Scooby came home late on Thursday night, ready to wake up at home on his birthday. As is tradition, we started the next morning with a birthday McDonalds breakfast. We started this a couple of years ago as Ace and Scooby's birthday is always during term-time, so they got a special treat before going to school. This time of course, we could extend that treat to 'No school at all!' as we took the day off home schooling.
Ace had a fantastic birthday. McDonald's breakfast, no school, presents, playing games, Chinese for tea, movie night - but most important of all, I broke their usual half-hour-twice-a-week-on-the-Wii rule and let him play his new Lego Wii game for three hours. That is heaven for a techno-minded new eight year old.
Scooby's birthday was very different - he had all of the above (except the Wii game) but he also had six seizures, two long sleeps and uncontrollable shaking all day, topped with feeling really run down and miserable because of his current medication side effects. I spent most of the day holding him and trying to keep his shaky limbs calm. We abandoned our plans to go to my mum and dad's in the evening and stayed in.
The next day he was the same. He couldn't be left alone at all, except when he was asleep.
Around tea time we put him in the pushchair and all went out for a walk with some friends. The other kids ran around and played on the park, but he just lay back in the pushchair and shook. We had just turned round to come home when I saw the tell-tale sign of his eyes rolling back in his head. He was having an absence seizure, which unlike his normal seizures, last for a long time and make him completely unresponsive. As we bent over to try and revive him, Richard realised he couldn't hear him breathing. We rang an ambulance immediately and our friends grabbed the other children and took them home. For a long time we could only hear tiny shallow breaths coming from his mouth so Richard ended up hauling him out of the chair and onto the grass and doing mouth-to-mouth on him. Eventually he gave a little cough from his chest and we heard a proper breath come out, and then the ambulance arrived. Once on the machine, they saw his oxygen levels were just 60%, and he stayed on oxygen for the rest of the evening.
So Scooby's birthday weekend was cut short. He stayed in our local hospital for two nights and was transferred back to Manchester on Monday morning. He stayed in the High Dependancy Unit for the first few days while they monitored him closely, and gave him stronger anti-seizure drugs and the high steroid dose we'd been waiting for. He is now on the regular ward, but we know that we are facing being here for a while now. After last weekend, we need to see him more stable before we can bring him home.
We are also looking at long term solutions for how he will manage at home. Physiotherapists have seen him in hospital and given him special equipment to help him get around, and they will visit our home to do the same.
Richard and I are taking it in turns between him and the others, doing three or four nights each, then swapping over.
And Turtle, Ace, Rocky and Baby have just had a fantastic four days up at my uncle and auntie's farmhouse in the Lake District, so they are very pleased and blissfully unaware of the severity of the situation, as usual!