“We had some stuff going on at our high school at the time and the first thing that came to mind was did she take something?” said Tori’s mom, Tricia. “She was so out of it after she stopped convulsing, she couldn’t answer any of my questions. I didn’t know that was a typical side effect of someone who had just suffered a grand mal seizure.”
Tori’s worried parents took her to their local ER in Alliance where she was subsequently transported to Akron Children’s for observation and testing on the hospital’s epilepsy monitoring unit.
The inpatient unit uses advanced video electroencephalogram (EEG) technology to simultaneously record brain wave activity, as well as video, to help Tori’s doctor determine if her seizure originated from her brain.
During her stay Tori was given a blanket lovingly made by volunteers who donate comfort items to the hospital to be distributed to inpatients.
“Tori was touched that a stranger would do that,” said Tricia. “It really stuck with her.”
“Olga and Tori just clicked,” said Tricia. “A hospital isn’t someplace most people would describe as comfortable, but Tori had a level of comfort with the medical team that was reassuring to me as a parent. I knew she was in good hands.”
Tori was eventually diagnosed with a generalized seizure disorder doctors believe initiated from a small, benign cyst they found on her brain. Upon the advice of their neurologist, Tricia and her husband chose not to put Tori on any medication – a strategy that worked for a while.
After being seizure-free for almost a year, Tori was back in the epilepsy monitoring unit after suffering another grand mal seizure.
“Tori was again cared for by Olga,” said Tricia. “Having already established a relationship with Olga and the same nurse who cared for her before made Tori’s second stay less anxiety-filled for all of us.”
After some trial and error and some nasty medication side effects, Tori’s doctor was finally able to find the right mix of medications to keep her seizures at bay.
“Tori turned 16 in March and all her friends are driving,” said Tricia. “She wants to as well. We come back to Children’s in October to see if she can get the all-clear from her doctors to obtain her license.”
In the meantime, Tori made another trip back to Children’s for an entirely different reason – to present 5 handmade blankets to Olga. This time the blankets were made by her, with a little help from some friends.
“She never forgot the kindness that was shown to her as a patient,” said Tricia. “She wanted to do the same and give back.”