Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Early Mornings and Garlic Bread

It’s raining, has been since I don’t know when but who cares? There ain’t much you can do about it anyway. Today is the 1st of July, not much left of the official summer now….Freddie is beside me typing “Godzilla” into Google so he can find clips from the movies and Top 10 listings of Godzilla battles. Some of the clips are re-enactments done by teenagers in their bedrooms, put to the worst music imaginable. This is something Freddie does himself…he puts in a request for his box of Godzilla’s, naming which one he wants, there are a few different ones, and which arch enemy he wants him to fight. So he might ask for ‘circle Godzilla’ and after you’ve looked in vain through the box, he’ll say, “you know, the one with three claws, blue spines and circle cheeks.” Obviously, you now know, it’s the one with the chubby cheeks… While he’s been waiting for you to find the right set of monsters he’s searched YouTube and found the right background music to accompany the battle. So there he’ll be, pitching Godzilla in against King Kong with “Let the bodies hit the floor” blasting in time with each smash. It’s something I could watch for hours, Freddie mixing the tunes and pitching the screen monsters against each other with the sound effects and soundtrack just right.

The house has been up since 6am. Yesterday was a tough one for Freddie. It started great for him, big breakfast and me staying at home. For a change, I took Saturday off, deciding that six days driving in and out to Dingle was just too much. Fred loves these, what he calls “family days”.  Yesterday he asked, “Is this the first family day?” needing the reassurance that a great weekend was in store. To top it off Ruby had two friends staying over so he had girls to entertain when they eventually woke up. Every now and again he’d go into their room to see if he could wake them and show them his Godzilla collection…

“Ahem, girls?” he’d say, opening the door a small bit but they slept through it all.

When they eventually rose, he brought them downstairs and followed the three around, entertaining them with his stories. The girls hung about for a bit before they went off shopping, with Hannah promising that she’d be back. A promise Fred extracted from her before she left, those pleading eyes are difficult to resist. Not long afterwards, he started to feel sleepy and cuddled up with his Mum on the couch. He assured her he was fine but Fred needing to sleep during the day isn’t a good sign. The only benefit is that at least he’s beginning to now feel something coming on and it’s not sneaking up on him. The little man slept for a while but awoke feeling sick, another bad sign. Lisa got him a bowl but nothing happened and he went back to sleep. Before he went off to sleep he turned to his Mum saying; “You’re right Mum, I am feeling dizzy, I’m not ok”…such a man.

As I had work to do, I was in and out checking on the man but he slept through until about 5.30pm. Then, as he was waking, he went into seizure, a minute long one, upper body shaking and the fencing movement on full display. We immediately went on autopilot, holding him through it, putting him on his side afterwards and giving him the diazepam. The poor man woke briefly to use the toilet and take his evening meds before returning to a deep sleep. Unusually he continued to sleep until about 8.30pm when he woke to demolish his dinner. Earlier I’d made him a favourite, a plate of a couple of slices of fried new potato with a lamb chop, it was on the floor beside the couch and gone in sixty seconds. After that, he had a sip of my beer before cuddling up again for the night, coming to bed with me about 11pm. There the two of us slept until Lisa woke us at 6am, fearful of another early, morning after, seizure. The result was we all got up; Ruby included and continued our sleeps on the comfortable couches in this lovely house of ours. Of course nothing happened.

It has been a week of early mornings. On Wednesday, I woke about 7am with him going into a seizure beside me. Again we managed the situation, it was all in over in a couple of minutes and the three of us were downstairs by 7.15am. He slept for a while and after breakfast, I went off to work. During the day I phoned home regularly, checking on him but all was fine. Then Lisa rang about 5.30, as I was on my way home, the inevitable had happened... a second evening seizure. Ruby and Lisa coped as usual, making him comfortable, safe, secure, and loved. By the time I got home, he was awake, eating dinner as if nothing had happened. At midnight he was still awake, the two of us looking out at the lights ofTraleefrom our room, watching the cars on their way home. We read stories in bed before he slipped into a nice deep sleep. Freddie had just put a full day down but again the epilepsy had not won.

Two full-blown seizures in one day have become unusual, thankfully, but we just have to live with it. At least he’s not clustering and the hospital not being visited. Why he’s also now had two days of seizure activity in one week we just don’t know. Nobody knows feck-all about epilepsy, experts can guess, point at factors like weaning off the Frisium but in reality, we just don’t know. We’re still waiting on the PET scan to give us some insight on what’s happening, when and if surgery is possible. If we don’t hear soon, Lisa will be driving to Cork finding who’s responsible and getting all up in someone’s face. Beware CUH, be very aware…

During the week, I made a favourite dinner, on request from the man. Lasagne with spinach, mushrooms and a creamy sauce. Clearing out the bread bin, I made some garlic bread from the rump of a loaf. The thick slices of buttery, garlic bread went down quickly with the special request lasagne. Later, before Freddie settled down for sleep, I was in the kitchen getting a glass of wine and he followed me in. The fridge was opened, I had a feeling of what he was after, the addict was after a hit. From the plate of leftovers, I gave him a corner of a slice of the garlic bread…

“Don’t tell Mummy,” I instructed him, adding to the illicit pleasure of the snack.

Before I knew it, he was in the corner demolishing the corner in seconds but with gulps of pleasure. Then he went to the sink and started washing his mouth out, trying to remove the garlic scent so his mother wouldn’t know he’d been eating. Back in the front room he cuddled up to Lisa, the stench of freshly eaten garlic filled the room…

“What have you been eating?” asked Lisa, laughing, knowing he couldn’t resist a slice from the fridge.

“Oh, nothing” he said, hand over his mouth looking at me for back-up, those pleading eyes open wide, eyebrows raised.

That little fellow…he knows how to break hearts…







Posted by John Verling

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