I Always Feel Like... Somebody's Watching Me!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A "Blue-Out"

Jackson has a very distinct habit of "blue-outs", i.e. almost losing consciousness. It's not quite a black-out, but he comes extremely close. On a good day we can expect at least one. On a bad day we might see them every hour. But how does it get to this? Let me explain.

Step 1: Start to cry.
Step 2: Deep breath in, turn red... then purple....then blue....
Step 3: Continue to breath in, become too upset to breath out.
Step 4: Lose all energy, go limp and finally let out a weak cry/breath.

Such an event is usually triggered by either myself or Gregory leaving the house (or the room, for God's sake). It can also be as minor as Jackson not being picked up immediately or his being yelled at for any reason. He will do this anywhere: on the steps, in the kitchen, bathtub or crib. He will also do this with any family member or babysitter.

Over the weekend, I witnessed the most severe blue-out yet. Gregory has seen them several times when Jackson has fallen over due to the lack of air. The dramatic event that inspired this particular blue-out? Washing his hands in the sink.

I was holding Jackson as the tantrum began and he held his breath for probably close to a minute. But the terrifying part was that after his breath returned and he had cried a little, his eyes rolled back into his head and he appeared to just fall asleep. He laid in my arms, non-responsive (but breathing) while I tried to get him to look at me. He would open his eyes, a little blurry but then close them again. Absolutely terrifying. I knew that he hadn't hurt himself or had a seizure, but to not be able to revive your child - even for 10 seconds - is panic inducing.

How safe is it to let this continue? Or the more realistic question is: how can we possibly do anything to prevent it? Any extreme measure to snap him out of the tantrum would only make it worse. This is something Jackson has always done, even as an infant. The most we can hope for is to always be close enough to hold on to the poor boy so he doesn't blue-out in a dangerous position.

Will I be warning his 1st grade teacher about said temper tantrums? I know life can be dramatic for a toddler, but these blue-outs really take it to the extreme.


  1. Having witnessed said "blue-out", I can agree it was quite frightening! But you were very calm the entire time.

    Apparently I used to do this when I was a kid, and the doctor told my mom not to worry about it (easy for him to say!) Then I just grew out of it. I don't think it lasted very long.

  2. He'll grow out of it.