Four-year-old Robby Miller is one of 470,000 children in the United States living with
epilepsy. (photo courtesy LeAnn Gulrud)
One in ten people will have a seizure in their lifetime. One in 26 will develop epilepsy.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, 470,000 children in the United States are living with epilepsy. One of those children is silly, superhero-loving, Robby Miller. Four-year-old Robby is his family’s resident dinosaur expert and Lego tower builder. He is also living with Myoclonic Atonic Epilepsy (MAE), otherwise known as Doose syndrome.
Robby and his parents, Michelle and Will, live in New Hampton. Michelle is a Decorah High School graduate, and her parents Garry and LeAnn Gulrud still live in Decorah. A pediatric/NICU RN of 14 years, Michelle currently works at St. Mary’s NICU in Rochester, so on Dec. 14, 2020, when she found Robby face down on the floor, her nursing instincts kicked in immediately.
Michelle recalled, “I was working for the COVID Nurse Triage Line, so I was working from home. Will was home as well, taking care of Robby. I had just gotten off a triage call and I went to see what they were doing. I saw Robby lying face down on the kitchen floor. I wasn’t sure what had happened. When I went to him, he didn’t respond. I rolled him over and his eyes were open but he was limp. He was lying in a pool of saliva. I screamed for Will to call 911. Robby had a pulse. Out of pure adrenaline, I started to perform the Heimlich Maneuver to see if maybe he had choked on something. After a few thrusts, I tried to check his airway with a finger sweep, but his teeth
were tightly clenched. At that point, I suspected a seizure, but this was not a type of seizure I had ever seen in my
nursing career.” There was a delay in
the ambulance’s arrival and Robby remained
very non-responsive. “I was a bit impatient and
absolutely terrified, so I decided we would drive
him to our local ER ourselves.” Michelle continued,
“In the ER, they too, suspected a seizure. Testing came back normal and we
were given the option to take him home and monitor him or admit him to
our local hospital overnight to see if it happened
again. Because of my nursing background and my close relationship with his pediatrician, I asked if we could be transferred to Allen Hospital in Waterloo. The night in the hospital was uneventful,
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Inset photo-Robby is pictured while being monitored by EEG in the hospital. (submitted photo)