Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


The Return of The Man

During the most recent seizure-free gap which Fred has gone through, he has suffered very little confusion. This is the feeling that Fred gets when a seizure is on the way and it’s not uncommon among epilepsy patients. I’ve asked him to describe it and he just says “it’s the confusion”.  The only comparison I can imagine is that fuzziness of a hangover or when you have a bad cold. We notice that Fred’s eyes dilate and he gets that far away look, Lisa is better at this than me.  Luckily a swipe of the magnet and the VNS clears the confusion within minutes. Before the VNS Fred would have to lie down, fall asleep and wait for a seizure. For this reason Denise is given the magnet at the school gate every morning and she hands it back when he’s going home. Fred didn’t want the magnet at school initially but now he sees the benefit.

With all this confidence from the VNS Lisa has stopped going down for school breaks and lunchtimes. It doesn’t mean she’s not worried sick or doesn’t jump at the slightest beep of her phone. We both knew however on Monday, when the school principal rang at just gone 1pm, that something had happened. In seconds we were in the car and shooting down the road, Lisa cursing a long vehicle that was holding up traffic. At the school they had the gates opened and one of the teachers was out stopping traffic. As Lisa parked I ran in the door to find Fred in the lobby, lying out on his chair. The seizure had hit just after lunch and luckily Fred was back in his seat. Without any panic they had slid the chair out to the privacy of the lobby and were waiting for us to arrive.

Fred half opened his eyes when I spoke. Though groggy he wasn’t totally wrecked, Denise had given him a swipe of the magnet which must have helped. In less than a minute we had him in the back of the car and on the road home. There Lisa took over completely and had him comfortable on the couch in his pyjamas, while I tidied up around them.

In all the day went smoothly, so smoothly in fact that we were constantly awaiting a backlash. Fred had just the one more seizure, woke for a sandwich but slept most of the day. When I came home with Ruby he was awake and he managed a bit of dinner. What Lisa and I feared was that a big cluster was bound to break through, it usually does but Fred was having none of it. He watched a movie, had a row with his mother and came up to sit on my lap for a while. Lisa took him up to bed at 9.20pm but he didn’t want his mother and so I was called. We read a book and Fred dozed. I must have fallen asleep because Fred woke me at about 10.15pm as I was snoring. Soon he was fast asleep and I was wide awake.

As he fell asleep I watched him constantly, waiting for the epilepsy to come back. Fred did a lot of talking in his sleep, a lot of dreaming and a lot of smiling but eventually fell into a deep slumber. As for me, I read a lot of my book and it was gone 2am before I dared turn off the lights.

In the circumstances it was a great day and we can only hope it’s part of a new pattern.

Tuesday was spent recovering and Wednesday he was back to school.

“I can’t go back there Dad,” said Fred Tuesday evening.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because I’m sick of their rules,” he answered, hands out in dismay, the big brown eyes looking up at me.

I didn’t have an answer to that one as it rang a lot of bells for me. On Wednesday morning the two of us got down to the school a little early and everyone was delighted to see him, as always, and Fred slid in as if nothing had happened. Jaden hadn’t yet arrived but the other kids just carried on as a normal, no fuss was made and the magnet was handed over to Denise.

Just like a normal school day.

When I collected Fred at lunchtime he was in great form, laughing with Denise as walked to the gate.

“You won’t believe it,” he said to me, with a big smile on his face.

“What?” I asked in disbelief.

Fred threw his hands up in the air.

“Jaden and me are best friends again!” he exclaimed, “I asked him and he said yes.”

The picture of Freddie asking Jaden that big question brought a tear to my eye; it must have meant everything to him. It didn’t matter though as all went well and the J man was back.

Friday morning Fred and I went over to collect Jaden. Lisa had lost his Mum’s phone number so we had to call unannounced. Fred was straight in the door but Jaden was still in his pyjamas. They had a day off school as it was being used as a voting centre and Jaden was making the most of his lie in time.

“Come back later when I’m ready,” I heard Jaden say, “in ten minutes.”

So Fred and I went on a drive around town, getting a coffee and lemonade as a special treat. Jaden came for the day, had great fun and the two seem to be back to normal. At one stage they had the girl from across the road in for biscuits, milk and a movie so it was a very sociable day.

Considering the week got off to a bad start it ended very well. Jaden is back and Fred enjoyed having him over. The cluster was controlled by the VNS and possibly the intermittent confusion is beginning to abate.

We’re planning a trip to see the new Godzilla movie this afternoon.

Fred will have to see if it matches the originals.

I can’t wait.


Posted by John Verling

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