Author Joni Brown
Allie age 10 with an ambulatory EEG at home. This type of EEG allows her to carry on with regular activities.
Allie has three types of seizures, absence, partial complex, and tonic-clonic seizures.
She has "breakthrough" seizures when she gets sick. Even though she is on two anti-seizure medications, some seizures "break through" the medications. She will have what is called cluster seizures where a seizure will appear every hour on the hour for about 24 hours. We do administer a rescue medication at the first sign of a seizure. This sometimes will stop the kindle effect. When Allie has a seizure she needs to sleep for about an hour after each seizure. There is a two day recovery time after.
"Does she have grand mal seizures?"
Then they look at you like a big feel sorry for me stare.
If I had a dime for every time a person asked me this question, I would be writing from my beachside mansion in Hawaii. Grand mal type seizures are the shaking type that you see dramatized on television or in movies. There are other types of seizures: Absence, Myoclonic, Clonic, Tonic Atonic to name a few. Typically Allie has these three different types of seizures.
1. Absence seizures cause a short loss of consciousness (just a few seconds) with few or no symptoms. The patient, most often a child, typically interrupts an activity and stares blankly. These seizures begin and end abruptly and may occur several times a day. Patients are usually not aware that they are having a seizure, except that they may be aware of "losing time." -webmd.com
2. Partial Complex causes impairment of awareness. Automatisms such as lip smacking, chewing, fidgeting, walking and other repetitive, involuntary but coordinated movements. - webmd.com
3. Tonic-Clonic is the newer term for what used to be called a "grand mal" seizure. Tonic means stiffening, and clonic means rhythmic jerking. During the first phase comes the tonic where the muscles stiffen. After comes the clonic phase where legs and arms begin jerking rapidly and rhythmically.
Over the past decade, Allie has had 8 electroencephalograph’s or EEG's. This non-invasive painless test measures the electrical signals in the brain through small electrodes which are glued to the scalp. This simple test is done in the doctor’s office for approximately 20-40 minutes. The trained staff apply the small electrode buttons on the scalp. The doctor will do various tests which include, flashing a strobe light, open and closing eyelids, and fun activities such as blowing a pinwheel fan. The signals are recorded, interpreted and studied by a physician.
Allie had four ambulatory EEG’s which is a 24-72 hour continuous EEG recording. The electrodes are glued on for a much longer period of time than a traditional EEG and are mobile to allow us to take it home. All activities are documented during this time span. The more data the physician captures, the better he or she can understand what causes spikes or not. Unfortunately all of her EEG’s, zero seizures were captured we can assume that the antiseizure medications were working well.
After the EEG is complete the technician easily removes all 20 electrodes from the scalp. After, you are sent to their bathroom equipped with a large sink, combs, brushes, hair products, and towels to clean up the hair and scalp. The electrode glue is messy when removing from the hair. It is water soluble and with a lot of patience and rubbing some coconut oil on the glue it does eventually come out. Sometimes shampooing while digging out the glue is more difficult as the white suds hide the glue too much and you will have a hard time finding the glue chunks. Allie has long hair so the entire removal process takes about 20 min. A child with short hair would be quicker and easier.
In the comments below tell me about your EEG experiences.
Joni Brown writes about her life raising her daughter that lives with PCDH-19 epilepsy, autism, anxiety and OCD.