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Incomplete Memories: Write it Down to Remember

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Over time, memories fade.  Its a fact of life.  But journaling will help you remember, and that is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way.

Ten years ago, I have a chunk of time that is simply a blur.  When my youngest son was a little over a year, he started having episodes that looked like seizures.  The very first time it happened, he had just eaten lunch, and I thought he was choking.  He turned blue, his eyes rolled back, and I was so panicked that I couldn’t remember anything I’d learned at infant CPR.  The next sequence of events is sketchy to me.   I remember calling 911 and I remember the ambulance coming, but I don’t remember how I got to the hospital.  I had my preschool age daughter and her friend with me.  I don’t remember if they came with me to the hospital or if my mother in law came over to watch them (my MIL lives next door so she can be here quickly).  I remember the panic and scared feeling and the relief when he started breathing again.  I don’t remember anything about the hospital.  ANYTHING.

After this first episode, this became a frequent occurrence.  My son was as white as a ghost, and was passing out almost on a daily basis.  Several times he went to the hospital in an ambulance.  No one could figure out why it was happening.  He also had another health issue at the same time that had to do with his blood cells, which the doctors felt was a separate issue.  So, while he was tested for epilepsy, he also was being tested for leukemia.  At one point, he had to have a transfusion.   This whole time period was extremely stressful on our family.  All I could do was focus on him….my mother in law helped me with our other two children, because I was a mess.  I was terrified each time he stopped breathing that he wouldn’t start again.  I was panicked because the doctors couldn’t figure out why it was happening.


This went on for months.  That time frame is a complete blur for me.  I remember lots of visits to the ER, and to the Yale Children’s Hospital.  I remember the one ER doctor that told me my son was probably having a temper tantrum and holding his breath till he passed out, which was definitely not the case, as evidenced by the concern of his doctors and the tests being run.  This comment was made after a second trip to the ER in one day, and needless to say I was not happy with that particular doctor.

Ultimately, it turned out to be a food allergy.  I spoke to my son’s former pediatrician who had retired, and she suggested I have him tested for allergies.  Sure enough, he was allergic to wheat.  Our doctors said the seizure like symptoms were unrelated, but all I know is, once we took him off wheat, it never happened again.  He was on a wheat free diet for two years before we got the go ahead that he was no longer allergic.

Today, he’s a healthy pre-teen.  I am so thankful that things turned out the way they did, and that it wasn’t a more serious condition.  It made me realize just how precious life really is.  I just wish I could remember more of the details.  My memories from this time are so incomplete.  Perhaps I blocked it out because it was such a difficult time.  But I wish I had kept a journal.  While this wasn’t a chapter in my life that I would ever want to re-live, it was a chapter I wish I had some documentation of, other than one scrapbook page.