on the rise

I started expecting another seizure two days ago, and when I do they usually arrive—most unwelcome—within that length of time. Today, day eight, it arrived.

Michael and I brought Calvin to specialist number umpteen this morning to try and get a handle on these relentless seizures. We’ve maxed out one of Calvin’s two anticonvulsant drugs and the other one hasn’t proved any more effective as we’ve increased its dose, in fact he’s having them more often since we have.

There’s a list of usual harbingers of an impending seizure—for Calvin, that is. He laughs hysterically—practically collapsing—sometimes at nothing at all. I figure he must be having some sort of aura where sights, sounds and/or smells seem funny. His gait is steady and controlled, his balance incredible. I find myself saying, “Calvin is walking the best of his life today!” followed by, “so I guess we got it coming.”

When we got home from the functional medicine clinic—a nutritionally based treatment form—Calvin and I strolled around the yard a bit, holding hands while he touched his favorite trees and rhododendrons, patted the weathered wooden chairs and tried to bite the iron garden bench. We kissed Michael goodbye on his way to take photos of the river. I slid Calvin into his johnny-jump-up, put on some music and parked on the couch to post to my blog, glancing up at Calvin as I do.

Suddenly, Calvin arched back and pitched sideways in the jumper, his face red, his body writhing. “Oh, shit!” I yelled, and leapt off the couch to unbuckle the straps. His body was completely rigid, contorted into a trembling crescent-shaped wrought iron rail. He was turning blue and I couldn’t get him out, his legs clamped together, his feet stuck crippled inwards in a rigor mortis cramp. I hoisted him high on my shoulder parallel to the ground as if hauling a great log, reached out and tugged the jumper saddle with all my might. I needed to get him on his side so he wouldn’t aspirate. His feet freed then tangled in the blue nylon straps for a second. All the while he continued jerking in my arms.

I got him to the couch and onto his side, whispering, “I love, you Calvin, I love you sweetie.” His smooth skin looked wan and waxy, a sickly greenish cast like glow-in-the-dark paint plastered his face.

When it was over I swept Calvin into my arms and hauled him up the stairs to his bedroom. He’s really like a sack of potatoes, I thought, and when I laid him on the changing table he collapsed in on himself like a noodle, chin to his chest rolling into a little ball, then unfurled as if a corpse.

He’s asleep now. I’m watching him—listening. That’s already three this month. I think they’re on the rise again, these most unwelcome beasts.

Please share.

photo by Michael Kolster

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