I stood in the still of a late afternoon garden, a bank of dark clouds crouched just to the north. Birds fluttered and zipped past, chipmunks chirped. Electric pink peonies hung their heads in the calm while others, still mere satin balls, stood erect as if on watch.

The squall arrived with little notice other than the foreboding sky, its winds whipping branches and sheets of rain in every direction. “Oh, the windows!” I called as I ducked inside, and my father-in-law—my Pa—closed the French doors while I ran upstairs to shut windows against the battering rain.

Within minutes the flurry had moved through and left strewn in its wake broken branches, maple fronds and a puddle of pollen swirling like curls of yellow smoke laid down flat into its surface. I watched the sky and the kitchen itself go from dark to eerily luminous as I began preparing Calvin’s dinner. He’d been sick for a day or two, suffering a stuffy, runny nose and a subnormal temp. I mentioned to his nurse Sandra, who was in the next room with Calvin, that I felt that a seizure was on the horizon.

Moments later I heard Calvin crawling behind me on the floor of the kitchen, Sandra pacing along closely at his feet. He was making an odd wheezing sound and when I spun around I saw his face flushed red.

“He’s having a seizure,” I cried out.
“But he’s still crawling,” she replied, perhaps somewhat perplexed.

We bent to pick him up then carried him to the green couch and by then all color had left his face save bluish lips. His eyes, like a doll’s, stared vacant and glassy in their sockets. He gagged a few times but didn’t vomit, didn’t breathe either. His body twitched as I gently pulled off his shoes. “What’s the time?” I asked his nurse, and she reported as the minutes ticked by.

We were all beside him—Michael and I close in and on our knees, Sandra just behind—when Rudy joined and nuzzled in between us near Calvin. We stroked Calvin’s skin, called out to him, “Come back, baby, come back,” but the seizure, like a storm caught in an eddy, whipped around in his brain and showed no signs of passing. But we stayed with him, waited it out, and kept calling for him to return. Finally, he whimpered and tried feebly to suck his thumb, the telltale signs that the seizure was over. And like the squall that had so stealthily pounced then retreated, the seizure had lasted seven minutes, leaving us broken and tearful in its wake.

The following video featuring one of Calvin's recent seizures may be difficult for some to watch.

No comments:

Post a Comment