A Year of Seizures

When Lyn was a freshman in high school, Mom got a call from the school nurse one day.  Lyn had just had a seizure.  Lyn had never had seizures before and it came out of nowhere for us.  Lyn was quickly in with her pediatrician who sent them to the neurologist.  There was not just one seizure. They were happening a couple of times a day.

The neurologist performed all the tests available at the time and made a couple of interesting conclusions over the course of his year working with her.  First, he said that the majority of her brain damage was centered in the left frontal and temporal lobes of her brain.  Second, he couldn't determine a cause for the seizures and was reluctant to label it epilepsy.  He concluded that Lyn was faking the seizures and doing it for attention.

Let's pause a moment and let that sink in.  A neurologist stated that a patient, an intellectually disabled patient, was faking seizures and fooling everyone.  She was that good an actress.

When Lyn had a seizure, she would freeze and all major activity would stop.  The light would go from her eyes though it seemed like she was staring at something.  She was having petit mal seizures.  However, she would frequently be exhausted and physically weak afterwards.  Her first documented seizure was observed by her special education teacher during their lunch period at school.

Regardless of his personal opinions of her acting abilities, he did struggle to treat her.  He put Lyn on Tegretol in an attempt to get the seizures under control.  The medicine did not sit well with Lyn.  She lost a dramatic amount of weight, seemed lethargic and uncoordinated.  When she sat in a chair, she slumped to one side like an infant who is just learning to sit independently.

You can see from this picture just how thin and out of it she was while she was on Tegretol.  As soon as the full effects on her became evident, they weaned her off of it.

The neurologist never figured out why she had the seizures.  The seizures stopped just as suddenly as they started.  To the best of our knowledge, Lyn's not had a single seizure for since that year.  She has also not been medicated to prevent them since then either.

Before the seizures, Lyn met the standards to be considered educable.  After that year, she was no longer considered educable.  She was trainable, instead.  The difference in these two terms is the degree of self sufficiency that the individual can achieve.  It was at this point that her education switched to focus more on necessary life skills such as catching the bus, washing her laundry and recognizing critical words like "stop" and "police."


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