Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Mince Pies and Birthday Wishes

It’s Sunday morning and we’re waiting for the call from Temple Street Children's Hospital. The epilepsy nurse in charge of Freddie’s case rang during the week to arrange everything. Freddie is due to be admitted today and to start the video telemetry tomorrow morning. The only problem is that it’s a busy hospital so we have to wait for a bed to come free. I called this morning but they won’t know till rounds are finished what beds are free and where.


The week just gone by was a big one for the man. He was ten on Tuesday, into the double digits now. The single digit years were eventful to say the least…On Monday evening we asked him what cake he wanted for his birthday. Freddie isn’t a great eater of sweets and rarely eats cake. He just loves his meat and veg but its also to do with the Ketogenic diet we tried for a while. It controlled his seizures a bit but not to any great extent. Without much thinking, he settled on mince pies, a favourite he discovered over Christmas. I made the mince before Christmas; we still had a few jars left and some of Lisa’s puff pastry. The sweet man, no big demands, just mince pies for his birthday treats.


On the morning of his birthday he woke, excited with it being his big day of the year. Lisa and I were concerned, as always, that he’d get through the day seizure free. He’s had birthdays ruined before. After Lisa returned from dropping Ruby, we brought him his presents. The man, sitting on the couch on his own, hid under the blanket when we came in singing “Happy Birthday.” He’s always so shy about any attention being brought on him. The sight of him sitting there, on his own, broke my heart a bit. By rights, a ten year old boy should be surrounded by friends on his birthday, not just his parents. He was delighted with his presents, some Ben 10 figures and a Scooby Doo jigsaw, to go with the big money he got from Granddad Jimmy in the post. Getting his own post was really exciting for him and the money is going to be spent on more Godzilla figures.


After Ruby came home from school, we sat down to a big birthday dinner. Roast pork with all the trimmings and not much was left by the finish. As Lisa tidied up, I got the mince pies ready, ten of them with a candle in each. Again, we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ and again he hid under a blanket but with big smile on his face. Fred came out after the singing and blew the candles out. He made a wish, which he wanted to tell us but we told him it wouldn’t come true if he told. Without having to ask each other, Lisa and I made our own wishes, those too not to be told, but both knew what they were. The pies were demolished in double quick time; you can’t beat fresh mince pies straight from the oven.


During the week, the two of us sat up in bed talking about things. Since Freddie went on the Clonazepam, he’s had difficulty sleeping, or at least getting to sleep. So most nights he’ll go up to bed with Lisa and still be awake when I come up about 11pm or so.


This week we spoke of the hospital, and why he had to go….


“I’m scared of that needle,” he said one night, “but I’ll be brave and hold my breath.”


Another night he spoke about his friends and the ones he hasn’t seen since school:


“I miss Thomas, he’s my best friend,” he said, looking very sad.


Let’s just hope this visit toTemple Street, this long awaited visit, will have him back with Thomas and his other friends before another birthday comes round.


Posted by John Verling

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