Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


The Night of Little Sleep

By 3am this morning Fred was on his way to his mother’s bed for the second time, pillow under his oxtor, out into the dark night attempting once more to find sleep. He’d gone up to our bed about 10pm with Lisa, to go to sleep but when I went up at 11.10pm Fred was looking at me awkwardly as Mum was fast asleep and he was wide awake. In I got, Lisa went off to her bed and Fred cuddled up. By midnight I was finished my book and Fred was still awake...

“Maybe I’ll go to my Mummy,” he said, setting off for the first time.

Shortly before 2am he was back, pillow tucked up tight...

“I think I’ve found my sleep,” he said, standing at the bedroom door like little boy lost.

In this time I hadn’t been to sleep as I had a feeling he would be back and being a light sleeper these ideas prey on your mind.

“Get in,” I said, “and go to sleep it’s too late for all this wandering around.”

“Yes my Dad.”

I didn’t find his love for me cute at that time of the morning, all I wanted and needed was sleep, for the two of us.

Forty-five minutes later Fred was still sighing, rubbing his legs around on the bed, obviously not asleep. I switched on the light and took up a book of Raymond Carver short stories I keep by the lamp for just such occasions. Fred was lying on his back, eyes scrunched closed, pretending to be asleep.

“Go back to your mother,” I said sternly, patience long gone.


“Go back upstairs and don’t come down again tonight, you need to sleep.”

“Ok my Dad,” and off he went, trusty pillow stuffed up under the oxtor once more.

Raymond Carver wrote fast paced short stories and the subject matter is never the happiest. His sentences are short and his narration tends to fly along, probably not the best for helping one to sleep. Four stories later and I was still wide awake but at least no sign of Fred. At 5.35am I took one last look at the time on my phone and turned off the light, eventually drifting off to sleep.

Why Fred couldn’t sleep is anyone’s guess. He had a couple of seizures Friday afternoon which no doubt threw his system out of kilter. All this Christmas activity plays havoc with all of us and Fred has had a fairly lazy time of it. When he had the seizure on Christmas Day we feared it might be the change up to 400mg of Tegretol from the 200mg. Lisa went back to 200mg immediately after that and thanks to the kindness of a friend combined with the help of a pharmacy in Killarney we now have a supply to do us through to February, when Novartis say the 200mg will be back in general supply. The fact he now had another seizure a week later might point to the change not having had an effect, though we are not convinced, Fred is definitely better on the 200mg dose. Apparently ‘the holidays’ are the worst time for seizure control with bad sleep patterns combined with bad eating and little exercise leading to breakthrough events.

Who knows anymore, except that we do know Fred on 200mg and on regular routines tends to deal better with his epilepsy. Tomorrow sees the return to school, back to normal and, much as I’ve loved this break, it might be the best thing for us all.

Back to early morning rises, the school run and homework. Since the turn of the year I’ve been trying to get Fred around to the idea of the 2015 being the year of the big steps in improving himself, becoming the great young man he is capable of being. Fred will be twelve on Thursday and we’re using that as the milestone for him to aim at, doing what a twelve year old would do. It won’t be easy and there will be a full year of work ahead of us but Fred will respond well, he’ll work hard at school, do a few jobs around the house and the such, if only to keep his parents quiet.

Now it’s mid-morning. Fred and Ruby are watching TV, Lisa is pottering around doing Sunday morning jobs. The sun is shining and it is a beautiful winter’s day. The plan is to go out for a drive later; I had gone back to bed after breakfast but of course I couldn’t sleep so I’ll let the day wash over me and I’ll be exhausted by 9pm.

As for our Fred? I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still wandering the house come 2am...


Posted by John Verling

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