Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Its Sunday Again

Its Sunday again, another week rolled over, Ireland got another thrashing from the All Blacks, the euro is still going down the tubes, Engerland is still at Euro2012 but most of all Freddie and me are cuddled up on the couch. A traditional Sunday morning for us, him and I relaxing on our one morning of the week together whilst Lisa tidies around us. The great thing is that she does it so peacefully and with such grace that you’d hardly notice the maelstrom that is going on. Things are being thrown out, toys moved upstairs, clothes washed, folded and put away. Floors are hovered, bathrooms cleaned, freshly washed clothes hung out and all to the music of Lyric FM playing in the background. What a peaceful idyll I’m painting here and one that will surely be broken by a misplaced word or someone saying boo to Ruby. She’s ‘not in the mood’ this weekend and has retreated to her bedroom to watch a movie online, do make-up, listen to her music, only to be seen again probably when hunger drags her downstairs.

We or should I say, Lisa is still sorting out stuff moved over from our old house. Freddie noticed a box of old toys before they were whisked upstairs and is happily going through them one by one. If he’d never seen the box of toys he would never have thought of them again but now that he has, they’re all over the couch, bits of old dinosaur, broken Ben10s, a few cars but all keeping him occupied for the time being. At the same time, he’s watching Ultraman…a Japanese TV series from the ‘90s I downloaded by chance. He loves the action, Ultraman fighting monsters from space with the help of a crack team of highly trained twentysomethings. Right now Eleking is laying waste to another city and the team is getting ready, all in subtitled Japanese. He loves it but as I’ve only found series one I’m becoming a bit of an expert on Ultraman and his monster enemies. There must be a second series out there; it’s not bad, better than a lot of the animated stuff he used to watch when we had Sky.

It’s been a normal enough week for us. After I wrote my piece last week, Freddie asked if he could go to sleep for a while. He cuddled up next to me on the couch and I read my magazine, waiting for something to happen, he doesn’t usually sleep in the afternoon unless in a cycle of seizure activity. About forty minutes into his sleep, he went into a seizure. Not a big one but still it lasted about a minute or so with the full upper body shaking and arms going as if he’s trying to fight it off. In neurology, it’s known as the fencing movement, where, at the beginning of a seizure, his arm moves across his body as if in an attempt to fight off an attack. In Freddie’s case, his right arm moves up and across to fend off from the left, indicating that his seizures begin in the left of his frontal lobe. Sometimes if a seizure doesn’t break through his right arm will still move up to the left but back down again when his medicine stops the attack developing. All classic fencing movement as described to me one day by my close friend Brian McNamara, before he moved seamlessly into talking about cricket or the current political situation or both. As kids we used to spend hours talking on the phone before agreeing to meet later and talk some more. As befitted those times our two homes only had a phone because our father’s jobs meant they needed to have one. Different from today when everyone has a phone but nobody even wants one at home and kids now only text, never talk.

After his seizure, Lisa gave him a shot of Diazepam and he settled into a longer sleep. Fred slept for a couple of hours, woke up hungry and after a decent feed, watched a movie before going up to bed with me. Lisa woke him before 6.30 the next morning to try avoiding the early morning follow on seizure. It worked and about 8am, he came back up to wake me for work. Seeing him so alert the next day, not having to visit them in the hospital and having him wrecked from a night of seizing is such a relief for us both. The Lorazepam has been a lifesaver for him, but still it’s such a horrible drug that every time we don’t have to go to the hospital to have it administered is a big, big, bonus. It stops the seizures but wrecks our little man…makes him cranky for days, makes him sleepy and totally disorientated for at least a week afterwards. The current seizures are bad enough on him but at least he’s a normal little boy the next day, for the moment anyway. Epilepsy is such an unpredictable condition that you never know what’s around the corner, how it’s going to turn on you next.

On Friday, Lisa was taking Ruby to Dingle; Ruby had football training and was going to a friend’s house first. Not far from Camp, Freddie began to feel weak, sleepy and his twitches were increasing. Operation Drop Ruby was aborted and Lisa turned round to try make it back before he slipped into a seizure. Thankfully, they made it back before anything developed. Lisa settled Freddie into a bed on the couch and Ruby headed off for the bus. After a few minutes he had a five-second tremor, the fencing movement began but didn’t need to complete as the medicine held. About fifty minutes later the same happened, again nothing beyond five seconds or so. As a preventative Lisa gave him a shot of the diazepam and it seemed to work. Freddie slept for a couple of hours, incident free and woke in time for his dinner. Not one to miss a meal is our Fred, when he’s off his food we know something is definitely up. Ruby called me from the bus-stop when she arrived in town. She had to be driven all over West Kerry, Dingle to Baile Eanaigh to collect Hannah then to Allies house in Kilmakedar before I could go back to work again. At 7pm I picked Hannah and my darling daughter up from training at Lispole. The three of us headed for home, the girls chatting, giggling and even involving me a bit.

It was gone 8pm by the time Blennerville Windmill was in view, getting late, so we decided on a Chinese takeaway for dinner. Eventually, after another long day, we came through the front door about 8.45pm. Freddie was delighted to see Hannah coming for the night, he was doubly excited by the idea of white crisps for a bedtime snack. The drama of the afternoon was behind us and Lisa’s preventative strike worked. A bit of a break for a while…celebrated with MSG, white crisps and red wine.

Last  Monday morning when Freddie came to wake me, we stayed a bit in bed cuddling and playing I-spy. After a couple of rounds, Freddie said:

“I spy with my little eye, something beginning with C”

After exhausting all the C words in the room, I gave up. Fred pointed to our walk in wardrobe, which was backlit by the light being on in the bathroom behind it.

“See-in-the-dark” he said, “silly old Daddy!”

His wonderful, descriptive way of looking at the world again...lets hope it never changes.



Posted by John Verling

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