lightning strikes

Calvin slept well through the night then awoke at 5:15 a.m. banging on the crib side, as he does every morning, wanting to get out. Sometimes, and if it is very early, I lay him back down under the covers encouraging him to fall back to sleep. Today I brought him into our bed. Michael had spent the night in Boston. As Calvin lay next to me he was restless and squirming. I detected a few suspicious jitters and jolts but I was reassured—at least partly and for a time—by his hugs.

But at six o’clock, while in my embrace, a lightening bolt struck him solid, the seizure’s alchemy transforming his supple body into a steel rod. I watched the seconds tick into minutes. None of my kisses, caresses or words halted the convulsions that ripped through his body and brain. After a minute and a half he started to breath—horrible, constricted gasps—but breaths nonetheless. Then came his contorted, terrified expression as his quivering limbs, cramped and mangled, rose into the air.

In the dim light of the dawn, the seizure having stopped, and after half an hour of tossing, turning and rubbing his forehead in his hands, an odd lopsided grimace appeared on his face. I had seen this type of seizure before. And though it was still thirty minutes until dosing time I opened his mouth and dropped the tiny, round white pill onto the back of his tongue, chased it with a little water and grieved for my boy's suffering.

Many like to say that there is some divine plan in the making of Calvin, and so it follows, of suffering seizures that beat the living daylights out of him and waste his brain, and thus, of the need to stuff him full of toxic chemicals that debilitate him further. They say there is a purpose to his torment, or in other words that he needs to suffer—that he must suffer—to fulfill some higher design. And while I know these believers have the best of intentions in justifying the scourge of Calvin's epileptic storms, I don’t buy it. I never have. I never will.



  1. Ann Landerholm-BurkeDecember 21, 2010 at 1:05 PM

    You are very right. There is no good reason why any person should have to suffer and most of all, an innocent child. It breaks my heart that it happens and it breaks my heart when people try to justify it, with anything more than it's just so horribly wrong.
    Giant hometown hugs to you.

  2. I just rode in the car for five hours with a guy who thinks epilepsy is just part of the human condition, God's plan blah, blah, blah and therefore not deserving of more attention, funding and research.

    I say he's an ignorant dumbfu*@.

    I'm still a little slack-jawed about it.

  3. whoa. they are out there. ignorant to be sure.