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That was unusual - Journal of Omnifarious

Dec. 6th, 2003

01:08 am - That was unusual

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Someone sitting next to me in Aurafice had a grand-mal seizure while playing chess. I moved the table to give him room, and others grabbed my jacket to cushion his head. It was kind of scary to be near, and I was at a loss for what to do. I don't feel my emergency coping skills really showed themselves well today. I was backed into a little corner/alcove which made it a little scarier.

He seems to be OK though. The seizure stopped after 30-120 seconds, and then he was really unresponsive and groggy for a long time. Eventually he was able to stand, though he still wasn't thinking very clearly. The paramedics had to work hard to convince him to go to the hospital.

He may or may not have epilepsy. They weren't able to get a believable answer out of him before he went away. A good friend of his (who also didn't know if he had epilepsy) who he plays chess with a lot went with him.

My jacket now has gum on it. I feel slightly annoyed at the Universe about that, but I'm very glad it was a handy soft thing for people to grab when it was needed. At least it wasn't the leather one.

Current Mood: [mood icon] surprised


[User Picture]
Date:December 6th, 2003 07:27 am (UTC)
Sounds like you did the right thing. There's the whole "put something in their mouth so they don't swallow their tongue" thing...which is bullshit and actually MORE dangerous.

If it ever happens again, do the same thing, move anything that they could hurt themselves by slamming into and put something soft under their head to protect it.

(I took a lot of first aid/combat lifesaver training in the army.)

We had a guy at Ft. Bragg who had the same thing happen. A bunch of us were hanging out during our lunch hour and he had a grand mal in the barracks...wound up having to go on drugs and observation for 6 months...suspended his jump status (not happy about that), and if he had another seizure in that time, they were going to give him the boot...

Scary stuff, though.
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[User Picture]
Date:December 6th, 2003 07:44 am (UTC)
put the jacket in the freezer, then fifteen or twenty minutes later, the gum should peel off the jacket. *hugs*
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[User Picture]
Date:December 6th, 2003 09:38 am (UTC)
You did everything you could do. You made room so he wouldn't hurt himself, you cushioned his head to make sure he didn't smack it. You also got out of the way so the parametics could do their job. That really was all you could do. Unfortunately, there isn't much else you can do for someone having a seizure.

*hugs* you did good honey.
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[User Picture]
Date:December 6th, 2003 10:58 am (UTC)
What everyone else said. Apart from cushioning their head and keeping them away from harm there's not much else you can do till the paramedics arrive apart from documenting how long it lasted and how it started/ progressed.

Certainly NEVER a good idea to start inserting objects into someone's mouth. There's no such thing as 'swallowing your tongue.' In someone who is deeply unconscious and lying on their back the tongue can sag into the back of the throat (simply due to gravity and the weight of the tongue) thus blocking the airway. The simple solution (once the fit has terminated) is either to gently support the neck while tilting the chin and the head back or to put them in the recovery position (whichever technique you feel most confident with).

Once the airway is open check they are breathing and that their heart is beating (ie they have pulse and/or a healthy pink colour). If you've done a first aid course before you'll recognise the ABC (airway, breathing and circulation, in that order) approach which is just as appropriate here as anywhere else.

It is normal for someone to be groggy afterwards and not be back to their usual selves for several hours (depending on the type of seizure). They may have a medical bracelet with useful information. They should definitely see a medic as they will be at an increased risk of a further seizure and may need to start and/or modify their medications.
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[User Picture]
Date:December 6th, 2003 06:44 pm (UTC)

Putting something in his mouth would never be something that would occur to me to do, and now, having been admonished never to do it several times, I know now not to, even if by some miracle it should occur to me. :-)

No, I have difficulty with dealing with problems that involve having to invade what would normally be considered someone else's personal space without their permission. I moved the table out of the way, but the jacket was grabbed by someone else, and I didn't think of the idea myself, partly for that reason.

One woman immediately jumped up when the seizure was mostly over and soothed him into unconsciousness because he was still struggling and upset, even if he wasn't consciously aware of what was going on. She had family members who'd had epilepsy, so she knew that would help. It would've been very hard for me to do that for a stranger, or even someone who had never been a lover or my child.

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