longer stretches

Hours before dawn, I curled up next to my son for the second morning in a row as he shivered and shook in my arms. After the last increase in Calvin's new medication, Xcopri, he went two weeks without any seizures at all, which is a decent stretch of recent. It seems, however, that he has a pattern of going for "longish" seizure-free stretches, followed by one seizure, then going for another longish stretch, only to have a cluster of two or more seizures. In effect, he doesn't really seem to get ahead in terms of fewer overall seizures, which, of course, is the goal.

Witnessing Calvin seize is always distressing. Each grand mal—the kind he most often has—starts with a blood-curdling shriek or howl, which sounds as if he has seen something absolutely terrifying or is being murdered. I can't describe it any other way, but it's a horrifying sound to come from anyone, especially one's own child. As it happens, Michael and I jump from our bed (the seizures almost always happen in the middle of the night) unhook and unlatch Calvin's safety net and bed panel, then kneel down next to him. Michael gently holds Calvin' hands and offers him reassuring words as he convulses like, good job Calvin! in an attempt to help slow it, while I make sure Calvin doesn't break his toes kicking the wooden lip of his bed. About ninety seconds later, when it is over, we watch the color come back into his dusky fingers, toes and lips. It takes Calvin several more minutes to totally catch his breath owing to fluids and/or soft tissues that seem to periodically obstruct his airway. Then, when that trouble has passed, I syringe a milliliter of my homemade THCA cannabis oil into the pocket of his cheek in tiny bits; this seems to prevent a second seizure from occurring after he falls back to sleep.

I'm sitting here now wondering if last night's storm and low barometric pressure had anything to do with triggering his fit; it does seem like they are sometimes weather-related. In any case, he's not really well or strong enough to get into the car for a ride. He's also restless, on and off the couch, and not eating much to speak of. But, he is doing better than after yesterday morning's seizure, which is encouraging, though I wouldn't say he's out of the woods yet.

We increased Calvin's new medication again last night, but it will take a week or two until it reaches what's called a steady state, that being a higher constant level in his blood. I hope he doesn't begin to suffer badly the side effects the drug is mostly known for, which is dizziness, major fatigue and lack of appetite. It is hard enough keeping weight on this kid.

So for now, we will hunker down at home listening to music and to the snow plows and blowers outside. I'll get outside with Smellie for another walk in the woods when Michael gets home from working in his studio. I'll sit on the couch in the sun writing, and I'll dream of springtime and flowers and of longer seizure-free stretches for my kid.

In the wake of a seizure, April 2020

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