Friday, 27 July 2007

The medical check-up...seizure? MRI scan?

We brought the baby to see his paed who did a thorough physical check-up i.e.
- weight, head measurements
- general eyesight and trailing of moving objects
- hearing
- reflexes - tapping of knees, elbows
- locomotion - on his tummy and back
- gross motor skills - he's been pulling himself up on his feet since the 5th month (he can't wait to walk!)
- fine motor skills - he grabs objects eagerly and can also rake objects towards him.

He demonstrated good, timely development on all of the above, which puzzled her. One theory is that his nervous system is still immature, though it's unusual for a baby going onto 6 months. To be sure, she recommended a blood test to check his calcium and magnesium levels, an EEG and aCAT/MRI scan.

We agreed to the blood test but after seeing the stress and the 2 pricks he got from them, I kind of regret putting him through it. I was asked to step out as she said it's difficult but on hindsight, I should have been there to calm him down.

Hubby said he's wrapped with a cloth to prevent him from moving and the minute they did that, he started yelling. Because he's chubby, she warned that it could be tough finding his veins. The yelling went on and on that I got really anxious and asked if it was done. They probably couldn't hear me amidst the pandemonium and I got more anxious that I knocked on the door, asking if I could go in.

Call me a drama queen but how do you expect me to react when I see 2 ladies holding down my baby and using syringes etc on him while he's yelling his head off and his Dad trying hard to calm him down?

Even before going in, I was already holding back tears imagining his pain as his yells became louder and stronger that I immediately broke down when I went in. He doesn't listen to anyone (except me) when he starts screaming so when I held his face and kissed him, he immediately opened his eyes and calmed down.

Paed assured me that he wasn't screaming from pain since she sprayed a local anaesthetic over the area but he was probably not happy from being pinned down. They couldn't get any blood from the prick in his hand but thankfully, they got what they needed from his ankle area.

If they didn't, I'd probably call off the whole thing than have him get pricked again! I'm very anti-syringes since I was admitted to hospital once and was used as a pin cushion by some stupid trainee nurse who still couldn't get the IV needle in even after the 4th jab!

After they were done, I gave him a drink of water and carried him to the shop to see some stuff. Soon, he was smiling again but I think he was quite stressed up over it. As I suspected, both tests came back normal.

The paed is worried that the tremors/shakes we observed are mild fits/seizures. I asked if she suspected a growth/tumor but she said it's less of that but more of abnormal brain activity e.g. epilepsy. She did ask us to be very, very sure of what we are seeing.

As it's a gap of 3 months since I last saw it and also I was napping with him when I saw it last week, hubby commented that my observation is not 100% accurate and that it could be pee shivers. I do agree with him on this but the thing that bothers me is that he was turning over and his arm was in the air - I saw his arm, his head and his body shaking as he did that, which lasted a few seconds. Was I seeing things???

We are not that keen to bring him for the MRI scan since there is no history of epilepsy in either of our families and more importantly, his shakes do not occur in such a frequency that would warrant immediate attention. My parents and a lot of the older folks advise us to have a 'wait-and-see' approach first.

I also heard and read that there are babies out there who outgrow this, which is why we don't want to jump the gun. But we will definitely bring him in again if we see a repeat episode.

For now, he is back to his bouncy self and we pray that he will continue to be so. Anyone out there with a similar experience? Do share...

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Watershedfork:
Kittycat, if it’s a form of epilepsy (and there’s a number of causes and many physical presentations) your child may well develop quite normally both physically and intellectually. There does not need to be a family history for epilepsy to occur in a person. I do MRI scans and see many people and know others personally who live well and are happy. Trust you instincts as to whether or not what you saw was real and trust your doctor, but also be prepared to ask for second opinions and explanations if you are not in agreement or do not understand something. I’ll check back in a few days if you want some more infomratin about MRI scans.


MRI scans are one of the most effective means of examining the brain (and rest of the body) without surgery. They provide both anatomic and physiologic information using strong magnetic fields and radiowaves. No x-rays or other forms of ionising radiation are used. The biolobigical effects of the magnetic field and the RF are generally considered to be the safest of all the imaging scans available.
Brain scans take up to 30 minutes. For this reason, an MRI scan on an infant or toddler would most likely involve a general anaesthetic, they need to remain quite still. Depending on the strength of the scanner used, it may be very noisy, so hearing protection in the form of ear plugs or muffs would be used. A series of scans in different planes (angles) and with different criteria are taken. The result is several sets of images, each displaying different characteristics. Sometimes, an injection of a contrast medium (gadolinium) may also be given into a vein to highlight areas of increased or decreased blood flow. The combination of all the images, all the data, provides a large volume of information that assists in the assessment of developmental anatomy, pathology and physiology.
When the scan is complete, your child would be taken to a recovery area, where Lucas would be brought out of the anaesthetic and monitored to ensure he’s OK. In most cases, the child is not required to remain in hospital overnight, although you would need to check on the particular hospital’s protocol.
During the procedure, you would likely be asked to wait in a separate area. The reasons are numerous, but basically the scan area is a tightly controlled environment, for the safety of both patients and staff. The magnet commands respect. There will be a number of people involved in your child’s scan – it can be busy and crowded. There’s also the privacy of other patients to consider. Their private details will no doubt be somewhere in the vicinity and often several cases are at being managed at once, as they are at different stages in the examination process. Very often, two staff handle different cases at the same time, to keep the workflow going.
The staff are all highly trained and there for each patients’ safety and best treatment. An MRI would give more information than a CT scan.
Hope this helps.

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