3.11.2014

today, my student had a seizure.

I had an experience today that is a little difficult for me to relive.
as much as I try to force them away, the images keep swarming through my mind on repeat.

it was 3rd period, 30 minutes before lunch.
I had just started a 10 minute Dave Ramsey clip for my financial literacy class.
A couple of minutes after sitting down at my desk, I heard a strange sound.
At first I was confused where it was coming from--students' heads were turning around, also trying to decipher the location of the sound.
and then I saw the source of the noise--it was one of my student's.
immediately I knew there was something wrong with this student, apart from the inhuman noise coming out of him, it was obvious his body was unusually stiff.
I ran to his desk, and had him in my arms just as his body started to violently shake with seizures.
I started saying his name as I tried to bring him down to the floor.
mind you, I was easily half the size of this student.
But by undoubted divine power, I was able to lift his whole upper body with one arm, while moving desks out of the way with another, as I brought him to the ground.
There were 20 other students staring wide-eyed at the scene in front of them.
It all seems like a blur now--but I yelled to the students to run for help.
I held the boy's head and looked down to see foam (for lack of a medical term?) start to come out of his mouth.
shortly after, blood was coming from his nose.
My fingers cannot do justice in attempting to explain my fear during this moment.
Being the only adult in the room, feeling so responsible, and yet, so helpless at the same time was an overwhelming thought, to say the least.
I watched his body shake and suddenly had the impression to turn him to his side (which, I later learned that this decision helped him to breathe).
I continued to yell instructions at the students in the room.
I was too afraid to meet their gaze--the fear in their own eyes must have been paralleled in my own.
Then his body and lips started to turn gray, blue, and then purple.
It happened within seconds.
The gurgling had stopped and his body was still.
I couldn't feel a heartbeat.
It seemed like hours that I was waiting for help--when I'm sure it was only over a minute.
I could hardly keep myself together--I felt so incredibly helpless holding this student in my arms.
Finally, help came.
They, too, could not find a heartbeat.
As more help filed in, I left the student's side to round up the rest of my class.
And I'll be the first to admit that I failed at this next part as a teacher:
I probably should have said some encouraging words to the rest of my class as we stood outside in the hall.
But instead, I wrapped my arms around my shaking body and willed myself not to cry in front of these students.
Not crying was the only way I could try to be brave.
I knew if I started talking, I would fall apart.
So I stood there in silence with the rest of them.
And I didn't try to hide the fact that I was saying a prayer right in that hallway, leaned against the lockers, with 20 eyes laid on me--praying for this sweet student and also thanking my Heavenly Father for the help I received.

The paramedics came (a sight you never want to see in your classroom!), and were able to help the student regain his consciousness. 
Thankfully, after a few tests, the student's results were all normal, and he was able to be wheeled off in a wheelchair.

As things started to calm down, the principal kept patting me on the back telling me I did "exactly what I should have done" and that I "did such a great job!"
I would nod and give a small smile, but really all I kept thinking was, "A great job? How can you say that? I was so helpless. I had no idea what I was doing."
That feeling of absolute helplessness is one that is difficult to describe.

As soon as everyone had cleared out, I called Taylor and just sobbed.
I had been trying to hold it together in front of everyone--but I was absolutely terrified and traumatized.

A couple of hours later, I started looking online about seizures.
There were a few websites that said, "Seizures are really not a big deal."
And all I could think was, "Really? You try being the only adult in the room (with really no first aid training), with 20 other students staring at you, and then say that again!"
Some people kept saying, "Well hey, you'll be super prepared for the next one!"
And maybe I'm still just traumatized, but I think..."uh, no.  I will never be prepared to see what I saw again."

It really seems like years ago that this happened--and it was only eight hours ago!
I'll admit, I'm still shaken up (in fact, I am shaking as I relive this by writing this post).
But while I was on my run today, I found peace in the fact that even though I felt so alone, I was not really alone during this experience--there was divine help and inspiration in my classroom today, and I will not deny it.

There are so many things to be grateful for today--where do I even begin?

31 comments:

  1. Wow, this is terrifying, but thank heavens you knew to listen to that little voice! Hope your student (and you) feel much better!

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    1. thanks, kaylyn! it was seriously the worst! I still get shaky just thinking about it!

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  2. Kelli, you are so strong, it's incredible. Those students are very blessed to have you as their teacher. I can't even imagine what that would have been like, sweet girl.

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  3. Wow, you'll never forget that moment and you certainly acted with bravery and heart. I hope you have a better day tomorrow!

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    1. thanks! crossing my fingers that NEVER happens again!

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  4. This is so incredibly scary and gives you a wake up call on what to appreciate in life. You did great though, even if you felt helpless!

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  5. I can't imagine how terrifying that had to have been, especially in front of your students. Way to go for holding your composure and turning towards your faith. I love that. I can tell you're an ahh-mazing teaching!

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    1. thanks, karra! that means a lot! hopefully those students see it the same way! ha!

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  6. I would have died myself!! I was scared just reading this. I think you did amazing!!

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  7. I don't think you should feel like you failed as a teacher by not saying anything to them in the hall. I think you showed incredible courage by doing as much as you could for the student during his seizure.

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  8. WOW! I can only imagine how scary that was. I had no idea some of the symptoms you described with seizures. Love that you prayed. And I agree with the principal.

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    1. I didn't either! thank goodness he was okay in the end!

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  9. my goodness - that must have been terrifying! It's amazing to see how God used you to help your student - I'm glad everything turned out fine! :)

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    1. it truly was terrifying! thanks, maggie!

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  10. My goodness - how scary! I think you did a great job taking care of your student... and the important thing is that he's okay!! I wouldn't have known what to do either, but I'm super proud of how well you handled it under pressure! Great work - and now, take a deep breath and realize that you're only human and you did what you could - and that it all turned out all right. Hug those babies, too. ;)

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    1. sara! thanks so much! I'm so glad it turned out okay!

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  11. I used to work in a gym child care and one time a little boy (probably about 2 years old) had a seizure while I was working...it was so terrifying! I honestly did not handle it very well...I had the other employee take care of him while I ran and grabbed his parents. Turns out he has seizures somewhat frequently and he had a fever early that day, which the parents didn't ever tell us. But the image of that sweet little boy laying face down on the floor and shaking is one I never want to see again! Glad everything turned out alright for you! It's amazing how Heavenly Father really does help us out in those kind of situations :)

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  12. Wow! This is so incredibly scary. So thankful the student is okay and I pray you won't ever have to go through this again.

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    1. thanks, paige! i am praying for the same thing! never want to see that again!

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  13. I can definitely relate to this. It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever had to go through as a parent. Mason had a seizure 2 years ago. He had a stomach bug (one that skipped and kept coming back) which left him dehydrated and his blood sugar dropped dangerously low and caused him to seize. Nathan held him in his arms and I called 911. We live in a pretty rural area, so it felt like days before they got there. The seizure itself was frightening, but the worst part was how he reacted afterwards. He was limp and out cold. We couldn’t get him to wake up at all. I just can’t put into words how terrifying it was. I am sorry that you had to go through that. Sounds like you did exactly the right thing!

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    1. oh my goodness! I am terrified for you! just reading that story--ugh, I can't even imagine! it is the worst, isn't it!? possibly the scariest thing I've seen. so glad your son was okay!!

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  14. I can't even imagine being in your shoes in this moment. Absolutely horrifying. You did amazing and should really give yourself credit for the fact that you did the best you could and it ended up being exactly what you were supposed to do.

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  15. Oh my gosh you poor thing. I had a friend in high school that had seizures regularly and they were ALWAYS terrifying, EVERY time. They are a huge deal. It honestly does sound like you made it through like a champ, it wouldn't have been easy for anyone!

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  16. as a teacher this is incredibly insightful. as a former student i remember seeing another fellow student having a seizure in h.s. spanish class. thank you for sharing. i hope that, if i am ever in a situation like this, i can too do the right things. bravo to you.

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