sense to stay calm in difficult situations and not to worry knowing that help is on the way. I’m proud of the way they looked after each other, I’m proud of the way the looked after me and I’m proud of all the beautiful things that the people involved have told me about them. Arya sounded the alarm, Avaana dealt with the emergency and they both looked after each other!
I truly feel God held us tightly in the palm of his hands that morning and blessed the girls with wisdom way beyond their years to deal with an impossible situation. A situation which you can try and prepare for but never really know how it will play out. Another very honest concern for Sindhu and myself is how this would effect them going forward – but we have tried to shower them with love, encouragement and an open space to talk about this with us, their family and even their teachers.
Avaana has told me she’s had enough of the cuckoo in my head and has warned me never to let it happen again! Arya thinks I was trying to reach for my water bottle and fell out the bed so makes me sleep in the middle of the bed now so I don’t fall out. I overheard Arya and her bestie (cousin) having a casual chat in the car about the time that “Daddy was blowing bubbles when he was rolling”. I felt so sad initially but then both these little monkeys proceeded to blow raspberries at each other making each other (and me!) giggle so much!
As positive as I’m trying to be, I’m not sure what the road ahead has in store for me but I know all these moments are building me and my family to tackle anything and everything that comes our way. A mountain has a top and a bottom and I’ve travelled up and down a few peaks and pits over the last few months. I will keep fighting, I will keep moving forward and I will beat this. I have the unwavering love of God in me, I have 3 mighty women protecting me and I have the strongest team carrying me – so onward we go.
To my khaleesis, my warrior princesses, my guardian angels- daddy loves you so much, thank you xxx