I knew I shouldn't have been thinking it; but I couldn't help it. It has been a very longtime since Luke has had a seizure. And I think it was just lastnight that the thought entered my mind; "it's been a while." I try to never think it; at least out loud, because it always seems to predict a seizure in the not too distant future.
I don't know what caused the seizure; I was pretty involved with working up some photos when he came to tell me. I felt a nudge; thinking it was Tilley I turned to see what she needed. It was Luke with his tell-tale "I'm going to have a seizure" panic look on his face. He had waited a little bit too long to tell me and we were quickly on the ground and in it.
Luckily I had just picked up so we had a good open space to go through it. I held his weight as he slid to the ground and made myself as comfortable as I could. Before I knew it Luke was stiff; but still with me. His seizures are always the same; they consist of two very clear parts with a small break in the middle. This was the first part; the part where Luke is still with me.
He did some motioning with his legs but it's not the bad part. He started to relax in my arms and turned his head to make sure I was still there with him when he quickly slipped away from me. Physically he was still in my arms but my boy Luke was gone. With his eyes fixed in a horrified stare I held him tight to me. His body twists and contorts into positions that are not normal for a dog. I am very aware of his feet and try to stay clear of his face and teeth.
Luke has never bit during a seizure; which is something that can and does happen. But he has nailed me with his feet when they stiffen like boards and his claws grasp anything they can find. His rear legs come up way past his head and his breathing is strong and heavy. I do not let go; I hold him safely in my arms so that he doesn't hurt himself.
Within minutes I can feel him coming back; it takes a long time. In all it is almost 20 minutes before it starts to stop. If you have never seen a dogs face when they seize; it is very scarey and disturbing. Their eyes are fixed open wide enough that the white is showing. The first blink lets me know that he is starting the coming out process. His body relaxes but convulses from the tension it has been through.
This is a very dangerous stage for Luke; as soon as he starts to come out he wants to get up and wander but he is very wobbly and must be kept down. I try to keep him calm by talking to him until he surrenders and lays still. In all it takes up to 1/2 hour for him to be himself again. But even after that he will not let me out of his sight.
This is when I usually turn on the tv and get comfy. With Luke curled up next to me he relaxes and recovers from whatever hit him. He spends many hours afterwards looking for the invisible enemy. He sniffs the air; smells the spot where he drooled all over the carpet, stares at the ceiling in attempts to get a glimpse of the elusive demon that attacks him every so often.
I know he doesn't know what has happened to him when he has a seizure; but he definitely knows when he is going to have one. He always comes to get me; and if I am not around he will go to whoever is home with him. I think he has only ever had one seizure when no one was home; and this is a tough thing for me to even consider. I can't imagine him coming out alone.
I have successfully minimized several seizures by talking soothingly to him throughout the ordeal. If I can keep him with me and not let him slip into the "gone" zone I'm happy. When he goes into the "gone" zone it get's bad, real bad. Several years ago I thought I'd give keeping him with me a try by constantly talking to him and it has worked off and on.
Having switched the dogs to a completely homemade diet for over 2 years now Luke rarely seizes. When he does; we get through it the best we can and I always hope that I'm here when it happens.