Monday, November 8, 2004

Dear Doctor

Dear Dr. XXXX (the doctor at the IA clinic I used),

This is Paula writing to you from Russia. We went to court last week, however, even with your great letter, we did not get our 10-day wait waived. So we will be here until 11/20.

I have one concern I would like to ask your opinion about. I was given custody of Henry while we wait, so he is here with me in the hotel. A few nights ago, I was putting the scabies cream on him and he got pretty upset (he is 15 mos old). He started crying and was inhaling to let out a big wail. He kept inhaling and inhaling and it was like he got stuck. Then he started turning blue. Obviously this freaked me out big time. I had no idea what to do. He wasn't choking on anything. I tried patting him on the back and talking to him. I think at some point, he must have passed out because then he was back to normal and even stopped crying. I think now I am a little over-sensitive. He has not turned blue again, but there are times when he is crying where he seems to just not be able to breath.

I have read that sometimes children will hold their breath when they are upset and that they will eventually pass out and then be fine. I am hoping that this is the case of what is happening here. This is making me so nervous that I can hardly eat or sleep.

Do you have any words of advice for me on this topic? Thank you for any assistance you can provide -- even if only to give me some peace of mind. You can email me back or call me at the hotel (I am in room 315). I am in Vladivostok and we are 16 hours ahead of Houston.

And the response I received:

What you describe sounds exactly like a breath holding spell. The good news is that children cannot hurt themselves-- they will pass out first. But I agree it is a very scary thing to see! Your instincts were absolutely correct; the best thing to do is try to help them calm down and “catch their breath”. Lots of holding time (if he is amenable to it) may also help as he learns to trust you some more.

It is not a seizure or anything else, and the more you two get to know each other, the better it will get—mostly because you will get used to reading his “signs”.

Take care,


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