In the wee hours of the morning, our daughter starts waking up. She is groggy and screaming. She has no idea where she is or what’s going on. For a brief period of time, she doesn’t seem to recognize my husband or me. We panicked inside — what if her memory is gone?
We eventually get her to calm down and she starts to figure out who we are. I run down to the cafeteria to get her some breakfast: cereal, yogurt and some fruit. She’s never had Cinnamon Toast Crunch before — it’ll be a treat, I think to myself.
The next two days were filled with every test imaginable: an EKG (the doctor saw a small irregular rhythm in her heartbeat), an EEG and an MRI. Those tests are tough on adults so imagine having to watch your child go through them. The EEG is a 90-minute procedure to test for epilepsy and it required her to stay still the entire time while having dozens of wires with sticky patches connected to her head.
Suffice it to say, it was not an easy task to keep an almost 2-year-old still for that long. To make it even more gut wrenching, the typical protocol for EEGs on toddlers is to wrap their arms and upper body in something that looks like a straitjacket so they won’t try to rip the wires off. My husband held her down for 90 minutes with his iPhone above her head, playing Daniel Tiger episodes until it was over. I don’t know who was braver, him or my daughter.
Next came the MRI, which required her to be anesthetized so she wouldn’t move during the test. This one broke me. It was the end of a very long day — one where she had to fast for eight hours — and it had only been a couple of hours since the EEG. I remember holding her hand through the hospital crib as she was being wheeled down to the MRI room. They have to keep the top closed as a safety precaution and she was just screaming and crying. I walked alongside her, crying with her.
When we got to the room, they opened the top of the crib and I immediately picked her up and hugged her. We were both crying. I couldn’t let go and subject her to another scary test, but I had to. After she was wheeled back for the scan, we were told it would be one hour before she was done. We walked out into the hallway and I collapsed into my husband’s arms. This was all just too much.
Two things that came out of this: 1) I learned how strong and resilient my daughter was. 2) Every test result came back normal.
So, there’s that.