Or at least, the first deliberate one. We had to keep him up all night in order to do a sleep-deprived EEG at the hospital to test to see if his little 'tuning out' episodes were actually seizures.
Keeping a five year old up all night. Piece of cake. Right?
Actually, we did all right. We sent Nathan over to his grandparents' for the night so that he would get a decent night's sleep at least. Then we took Alex out on the town, taking a long tour of Wal-mart, then a visit to his grandmother's and finishing off by getting ice cream at McDonald's at 11:30 at night. Alex was just thrilled. He kept looking at us with a little furrowed brow, as if he was wondering why we weren't telling him to go to bed but he wasn't going to remind us.
From midnight until about 6 am, we played Wii. We borrowed the console and Wii Resort so that we would have something new and active to engage him with. His favourite games are the island flyover, where he likes to make the plane crash and see the little Mii shoot up with a parachute, and the Frisbee dog catch. We are now experts at Wii Frisbee. He also insisted that we could only use Daddy's Mii.
We had a lull around 2:30 until about 4 am where we had to keep shaking him awake. But we gave him a couple of lollipops which got him over the hump. He also got a lot of water and ricemeal to help keep him going.
At 6 am, he decided he wasn't having fun anymore. But at that point we knew that if he napped, he would get enough energy to make the whole exercise a waste of time. So despite how awful it felt to keep on waking him up and having him cry, we kept going (thank the gods for caffeine). He even asked us "Alex sleep?" and it was so hard to tell him that he had to stay awake.
I am pleased that despite being exhausted ourselves, there was no point where either of us came close to losing our tempers. And this despite the fact that we each have a few bruises from where he tried to stop us from holding him up.
We got him to the hospital for a 10:30 appointment without letting him sleep in the car. He tried to fight the electrodes again but didn't have the strength to really push it. About halfway through the test, he fell asleep.
We haven't gotten the official results from the test yet but the preliminary readings suggest that there is no evidence of seizures or epilepsy. The suggestion is that he's just daydreaming and, being autistic, it's harder to pull him out of it than one might expect. That is very good news and a definite relief. One less thing to worry about.