Monday 12 December 2011

Hannah Lightens the Weekend

Sitting on the couch on a cold December evening. The wind is blowing a gale outside, not so bad that the hailstone is coming down the chimney like last night, but still there’s a storm a brewing. There was a man in the shop today, a fisherman for forty years, who told me there’s a hurricane due tonight, looks like he was right. He also told me of his six times in the water during the lifetime at sea, once with two broken legs, all this whilst laughing as he spoke. It’s a lovely skill to have, to be jolly as you speak, one that instantly puts you at ease and leads to good story telling. Freddie is on the couch beside me writing his letter to Santa, never a man to rush things, luckily his parents are ahead of him on this one. His darling sister is lying out on the other sofa reading some large tome of a book for the second time. She hasn’t read much for a while, a teen thing, so twice in the space of a month is a big thing.

Usually I write this blog on a Sunday afternoon but yesterday I fell asleep on the couch in front of the fire, a lovely thing to do when you let yourself do it. As a result there was no dog walked nor word written. Not that Muttley minded too much, I don’t think he stepped too far out of his kennel all day yesterday. In fact when I went to put the bins out there was no way he was going to walk with me up the driveway to the road. Instead I had to brave the cold on my own. The lazy mutt didn’t even lift his head from his pillow when I went to check on him later, probably worried that if he showed any enthusiasm I’d have him down the woods in no time.

Outside of sleeping badly lately which isn’t too unusual for me, our precious boy Freddie was in the hospital again from Thursday night to Sunday morning. Thirty days seizure free was lovely but as always as the amount of days increase we secretly dread the likelihood of a seizure happening. So as he fell asleep Thursday night he had one. We waited for a while before setting off for the hospital in the vain hope that it might be a single event but no such luck and about eleven I was calling the children’s ward at Kerry Hospital….the conversation went:

“Hi Marie its John Verling…” I said, recognising the nurse who answered
“Freddie?” she asked.
“Ya, he’s just had two in the last hour”
“Bring him over; I’ll get the room ready for him”

It’s so reassuring to have such caring service on our doorstep but I really wish we didn’t have to avail of it so often. Going into auto-pilot we bundled him up and headed over. Once again the poor fellow woke up with nurses around him and a doctor sticking a needle in his arm. This needle for IV drug administration is ironically known as a freddie, maybe if we’d called him Pat all this might have  been avoided! After Lisa and Fred were settled I went home to look after Ruby. Still not over her paranormal fears she slept on the spare bed in my room, sniffing her way through the night as she had a cold which was keeping her out of school. At six I got up showered and headed over to the hospital. Before I went in the room, Marie filled me in the night, reading the chart for reference. All I could see was seizure, seizure, seizure about seven in all with the time written beside each one. Slowly opening the door I could see Lisa lying in an uncomfortable ball at the end of the bed with Freddie stretched out on top of her. Lisa went home shortly afterwards to shower and change  whilst I cuddled Freddie. Unfortunately his seizing wasn’t over, it kept picking at him during the day and into Friday evening. This epilepsy is like a bully, it leaves you alone for a while then when it remembers you again it keeps at you over and over again. Freddie does his best to stand up to this bully but he can only do so much without the help of strong drugs and those drugs really wreck him.

After Lisa came back, with fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, I had to get myself ready for the trip to Dingle for a day of work. Not that I was in the mood for it. Freddie was lying on top of me and despite the circumstances I was quite comfortable. Just as I was about to get up he said something. Then he repeated it as I couldn’t understand him, the IV drug Lovazapram makes his speech blurred. “I want to puke” he was saying. Too late...he projectiled all over the bed, me, the floor, the walls. Poor little fellow but he felt better afterwards. The poor father had to go home and change before heading to work. Oddly enough Ruby was laid out in front of the TV when I got back, too sick for school apparently.

That afternoon I got a text from Ruby asking if her friend Hannah could come for a sleepover. Too happy to oblige my only daughter I said yes, happy too that she had someone to occupy her whilst Lisa and I were at the hospital. So about five o’clock the lovely Hannah appeared at the door of the shop and we headed off to Tralee. Going over the Conor Pass it was pitch dark the only light being the full moon as we reached the summit. We chatted easily and each time I turned to Hannah during conversation all I could see was her big eyes looking up at me in the dark. Sweet kid that she is, she’s a good friend of our Ruby’s and great company. Lisa took her home and fed the two Chinese takeaway while Freddie and I dozed in the hospital room.  About ten Lisa came back and I headed back to mind the girls.

So a full weekend of back and forth to the hospital for us. Saturday night I stayed with him and experienced what Lisa has to when she stays. Trying to sleep in an uncomfortable chair, constantly checking him, not being able to sleep with the worry. At eleven o’clock I tuned in to the phone app on my mobile. From a radio station in New York I picked up a live broadcast of Garrison Keilor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”. Two hours live from New York; a Christmas special from my favourite broadcaster was a lovely way to get me through the evening. Carols, jokes, stories, the “News from Lake Woebegone” and Freddie cuddled up to me, a little slice of heaven on earth.

Waking early the next morning combined with the two bad nights had me exhausted and led to my falling asleep yesterday evening. Freddie has been wrecked since he came home yesterday morning but he’s home and we’re a family again.

Long may it last.

1 comment:

  1. John, you have a great narrative gift. I really love to read your posts!