serial seizures

Tuesday I logged in Calvin’s journal, “AMAZING WALKING + HYPER IN BATH + PRICKLY RASH ON NECK = SUSPECT SEIZURE SOON.” Yesterday, ten minutes after he fell asleep at naptime I heard him stir so I sprinted upstairs to look in on him. His eyes were half-mast and glassy, as if just about to drift off, but his unresponsiveness told me he had likely had one of his short, stealthy partial seizures. I stayed and watched him, holding my breath, until he fell asleep again.

Later, as I was washing dishes, I heard him again. He didn't cry out but the lip-smacking sound and rhythmic swishing of his sheets gave it away. He was full-on in a tonic-clonic seizure when I reached him.

I kept him on his side and removed his covers so he wouldn’t pull a muscle against them. His cheeks were flushed and patchy even amongst his grayish complexion and purple lips. For nearly three minutes convulsions ripped through his body so that I could hear the exchange of air in his gut. When it was over a few whimpers managed to escape his lips, but he continued to twist and writhe in its wake.

Soon his heavy lids closed again only to open minutes later into a partial seizure, his face red and hot, eyes vacant and watery as a pool. I scooped him into my arms and ran to our bed thinking this seizure would roll right into another tonic-clonic for which I’d have to administer emergency rectal Valium. But no sooner than we had reached the bed he snapped out of it.

Lying next to him as he fell back to sleep I thought, how many times have I stared out this window crying after Calvin has had a seizure? At dawn, in the dead of night, at twilight—and now. The promise of spring is in the air. Winds bend, whip and swirl the pines, their dark blueish-green tufts mingling with neon maple buds the color of perfect yellowy avocado flesh. At the ends of shoots tiny apricot-tinted flecks float above a deep emerald field that, like watercolor, fades to lime, then gold and finally the luminescent rose-copper of fallen needles. It is a beautiful day—outside.

As I lost myself in the scene beyond my window Calvin awoke to another partial seizure. I grabbed the Valium gel vial, unsnapped his corduroys and ripped open his diaper, pulled it down, inserted the tip and pushed the plunger. An ocean of sedation washed over and drown my boy, though he tried to fight it. Reaching out he pulled me close, his soft little hands firmly gripping the back of my neck. He wouldn’t let me go ... wouldn’t let me go. We both fell asleep, our faces touching. He’s more beautiful than ever when he sleeps, I sometimes think, so peaceful, his large almond-shaped eyelids relaxed and smooth, his parted lips full and rose-red as they should be.

Sleep baby, sleep.

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