Sunday 4 March 2012

De Nerves

One of the drawbacks of working six days a week is that I have only Sundays to do my favourite day off things. One of them is a lie-in. That itself is now reduced to only an hour with my rising at about 8.15am or so. Getting up at this hour would have been anathema to my teenage-self; in fact at times I wouldn’t have been in bed too long by 8am on a Sunday morning, much to my father’s disgust. Not that I would be getting up to half of whatever he imagined….But since August and the 7 O’clock rises that extra hour or so on a Sunday is plenty, any longer and I feel like I’m on catch-up all day. So now after a leisurely breakfast I’m doing one of my all time favourites, cuddled up with Fred under a blanket on the couch. This little fellow is such a wriggler it’s impossible to stay too comfortable, for some reason or other he just can’t get close enough to me and isn’t happy till I’m stuck into a corner with the couch all his. His warmth and affection makes up for all the squeezing though. Right now he has me so I can’t raise my left arm to type, it’s wrapped around him, resulting in me typing write one-handed. Outside its cold but the sun is shining and perfect weather for walking Muttley later, another Sunday favourite.

This has been an eventful week for us. Fred seems to be on a twelve to fourteen day cycle at the moment and Thursday evening whilst drifting off to sleep he went into a seizure. Going with the recent diagnosis of frontal lobe epilepsy night time seizures are normal enough as is the quick recovery afterwards. After a couple of minutes he got up from his mother’s arms and with a big smile on his face stumbled over to me on the other couch. Feelings of elation are another quirk of FLE, as is the temporary paralysis of the limbs. Lisa and I decided to test if his neurologist is correct in her belief that his current main anti-epileptic drug, Tegretol, is working by not going straight to the hospital. Working in this case means reducing the seriousness of the seizure clusters he experiences. We gave him a small shot of Diazepam, a mild form of the IV drug Lorazepam they administer in the hospital when things are out of control. Lisa went off to pack the bags ready for the expected hospital trip and disruption to our lives but for once we got some luck, or should I say Freddie got a break. He slept through till 4.20am when he had another small seizure with two more mild ones at 5.45am and 6.50am. When I say mild they’re still horrible to watch, last about a minute or so and we wish our little man didn’t have to go through such anguish. After the last one he jumped out of bed, looked at me and shuffled off to find his mother. She was to be found wrapped up under a blanket in the front room; the poor thing not being able to take herself upstairs to bed and thus away from her little boy. Neither of us had got much sleep but it didn’t matter, we were at home and Fred had avoided the hospital.

As it was close to our usual getting up time I went to wake Ruby. One look at her tired face and I knew she’d had a bad night too. With all the disruption downstairs she’d been unable to sleep, probably expecting us at some stage to be charging out the door to the hospital. She’d already done training with two different football teams and her basketball team during the week. Eventually the tiredness had caught up with her.

“Do I have to Dad?” she said trying to open her eyes, her beautiful head of curls a mess.

“No, stay” I said, only too happy to go back to bed myself for a while.

After a bit of sleep, I got up and made the breakfast. Despite the night he’d put down Fred demolished a plate of toast, omelette and rasher, his mother taking just the fresh coffee to try wake herself. After a bit of recovery off I went to work.

In Dingle I went to the chemist for Fred’s monthly supply of drugs. Whilst waiting for the prescription to be filled I sat down beside an ex neighbour. As usual he didn’t recognise me and we had to go through the story of where I was from, again. He was in to collect his medicines plus an antibiotic for a chest infection. Knowing that he lives five miles out of town, doesn’t drive and it being only 10.30am I asked him what he’d do for the morning.

“Ah John I’ll go up to Foxy’s and then across to James Curran’s. I can’t really drink with the antibiotics so I’ll only have five or six before going home for the dinner” he answered without batting an eyelid.

Then he took out a bottle of Kerry Spring flavoured water, a not very new looking one either…..

“I carry this everywhere” he said taking a small drink

“It’s good for you” I replied, a bit surprised, bottles of water are usually carried by walkers or joggers in my mind.

“I keep it topped up with poitin” he said with a wink and smile whilst taking another sip, carefully screwing on the top before putting it back in the jacket pocket.

A different type of flavoured water……

Back home Fred got through the day before falling asleep at about 4 O’clock. Unfortunately the epilepsy hadn’t finished with him and he’d had another two seizures by the time I got home at six. It was obvious that something was wrong because the packed bags were still at the front door. Lisa was anxious, not surprisingly, but Fred was looking for dinner so we decided to let things ride for a while instead of heading over to the hospital. We put down a somewhat normal evening, Fred watching a movie and his parents watching him. About 9’Clock he collapsed asleep in my arms, almost immediately falling into a deep slumber. Every movement, every jerk and I jumped. My nervousness making Lisa’s worse. About an hour later he stiffened, raised his arm and I said “here he goes”. Lisa turned to help. Fred scratched his nose and left out a sigh, all was ok.

Our nerves are wrecked!

Freddie slept through the night, we stayed away from the hospital for the first time in seven months and he rose for another big breakfast at about 8.30am. Fred and I found his mother again asleep under a blanket on the couch. Beats curled up at the bottom of a hospital bed any day.

For once in these circumstances I went off to work with a skip in my step.

What a relief!

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