Epilepsy or Not?

Today we spent the morning at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) as it was time for Cayla’s EEG Test. We had to keep her up until 9pm last night and wake her up at 5am so she would be really tired and hopefully fall asleep during the test. They will get a more accurate reading if the patient is asleep.

Cayla woke up fine at 5am and at 6.30am we were all packed in the car with pillows, blankets and Dora the Explorer on the DVD player. It was pouring down with rain so no playing in the park outside PMH as we had first planned, instead we ran through the rain to the hospital’s cafe and bought coffees for us and juice for the kids. Nathan and Cayla were going crazy in the cafe, playing and running around.. I was really starting to wondering if she would fall asleep as our appointment was in only 45 minutes….. Anyway, we took the lift up to the Neurology department on level 6, registered our arrival and sat down in the waiting area. When they called Cayla’s name Mike took Nathan for a walk as only one parent could come with during the test.

A specially trained technician laid Cayla down on a bed, measured and marked points on her scalp and finally started to place all the electrodes. There was 26 of them, 25 on her head and one on her chest. Cayla was getting sleepy but didn’t want to lay completely still so the nurse called for backup. After about 15 minutes she was all bandaged up and it was time to give her a bottle of milk, turn the lights down and wait for her to fall asleep. It all went really well and after only about 20 minutes Cayla was fast asleep and I was struggling to keep my own eyes open as well….! When the test was nearly finished the technician used a special lamp with flashing light in front of Cayla’s eyes to see her brain’s response.

EEG (electroencephalogram) shows electrical activity of the brain called the brainwaves. The pattern of these brainwaves changes with age. The EEG may detect epileptiform discharges in people with epilepsy and sometimes in people without  epilepsy. Apparently many of the childhood epilepsies have characteristic epileptic activity on the EEG that may help make a specific diagnosis of the epilepsy syndrome and may help in deciding treatment. Cayla has never had any seizures so finger’s cross that she doesn’t have epilepsy or will develop it in the future. The EEG test today will be interpreted by a Neurologist and the results will be sent to our pediatrician Dr Kate Langdon within two weeks. I’ll keep you posted :)

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