“We were going through a very scary time.”
That’s how Sherry Eddleman describes the day her 13-year-old granddaughter Alexis Thompson’s life took a terrifying turn, when she began having uncontrollable outbursts and exhibiting strange behavior. Little did Sherry know that nerve-racking day would repeat itself for four long months as she traveled the city looking for experts who could help her precious little “Lexie.”
Alexis doesn’t remember much from those days, but her grandmother recalls how they eventually found help at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and IU Health Neuroscience.
The outbursts began in early 2012, not long after Alexis’ thirteenth birthday. The frightening and, at times, dangerous outbursts would happen just about anywhere—at home, school, even parties. One episode was so bad it caused Alexis to run into oncoming traffic. Another caused her jump into the air and crash into a piece of furniture, breaking her nose.
Some doctors thought she was just acting out and said her outbursts were symptoms of psychological problems. But her grandmother refused to accept this, saying, “Something else had to be wrong. Her episodes were just too weird.”
Alexis suffered these terrifying and exhausting episodes several times a day for four months, with some of them lasting up to seven minutes. As a result, Lexie missed out on a lot of school and sleep, and wasn’t able to play with her friends as much.
“It was extremely upsetting,” said Sherry. “We went to experts at different hospitals throughout the city and no one could tell us what exactly was going on. It was frustrating because the people who were supposed to know how to help weren’t able to tell us what was wrong with Lexie.”
Alexis was eventually referred to IU Health Methodist Hospital, where adolescent psychiatrists consulted with pediatric neurologists at Riley at IU Health. Experts believed she was suffering from epilepsy-related seizures—or electrical storms in the brain—and transferred her to the neuromonitoring unit at Riley at IU Health. There, expert neurodiagnostic technologists used a special monitoring system to observe and record her brainwave activity in real-time, 24 hours a day. IU Health was the first in the nation to develop this real-time brain monitoring system and continues to lead the way in providing the optimal model of care for this service.
It made a huge difference for Lexie. After a grueling four months, doctors correctly diagnosed her with seizures and immediately began making changes to help her. Within 48 hours of real-time brainwave monitoring, doctors were able to bring Alexis’ seizures under control. This abrupt end to her seizures came as a result of continuous medication adjustments made possible by the blending of state-of-the-art technology and advanced care delivery.
“She hasn’t had a single seizure since,” said Sherry. “Riley at IU Health made all the difference.”
Within a month after leaving Riley, Alexis was making up for lost time, spending her summertime playing with her friends and getting back to those activities she had missed for too long.
Learn more about 24/7 neuromonitoring at IU Health.