Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


And then something happened

For a year now, I’ve been writing this piece, week in week out, following my Freddie’s ups and downs. Initially I began to write as an exercise, to see if I could do it, but then it became a habit, a good way of making sense of the week we put down. Every Sunday afternoon I’ve written my piece, in fact it’s the most disciplined I’ve possibly ever been and the only thing I’ve done so religiously since my confirmation preparations…Feedback from people has been great and from the most unexpected sources. People from all over the world have left comments whilst closer to home; others have stopped me in the street to ask about Freddie. However, my main reason for writing this is so everyone knows how wonderful Freddie is and how stoically he deals with his epilepsy. An inevitable extra is of course that the undying devotion of Lisa is also on show.


This time last year Freddie and Lisa were in CUH, Ruby was about to begin secondary school and I was in zombie land. Having just opened onMain Streetwhen all this began, my new shop mattered little to me as things developed. Days were spent at work and most evenings spent driving up and down toCork. Instead of her mother sending her off to secondary school and making sure her uniform was ok, poor Ruby had to deal with me. At least I had the privilege of seeing her off that morning, something I’ll never forget. The fact she told me to “fuck off “ when I tried to take a photo for her mother will stay with me forever…


Now we are settled inTraleeand Lisa is still caring daily for Fred. Ruby is back to school this week and judging by her mood today another expletive isn’t far off…The commute has become the norm for me and I’ve missed Ruby’s company over the summer holidays. One thing to look forward to is having her back with me this week, moods and all. Last year she was a nervous thirteen year old, this autumn I have a beautiful, moody fourteen year old on my hands. Ah well, I wouldn’t change it for the world.


One thing I would swap everything for is a lasting improvement in Freddie’s condition. Still no sign of that PET scan that could be such a major mover in getting a life back for Freddie. His medicines are still being changed with the hope of getting a sizable period seizure free and all that takes time to get right.


Lisa commented this week on how much she likes the title of my weekly piece and I don’t usually decide on that until I’ve finished writing. This week has been different. All week I was hoping that it would be “And Then Nothing Happened…” but as you can see, something did. For the first time in a while Fred went 6 days, then 7 days without a seizure. On Saturday morning I got up thinking that maybe I’d write that headline but he didn’t make it to day 8. When coming down for breakfast I knew it was too quiet and sure enough, there was the little fellow knocked out on the couch. One had hit him shortly after he got up. There goes the weekend.


After breakfast I went off to work. As usual I called home during the morning to check on his progress but he was fine, sleeping it all off. As I was busy, I didn’t get the chance to call again till about 3.30pm. Freddie had had two more, big ones too, about 1pm and again just before I called. My stomach sank as this hadn’t happened for a while. Staying at work as pointless as my mind was in Ballyard.


Closing up and heading off over the Connor Pass, I was home by 4.30pm. Fred was still asleep but no more seizures, thankfully. We all sat in the front room with him, doing our normal Saturday afternoon things while he slept. Eventually about 7pm he showed signs of rousing himself and woke for a bit to eat. Though very dopey he managed a plate of sausage, broccoli and rice, in my hurry home I’d forgotten about food shopping! But sometimes those meals you throw together from the fridge are the best.


We got through the evening ok and the two of us set off for bed about 11pm, Freddie with a load of books under his arm. So there the two of us were, sitting up in bed, Fred cuddled as close as he could be to me, reading about dinosaurs and other stories. Eventually I fell off to sleep, leaving him awake for a while until I woke to find him fast asleep on the pillow. We had a peaceful night.


This morning Lisa came to wake him and take him downstairs. Unusually I was allowed sleep in and rose about 9.30am. Again coming downstairs, I thought it was a bit quiet and even though he was awake, I knew from the look on his face that something had happened. A seizure had hit about 8 O’clock, another big one but didn’t knock him for some reason. He managed a big breakfast then spent the day snoozing and watching movies. His parents have spent the day watching him, watching movies and snoozing!


Now it is evening time and we are all sleepy again. Ruby is back the west and won’t be seen till tomorrow. Freddie is lying on his Mum trying to sleep things off. As for me, I’m going to lose myself in a magazine, have a glass of wine and maybe watch some TV.


Just another normal Sunday night…



Posted by John Verling

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