My First Ambulance Ride

If you know me, or read any of my posts, you may know that I generally try to use humor to deal with stuff.  Part defense mechanism, and part grease on the wheels of life, I try very hard to see the humor or the absurd in any given situation.  If I can laugh at, then it is much easier to deal with my son drawing all over the wall with a sharpie, or showing up to an audition where they really wanted to hear someone else and spend the whole ten minutes being mean to me.  Many of the things that I write about are, at their core, not funny, but hopefully we can all laugh at them together anyway.

My difficulty now, is that I can not find any humor in the situation of my daughter’s epilepsy.  It is continually terrifying and maddening and frustrating and devastating.  When your child is sick, and you can’t do anything about it, what is there to laugh at?  Even other things that I normally would find funny, I suddenly find sad or depressing.

On Friday night, my wife and I went out for a date.  We had a girl from our church come over to babysit.  She just took a babysitting course and was very excited to start her new career, and we were excited for a night out.  When we got home, we put Edward right to bed and let Ruby stay up a little while longer to listen to a 1937 Christmas radio serial that has become a tradition in our house.  Halfway through the 10 minute program, Ruby had her first grand mal seizure.

We completely panicked.  We had never seen this type of thing before.  Previously, Ruby had only had petit mal seizures, where her eyes would roll back and she would kind of just “go away” for a bit.  This time her whole body was convulsing and out of control.  We lay her down on the floor, but she started vomiting, and then began choking.  When she stopped breathing, and turned blue and still, we called 911.

I still am having a hard time forgiving myself for not knowing to turn her immediately onto her side.  I mean, I watch Breaking Bad; I should know these things.  Instead, I lost all sense of brain function and went crazy.  I tried blowing into her mouth (not a good idea when there is vomit in there, FYI, which I also technically “know”), and I tried to clear her throat with my finger.  And thank God for my wife, who remembered to get her on her side.  Ruby started coughing again and began breathing shallow breaths as the seizure continued and she bit down on my fingers which were still in her mouth.  Also not a good idea.  They still hurt.

By the time the ambulance arrived, the seizure was pretty much over and we probably didn’t need them after all, but I jumped into the back with her and rode to the hospital, not at all enjoying my first time.  I had previously imagined that riding in the back of an ambulance would be “cool,” but as it turns out, it is not cool.  It is an awful and terrible thing.

So they raised her medicine dose again, and no one knows anything.  I understand that all of this is not necessarily unusual, and that the doctors still feel that she will be eventually fine, either having grown out of this, or on medication to control it, but it still feels like a punch in the gut every time it happens.  We had somehow just assumed that ours would be the best case scenario, and that we would never have to deal with anything like this.  But it has not magically gone away, so here we are, dealing with it.

If I can’t see the humor in any of this, I try at least to think of all the “thank goodnesses.”  Thank goodness she didn’t have the seizure a half hour earlier when her 12 year old, first time baby sitter was there.  Thank goodness she started breathing again.  Thank goodness my mother happened to be driving on the highway 5 minutes from our house when it happened, and was able to come stay with Edward for the night.  Thank goodness it’s over and everything is back to normal.  Except I’m having trouble sleeping.  I can’t stop seeing that image of my daughter, lying blue on the floor.  And I can’t stop worrying that it will happen again, and that I will not be ready for it again.  I can’t stop thinking about all those what-if’s that didn’t actually happen.  But I’m working on it.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to look back on any of this and laugh, but I hope that I’ll be able to deal with it all in some way, some day.

Posted in Ambulance, Epilepsy, Hospital, Parenting, Ruby.


  1. some things in life are just never funny. I will keep you and your faily in prayer as you navigate health issues and anxieties. and I will also pray that you never lose the ability to find the humor in all the OTHER things in life that are indeed quite funny 🙂

  2. Those who laugh, feel. Isn’t it always the comedians who are the best dramatic actors? Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, even Will Ferrel did a great movie called Stranger than Fiction. They have a greater sense of life. I’m so sorry! When your child is sick, nothing else matters. Hang in there. Lean on your friends.

  3. Adam I am so very sorry that you all have to deal with something so difficult and frustrating. I wish there was more that I could do to help. 🙁 Love and prayers being sent to you and the family. Christine

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