I sense them coming, the fierce seismic temblors in Calvin’s brain. In the days before a seizure I see the pressure building, like a strained fault line, in a sick crescendo of screaming, hyperactivity, eye-poking and fingering—the obsessive rubbing of his fingers and thumbs together—smack in front of his face, often with a vexed expression, his teeth clenched under fiery eyes.

It has only been just over a week since Calvin’s last seizure, though I’ve been expecting one since Saturday night. In the days and hours before one strikes there are moments when I hardly recognize my kid as human, more like a rabid dog or a neurotic, pacing animal trapped in an iron-barred cage.

This morning at four-thirty the fault line released its wrath on Calvin’s brain and he cried out from his crib. It’s been very hot these past few days, the air humid and close like a shroud, so the blankets that pad Calvin’s crib were rolled up like an awning to allow the flow of cool air. When I reached him his crooked arm was caught through the crib rungs making it difficult to extract in order to get him onto his side safely. Michael and I stroked his smooth torso and waited for the temblor to stop.

And like most earthquakes, Calvin experiences aftershocks, little tremors and shudders in the minutes, sometimes hours, after his seizure. Often it’s difficult to know the difference between a seizure and an aftershock. I placed my hand flat on my boy’s chest to feel his heart pounding reliably but not frenzied, which calmed my nerves some. I felt gas bubbling and pinging in his gut like hot water in an old radiator that needs bleeding. His eyes rocked like a metronome in their sockets but his skin was right, his lips pink and reassuring.

At last he fell asleep between us, still and quiet, his eyes slightly open under his pretty lashes. With my hand resting on his supple thigh I fell into a shallow slumber, too. And when we woke up he turned to me and wrapped his arms around my neck and cooed so wantingly, so sweetly “uh-uh.”

Please share Calvin's story with others to help promote epilepsy awareness in an effort to find a cure. All it takes is forwarding the link, sharing it on your Facebook page or simply by word of mouth. It's not hard. Just do it one story at a time.

Calvin's brain waves, photo by Michael Kolster

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