Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Fred’s Figaries

It is Sunday morning and Fred is lying semi-comatose in his mother’s arms. For once though it’s self-inflicted. Lisa and I were having coffee at the breakfast table when we heard a crash from the front room. As we’ve been trying not to panic at every bang we hear, we didn’t rush in immediately but when we did there he was, pole-axed across the gap between the couch and the doors to the garden. With much moaning and groaning Lisa managed to turn Fred over and there was a trickle of blood flowing from inside his bottom lip. We got him onto the couch proper, lay him in his mother’s arms and patched up the wound. Just now he confessed to trying to walk along the back of the couch when he slipped and fell against the door. Thankfully it was just his lip, the poor man, but if there’s trouble our Fred will find it.


As today is day fifteen we’re on the alert but not overtly so, just letting things flow. Last Sunday it looked like things may be changing again. As part of the Rose of Tralee festival there was an air display, which conveniently was happening in the skies over our house. We were all out in the garden waiting for it the happen but the weather changed, the clouds came in and the drizzle followed, delaying the show. As we waited I climbed up on the oil tank and Freddie followed me up. The excitement was high with the crowds around, plus Ali and Ruby joined us. Fred though, suddenly wanted to go inside. Lisa lifted him down and they went in. I followed a few minutes later and they were on the couch. Fred had felt ‘the confusion’ come on when up on the tank. Thankfully he had the cop-on to tell Lisa who had so quickly got him away from any danger.


He dozed for about twenty minutes. I waited for the horrible noise to start but nothing happened. Then Fred raised his head from the pillow and announced “I think the confusion is gone now.” Just like that. Of course we were relieved but worried that maybe the epilepsy would still strike, that we would be knocked out of our two-week cycle of complacency. But as today is day fifteen seizure free it’s obvious that nothing did and the confusion must just have been a temporary, passing event. In fact, he felt so good that he stayed up to watch the fireworks at 10.30pm. He just loves them and the three of us sat up on our bed looking out the window as they exploded over the skies of Tralee. It was nearly eight months to the day since we watched the ones of New Year’s Eve.


The hope of that night has turned to reality to a degree, something that we are so grateful for to Temple Street and the team of Dr Shahwan,


On Monday morning Freddie, Ruby, Lisa and Ali went shopping. This going shopping lark is becoming popular with the man and it is great that he can go out again, get used to everyday happenings. As Ruby was having friends over for Tuesday night they had to stock up. Apparently Fred stayed close to Ali going around the shops, doing what he was told and helping Mummy fill the basket. When he came back it wasn’t even mentioned by him what he’d been doing, just a normal day for our man now. Later on the two of us went out again and all went smoothly. We went to the veg shop and I told Fred before we went not to be taking things off the shelves. He’d done it before, part of the excitement of being back in the shops again and I’d bought things I hadn’t intended to, as Fred had handled them. All went swimmingly and back in the car Fred asked,


“How did I do Dad?”


“Perfectly,” I answered


“And I didn’t touch anything?” he asked, looking for reassurance.


“Not a thing.” I kissed him on the head.


The little man must have been consciously trying not to touch the fruit and veg. Sweetheart.


When we were finished shopping we went for a drive around town; looking at the carnival and all the happenings of the festival. At one stage Fred told me to turn around and go back, he’d seen something and wanted a second look. Back along the road we went, Fred looking carefully out the window.


“There,” he suddenly said.


“What?” I asked.


“The campervan,” he said, “can we get one?”


Now I’d love the idea of a campervan holiday, someday. So I said we would when the time was right. That night at home Ed Galvin skyped from the US. Fred was beside me at the beginning of the conversation and leaned over to tell Ed,


“We’re getting a campervan,”  before going back to his DVD.


Freddie gets things in his head and it takes a few days for him to get them out again. ‘Fred’s figaries’ we call them but hopefully someday we’ll get to satisfy most of those figaries. As Fred says: “when I get better,” about the list of things he has in his head. That list is getting longer but already we’ve gotten to tick some off but Fred is busy adding more each week.


Ed is probably still wondering about that campervan though.


That night Fred woke suddenly in the middle of the night. He shot up in the bed, a real look of fear on his face, eyes wide open looking around, his arms felling his legs.


“What happened,” I asked, knowing Fred has vivid dreams.


“There was bear Dad,” he looked at me, fear written all over his little face,” a big bear was eating my leg, it was horrible.”


A big bear, maybe it had something to do with the campervan idea, I don’t know.


Fred rolled over, cuddled tightly up to me and fell back to sleep. The poor little fellow, that great imagination of his leads to some terrible nightmares at times. The next morning he still remembered the bear and told Mummy all about it over breakfast.


The campervan hasn’t been mentioned since.


When the girls arrived on Tuesday evening, he was delighted to see them but perfectly behaved around them. He still loves having them around but feigning disinterest has become his speciality, thus getting more attention. When the girls went out, dressed to the nines, Fred went to bed, job done.


On Thursday, Jayden came over to play. When he arrived, I was up in my office and watched it all from the window. Jayden drove up with his Mum and Fred went out to meet them with Lisa. The two mums were chatting and as Jayden got out of the car, Fred gave him a big hug. Jayden was a bit surprised at the level of the welcome but the sweet boy that he is, took it in his stride, hugging Fred back. The two had a ball for the next three hours; Jayden is very happy to do what Fred wants so they built a camp outside, had Godzilla battles and when the time came, had a big lunch in front of a movie. The Jayden visits are working out well. Of course, now Fred has another figarie of having Jayden over for a sleepover and then Fred going to Jayden’s for his sleepover. This one may be a bit down the road but we’ll get there.


Fred, now fully recovered from this morning’s accident, just asked me for his ‘small rectangle book.’ I had to think about that one for a minute, then it came to me. He has a spiral, reporters notepad in which he writes and draws.


It’s small and rectangular.


Fred’s description of things is wonderful and exact words may never be at the tip of his tongue but he gets there in the end by describing it as he sees it.


It is his parents who have to keep up with him.







Posted by John Verling

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