The regional team has two squads, Under 15’s and Under 19’s. All the players who are selected for the Under 15’s still have to compete in trials for a position on the Under 19’s squad when they turn 15. The boy took part in a number of trials and was successful in his bid to take a place on the Under 19’s squad.
Once again he was flying high and wheelchair basketball consumed our every waking minute! From the age of 12 to 19 he had 7 solid good years in the Junior squads, junior leagues, the main club division leagues and he was now training with the under 25’s Welsh International Squad. Life was fantastic for him.
When he turned eighteen and a half, his time with the junior squads came to an end but with a roll call of awards, gold medals, cups, silver medals, one bronze medal that he has no wish to talk about, and a host of other accolades from club level through to Sports awards recognition. He had found his direction in life and was content for the longest time to see where his dreams would lead him.
By this time, he had left school and was attending college full time, he had signed up for the sports science course and was doing well. Then, illness struck.
It was just 2 days before his 19th birthday and we had a club league match at home. He was strapping himself into his basketball chair and preparing himself for the match when he collapsed.
His body folded over double and he had what we now know to be his first Grand Mal seizure. At the time however, we thought he had blacked out. The blackout lasted 20 minutes. It ranks up there as the most terrifying 20 minutes of my life to date. We had no idea what had happened, why he had blacked out, (as we thought) and we were waiting for the paramedics to arrive.
They arrived 15 minutes after we called and they took him to the nearest hospital.
By the time we arrived at the hospital, the boy was coming around and he was panicking, confused, he didn’t know what day it was, where he was, what had happened or what time it was. I explained what had happened and he was completely confused. He kept saying how could he have collapsed at the match when it’s only Friday, and the match is on Saturday? He was so anxious a doctor gave him a mild sedative to calm him down and he went to sleep for the whole day.
The doctor was not very forthcoming with a diagnosis for the boy. He was leaning towards it being a one off event, caused primarily by the strapping on the Boy’s chair possibly being pulled too tightly and cutting off his circulation which had caused the black out which had possibly caused a bump to the head which had possibly caused the confusion and disorientation! They would keep him overnight for observation but they weren’t concerned about him really. It could happen to anyone.
What a load of absolute bollocks! It was after this statement I considered I was possibly dealing with an imbecile.
I stripped down the doctor’s diagnosis for him with reasoned thinking and practical knowledge regarding the strapping and first hand knowledge of the order of events. I explained that the straps on the chair are Velcro straps and are preset in the chair and can only be pulled to a certain tension. You can not pull them any tighter, they are there to provide safety and security but not to overly restrain. He has been using the same chair for 4 years, if they were too tight surely the lack of circulation would have reared its ugly head way before now? At the very least they would have left imprints on his legs and we would have been alerted to them being too tight. Therefore that could not be considered the cause. I also explained very patiently, that he did not bang his head, even when he tipped forward and his chair tipped up two other players caught him before he hit the floor. Therefore the none bang to the head could not have caused the subsequent confusion when he had come around. I also asked the doctor why he was blatantly ignoring the fact that the boy had been unconscious for 20 minutes, why he had suffered a full body lock down, why his bowels had evacuated and why he had no memory of Saturday’s events before the ‘blackout’? Saturday morning had not happened for the boy at all. He was convinced it was Friday.
The doctor’s answer? I’m sure it must have felt like 20 minutes to you, but it was probably only a few minutes in reality. These things do happen and we lose all sense of time ourselves brought on by shock.
Apparently, so do 45 other people who were present when the boy collapsed. Who could all attest to the blackout lasting 20 minutes. The paramedics could also attest to the fact that he had been unconscious for a minimum of 15 minutes before they arrived as proved by the time the call had been placed and the content of the conversation had between myself and the emergency services operator, they could also attest to the fact that it was a further 5 minutes before he came round in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Ergo, it was not a shock induced phenomenon where 45 people had lost the ability to measure time, it was in actual fact 20 minutes!
The paramedics had been more forthcoming with a possible diagnosis of an epileptic seizure, they said that the other symptoms pointed to it being a grand-mal seizure, body lock down, (none of his limbs would move) bowel evacuation and the length of time he was out was also indicative of epilepsy, not to mention the level of confusion and disorientation he had suffered. They had not ignored the other symptoms, they had taken into account all of the relevant medical background information I had provided them with. The red flag for them to look towards epilepsy being the cause was the fact that he had a shunt fitted and has hydrocephalus. Therefore they erred on the side of caution and brought him to the hospital, and now here we were dealing with an imbecile of the first order. I despaired.
24 hours later and the boy was back at home with me and appeared to be absolutely fine! The most astonishing thing that happened in this 24 hours was that the moron formerly known as his father actually came to the hospital to see him. This was the first time we had seen him since I had filed for divorce some 6 months previously.
I was exhausted mentally and physically and so did not put up an argument when he had appeared on the ward. In the event, the boy was quite pleased to see him and thought that his father might actually care a little bit after all.
Obviously the narcissist disproved this theory before too much time passed but for the time being it was a salve for the boy’s emotional distress and worry about his changing health and what it could mean for his future.
An appointment was made with the GP and the real fight to prove epilepsy was the cause, began.
I will say right now, this period of the boy’s life and health concerns are still ranking as the worst time we have gone through together and that was taking into account 13 surgical operations, countless months spent in hospital and loss of mobility all put together. He was utterly devastated by this latest development.
I began to spend a great deal more time worrying and a lot less time sleeping…
All photos courtesy of the internet except the trophy cabinet, that belongs to the boy.