Skip

Never put anything in their mouth
May 23, 2008 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Graphic epilepsy seizure footage - "[The] piece of footage was shot with the assistance of our friend David, in January 2003, at the repeated insistence of my wife Christine. She wanted to know what happened to her body while she was seizing, and we were under standing orders to catch any footage possible... Upon viewing this footage a few days later, she was shocked and astonished, as one could well imagine."
posted by urbanwhaleshark (39 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very interesting, but I'm not quite sure why all the "graphic!" warnings; I wouldn't want anyone I loved to have to go through it, and I'm aware that it's life-threatening, but it didn't look that awful.
posted by languagehat at 3:30 PM on May 23, 2008


Also I am glad she seems to be doing better.
posted by Mr_Zero at 3:39 PM on May 23, 2008


That was really interesting. I was actually very impressed with the calm narration and the captions which helped to explain what was going on.

Even though it felt a bit like an advertisement for legalizing marijuana, it was still a fascinating look into someone's condition. I'm glad she was on board with releasing this footage, because it allowed me to examine something I've never seen up close.

To be honest, now that I've seen it, I think I would be far less terrified and more able to react if this happened to someone around me.

Still, it makes me feel a little uneasy seeing someone in such a vulnerable state.
posted by quin at 3:40 PM on May 23, 2008


Even though it felt a bit like an advertisement for legalizing marijuana

Some things don't need to be advertised.
posted by Dave Faris at 3:43 PM on May 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Awesome video, I've been on the seizing end so its interesting to see it from the other side.
posted by CWODave at 3:44 PM on May 23, 2008


Never put anything in their mouths? I thought it was important to put something too big to swallow for them to bite on--like a leather wallet or something, to prevent the biting off of the tongue.
posted by dobbs at 3:54 PM on May 23, 2008


To be honest, now that I've seen it, I think I would be far less terrified and more able to react if this happened to someone around me.

I completely agree with this and I think this footage had that view in mind. The article I linked to is basically a reply that this is Freak Show footage. If anything it shows that epilepsy is not freakish and is helping to dispel that myth.

Particularly the myth that those who are going through a seizure should have something (a wallet, for example) placed in their mouth to stop them chewing through their tongue, something that I learned sometime ago - to my astonishment - thanks to askme (and, I think Ikkyu2).
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:59 PM on May 23, 2008


Wow, that was intense. She's a brave person for struggling with such a disorder and for sharing such a vulnerable moment in her life.
posted by hojoki at 4:01 PM on May 23, 2008


My mother used to have such kind of seizures, the first one she had was when I was 11 and It was who found her seizing and it scared the shit out of me.
posted by zouhair at 4:01 PM on May 23, 2008


I think that's a common misconception. You run the risk of them breaking all their teeth out (or biting your finger off) if you do that.
posted by untuckedshirts at 4:02 PM on May 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ikkyu2 on the subject. Notice he covers the breathing issues described in the vid.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:07 PM on May 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


In elementary school they taught us you're never supposed to put things in people's mouths, when they're having a seizure. I guess it was a pretty common misconception.
posted by delmoi at 4:12 PM on May 23, 2008


Mrs. the dief looks like that when she has 'em too. I've never been near a video camera when they've gone off though. It's tremendously unnerving, even though I've observed so many of them by now. You really never get used to it, and since hers happen when she's sleeping, it's very hard for me to get back to sleep after a round. Luckily, she doesn't do the fight or flight thing, although I was kneed in the junk once.

It's wonderful that the Youtube video is up -- I find that people have really weird conceptions on what happens during a seizure, so it's good to see a real one.
posted by the dief at 4:18 PM on May 23, 2008


wow.
posted by rmd1023 at 4:20 PM on May 23, 2008


This is basic first aid stuff that should be learned in school IMHO. The myths can actually cause real harm. I had a grand-mal a couple years ago and was totaly blessed that I was with an RN at the time. It really lessened the feelings of shame when I came out of it. No one should have to go through that.

Thanks for the excellent contribution this post has provided.
posted by johnj at 4:21 PM on May 23, 2008


To be honest, now that I've seen it, I think I would be far less terrified and more able to react if this happened to someone around me.

I witnessed a grand mal seizure in a restaurant a few months ago—it was indeed terrifying and I wish I'd seen this beforehand. The young man came in to eat alone and nobody in the restaurant had any idea what was going on, let alone what to do. Thanks to Russell and Christine for putting this out there, and to urbanwhaleshark for the link.
posted by carsonb at 4:22 PM on May 23, 2008


Thanks for this. Forewarned is forearmed, and this helps people understand what's going on.
posted by bwg at 4:30 PM on May 23, 2008


I believe the video shows a so-called "grand mal" seizure. I once witnessed a person having what I believe was an absence seizure, which was previously called "petit mal".

I was working in a pharmacy, and while ringing this woman out I handed her a clipboard to sign, as this was a required part of the insurance payment. As anyone who works in a pharmacy will attest, customers can and do complain about anything and everything, especially insurance issues. Some people when angered will sort of freeze up and say nothing. I had no idea if I had done something that rubbed this woman the wrong way, as she just stood there, saying and doing nothing. After a protracted pause, I asked her again to sign the clipboard. No response. Finally her daughter came over who evidently was aware of her mother's condition, and roused her back to consciousness.

The woman had no memory of what just occurred, as she asked her daughter what just happened. Thankfully no damage was done, but it was a very strange and unnerving experience.

This is a very worthwhile front page post.
posted by Tube at 4:30 PM on May 23, 2008


she just stood there, saying and doing nothing.

I think that when you just need to press the reset button.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:36 PM on May 23, 2008


I believe the video shows a so-called "grand mal" seizure. I once witnessed a person having what I believe was an absence seizure, which was previously called "petit mal".

Though it is (for some reason) contentious here on MeFi, that's correct and the accepted medical term for grand mal seizures is now tonic-clonic seizures.
posted by The Bellman at 4:44 PM on May 23, 2008


Tube, one reason for me posting was that my sister suffered petit-mals for a while before getting help. My parents had pre-warned me, but it still didn't really prepare me. Granted it wasn't a tonic-clonic convulsion as I understand grand-mal's are now named, but it was still unnerving, while at the dinner table to see my sister to just stop. And then the following disorientation. That she is mentally disabled made it more difficult because she couldn't talk about the experience. Having seen this video, however, makes me understand that even if she was able, she probably wouldn't have been able to explain anyway.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:55 PM on May 23, 2008


In '97 a friend of mine, a long term cabin holder on the USS Poor Decisions, married a hippie drifter about a week after meeting her. On the day I and another friend met her for the first time, we were riding around late at night looking for something to eat when she decided that the events were boring and she needed to hang her boobs out the passenger window. That was amusing for about ten seconds, but for the five minutes after that it just became uncomfortable and gross.

As we're all sitting there waiting for her to wrap her rascals, the air thickens about her and she starts to sound a little disoriented. Her voice trails off and she slides to her knees beneath the dashboard, pulls out a hairspray-bottle sized inhaler, takes a puff, and falls into a naked, spastic grand mal seziure. Hubby, who has known her all of two weeks, acts nonchalant about the entire matter. Those of us in the back seat were torn between concern and basking in the Lynchian atmosphere of the scene, wondering if we should pull over and offer her some sort of help or just let the dice keep rolling in hopes of an upgrade to Tetsuo: Iron Man. In the end, she came around, pulled her clothes on, and it was just Vincent taking Mia home, post-overdose.
posted by bunnytricks at 5:39 PM on May 23, 2008 [6 favorites]


I think that when you just need to press the reset button.

As funny as that is, it is very accurate. My sister's family have these episodes. The kids just stop for a bit. We're very nonchalant about it 'cause we wanted our reactions about it, when they where children, to not harm their esteem. Essentially, they just get stuck. It's happened to me on occasion, too. My mom once explained to me that when it would happen, it was like I was stuck in a record groove. That helped me understand what was going on when I would "wink out." When an episode ends, a hand goes to the person's shoulder with a little squeeze, a mental note is taken, then everyone just moves on. Wish it could be that way for non-family members - school-chums, friends of the family, strangers.
posted by johnj at 6:08 PM on May 23, 2008


Wonderful post, thank you.
posted by subgear at 6:17 PM on May 23, 2008


I agree with subgear. Thanks for posting this! I live in a big city and I'm bound to encounter something like this one day. When I do, now I'll at least be able to identify what I'm witnessing so I can get the person the right kind of help.
posted by Cataline at 6:35 PM on May 23, 2008


Admittedly, we have received the occasional rude and often hateful comment, but these are just the dog-droppings of internet mongrels with nothing better to do. They mean nothing when weighed against the obvious benefits offered by our video.

I like these people. Great post, urbanwhaleshark, thanks - there's so much unnecessary shame and fear around this biological event.

dobbs: Never put anything in their mouths? I thought it was important to put something too big to swallow for them to bite on--like a leather wallet or something, to prevent the biting off of the tongue.

Yeah, that's wrong. As noted above, the chance you'll break the person's teeth is too high. Here's what my EMT-Basic training manual says:

Do not force anything into the mouth or between the teeth. You may actually do more harm by breaking the teeth...Do not place your fingers in the patient's mouth or place any object between the front teeth.

Just keep objects away from the person so she doesn't injure herself, and protect the head, arms and legs from knocking into stuff, but don't restrain the person or try to control the movements. You can loosen tight clothing like ties, collars, etc., but that's about it.
posted by mediareport at 7:46 PM on May 23, 2008


Wow. As mentioned by others, thank you for sharing this. I've never witnessed such -- but definitely feel somewhat better prepared to assist if I do encounter someone in this condition.

Watching the video was surreal - and heartbreaking. To literally lose your "humanity" for those few moments, your ability to reason and comprehend the world around you. My heart goes out to epileptics -- and those who love them and care for them.
posted by davidmsc at 7:57 PM on May 23, 2008


Nice trick. Draw me in by my morbid curiosity and then sneak in some valuable information about handling a crisis. Well done.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:02 PM on May 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is a great post- that video was informative, and witnessing a seizure aided by such a caring and nurturing husband makes it seem a lot less scary.
posted by self at 8:04 PM on May 23, 2008


Ever since I had one I've wanted to see what this kind of seizure looked like...wow. No wonder my mom was scared. Damn my tongue hurt from biting it.
posted by Stewriffic at 8:19 PM on May 23, 2008


This video is great, too, for its depiction of a person in a post-ictal state and how to handle it well.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 9:44 PM on May 23, 2008


A childhood friend of mine had an older sister who was mentally disabled (I don't recall the exact problem she had, it was a birth defect of some sort) and she used to have epic seizures, the kind that left her rolling around on the ground moaning like an animal and, after each was over, completely unaware as to what had happened.

These happened a lot, and while they freaked out most of our friends, I just took it in stride and helped my buddy assist her and keep her safe when it happened, if I was around.

Having said that: I can't bring myself to watch the video, because I was pretty young at the time, and I wonder now how much fear I might have been suppressing -- who wants to dredge that up? Still, this is a good thing to see if you have never seen a seizure of this sort, because it sure beats seeing it for the first time in person.
posted by davejay at 1:37 AM on May 24, 2008


My mother used to have such kind of seizures, the first one she had was when I was 11 and It was who found her seizing and it scared the shit out of me.

Ditto. The first time: came down to breakfast and found mom in full seizure. She had hit the cupboard and counter on her way down. Crockery shards, pancake batter and blood everywhere. Called the ambulance, kept her head padded and to the side so she wouldn't choke. Received my Life Scout level off that event. And a decent dose of PTSD.
posted by hal9k at 6:03 AM on May 24, 2008


Fascinating! Really quite different from the "seizures" you see on television shows, and worth watching, if only to reduce the shock of seeing something like that actually happening.

I think something like this video would be quite useful to carry around with yourself, if you're prone to seizures, to show to your friends or colleagues at work with some advice like "If you see me doing this don't panic, and please don't shove anything into my mouth".
posted by PontifexPrimus at 7:29 AM on May 24, 2008


When I was in high school, three of my immediate friends had epilepsy (two had grand mal seizures and one had petit mal, or whatever they're called these days). I always thought that was an interesting anomaly.

With three close friends on barbiturates, we always had a designated driver.
posted by workerant at 10:32 AM on May 24, 2008


Very worthwhile ffp. Thank you.
posted by humannaire at 11:26 AM on May 24, 2008


As everyone else has said, wonderful post. Thanks.
posted by GriffX at 1:57 PM on May 24, 2008


I appreciate the video -- one of my family members had a seizure a few years ago, and I like the husband's nonchalant behavior. Still, I'm calling 911 if anyone has a seizure around me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:05 PM on May 24, 2008


When I was around ten, a kid at my school managed the most dramatic time to have a seizure. He was climbing up to the windows behind the seats in gym to get a better view of the basketball game going on, promptly fell off with a loud crashing noise as he hit the wooden seats, and started shaking like mad, the game stopped, some girls cried, there was a little blood caused by broken glasses, the entire school was in shock but the teachers knew what to do and it was all over in five minutes. Then we had a quick recap on all the 'what to do when someone has a seizure' training that we had previously received. Nobody remembers who won the game, but everyone recalls what to do when someone has a seizure.
posted by dabitch at 1:50 AM on May 26, 2008


« Older Logo-rithms   |   Where are Mulder and Scully... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post