Sunday, April 6, 2014

No Shortage of News... Days 5 - 7, Training at 4 Paws

Wow.  There is a lot to catch up on.  The biggest news happened yesterday (Saturday) morning, a little after 5:00 am.  Bill and I have been sleeping with Alec between us at the hotel.  We both woke up to Alec shaking and jerking his body, drooling profusely, very labored breathing/choking sounds, and dilated pupils.  Yup...his first seizure.  In the back of our minds we were prepared for this possibility.  When males with autism start to get closer to puberty (which Alec has entered early puberty, also common with autism), they are prone to developing a seizure disorder if they haven't had them before.  That is what we may be looking at.  So, 911 was called and Alec was taken to the local children's hospital.  The paramedics and hospital staff were great.  Because this was his first seizure, and we are from out of town, the doctor decided to hold off on any testing, unless he has another seizure while we are still here in Ohio.

I contacted his child psychiatrist by e-mail, thinking that it would be Monday or Tuesday before he could get back to us, but the information was too much to leave on a voicemail.  This is the doctor I like to refer to as "Dr. Awesome" because he responded within a few hours with a game plan for moving forward once we got home!  We've been on a waiting list for a hospital out of our area to do an EEG for seizure activity, but haven't received an appointment yet.  However - now that we have Rafi, we can have this test done at our local children's hospital that Dr. Awesome is affiliated with.  We were waiting on the facility (Strong Hospital in Rochester) that has a better track record for this test on autism spectrum children, but are confident we can get a good result with Rafi's help at Upstate :)

So, the good news is that we are surrounded by parents getting their dogs at 4 Paws whose children have seizure alert dogs.  These parents have been so helpful and supportive to us.  Also, we are not too late in training Rafi in barking to alert for a seizure!  Our biggest concern is that it will happen at home during the night and we won't hear it.  We got the instructions for training in today's class :)  Also found out that prior to Rafi being chosen as Alec's dog, he had some seizure alert training.  Besides the fact that this amazing dog is an excellent tracker for search and rescue, and very strong for tethering, we couldn't have asked for a more perfect match for Alec.  4 Paws delivered, and then some!  These trainers are simply amazing.

Some cute things -- his main trainer Jennifer has a few nicknames for him, and we have adopted one of them because he responds so well to it.  She called him "Fiquers" (from his original name Rafiq).  Pronounced: fee-kers.  It's too cute, so Bill and I have been using it :)  We have also learned that he chases his own tail.  For real - all you have to do is show him his tail and wiggle it!  Adorable...

Here are some photos from the past few days:

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