seizure cry

For the last three days Calvin’s mania has been building like steam in a pressure cooker. It has mostly manifested in hysterical laughter, the kind that should be contagious, but lately is only worrisome.

Yesterday morning at breakfast it took twice as long as usual to feed him, pausing between bites hoping he’d chew the morsel of sausage resting precariously on his tongue. He tipped his head back in laughter and shook it side to side like some sort of sick Stevie Wonder or Linda Blair impression. A couple of times the chunk of unchewed food lodged for a moment in his throat and caused him to cough it up. He just couldn’t focus on the task of eating. Michael and I both knew his behavior was likely a bad omen but there was nothing we could do but sit, wait and hope.

Later, Calvin was too ramped up to nap, like the Energizer Bunny on speed. I had expected a seizure to arrive Wednesday night. It didn’t. Instead, it came last evening in the bath after forty-five minutes screaming his head off in the car on the way home from the endocrinologist.

In the bath, as I was relieving his nurse, Calvin's mind-rattling shrieking continued. Maniacally, he spun and splashed and knelt—up and down up and down up and down. At one point Calvin pitched onto his forehead with a dull iron clunk then resumed his cranked-up form. Moments later an inhuman yet sadly familiar cry— swollen and tight—bled out of him as he pitched forward onto his crown again. “Seizure,” I cried, and swooped him up dripping, rigid and convulsing, his eyes rolled back in his head.

I laid his twitching body on our bed, checked the clock, covered and dabbed him with a towel the nurse brought. A low angle of sunlight streamed in through the windows, his tiny goosebumps casting shadows like braille on his smooth, fair thighs. Two and a half minutes later, he was coming out of it saying “uh-uh”—mama.

Michael had come swiftly and stayed by Calvin's side while I hurried downstairs to prepare his evening meds to give to him early, before he'd drift off to sleep. We propped up his head with several down pillows and a Boppy. Calvin was able to take his meds without food like the star that he is. Back downstairs I weighed yogurt, oil and mashed blackberries, which I fed to him by the spoonful. Calvin’s heavy lids won over his hunger and he fell asleep between bites, his pale skin fine as a porcelain doll, soft as a warm peach and more precious than any words can describe.

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