With three children, we're not unaccustomed to getting the occasional phone call from the school to tell us that one of the girls has become ill and needs to be picked up and taken home. Today's phone call about Abigail, however, was a little scarier: in addition to having a headache, nausea, and dizziness that made her unable to walk without someone to hold her up, she could not make sense when speaking to others and didn't seem to know where she was (e.g., she told the principal that she couldn't find her bedroom). The nurse at the clinic said there were no more appointments available for the day but recommended that we take Abigail to the emergency room, so off we went.
We had to wait a few minutes in the lobby of the emergency room, and Susan and I got more concerned the more we conversed with Abigail. She couldn't retrieve the correct words for what she wanted to say, so she would either pause to think and then lose track of what she had started saying, or she would say a word that made no sense in the context that she was using it. Susan struggled to hold back tears; and when Abigail noticed, she tried to comfort Susan but called her Suzanna.
Soon we were admitted to a room in which a woman asked Abigail and us some questions and recorded all the details. Then we were led to a room in the ER, where Abigail got into a gown and was hooked up to heart and pulse monitors. At that point, she seemed to perk up a bit, behaving more like her excited self . . . although she still couldn't tell where she was. When she was told that they would collect blood and urine specimens to run some tests, she got worried and started to cry; but that was short-lived after we explained the procedures and assured her that they were simple. (In fact, she didn't even notice the prick of the needle during the blood draw later.)
They wheeled her away for a CAT scan, too, and Susan and I had our doubts about whether Abigail could hold still long enough for the machine to finish scanning her! But afterward the nurse said that Abigail had done well. And best of all? In very little time, they gave us the results of the CAT scan and the blood and urine tests: everything was normal. That seemed to rule out a lot of scary options, such as a drug in her system, a tumor, an organ dysfunction, etc. But we still don't know what caused her crazy symptoms this afternoon.
By the time we checked out of the ER, Abigail's main symptoms were headache, fatigue, and slowed speech. Tomorrow she will stay home from school, and Susan will take her to our pediatrician to see what he thinks. After that, an EEG to see if Abigail may have had some kind of seizure . . . and, if necessary, visits to more specialists after that. What a terrifying afternoon!