The night before Thanksgiving 2007, having the holiday to ourselves, J and I were at the grocery store shopping for our dinner festivities the next night. Laughing and carrying all our groceries inside, my phone rang and although I am a multi-talented girl, the talent of juggling grocery bags, the door and the phone eluded me that night. Once safe inside and possessing the ability to use both my hands freely, I checked my voice mail. It was from Spencer, Addi's father.
Spencer: "We're in an ambulance on the way to the hospital."
His voice was hurried, stressed. If it were a physical being, you would surely see it collapsed in the corner, sobbing. Questions flooded my head. For whom; him or Addison? What hospital? Why? What the fuck?
Several attempts later, I finally made contact with Spencer. The fear and sadness in his voice confirmed the worst and encouraged the growing knot in my stomach; something had happened to Addison. She had collapsed, had a Grand Mal Seizure and had stopped breathing.
The trip to the hospital is a blur. I merely remember everything as an echo. I only saw black.
We were sent home after a few minor tests and some papers containing multiple prescriptions and a diagnosis of "Febrile Seizure." There wasn't much sleep to be had that night. Worry was at the edge of all our words and fear consumed our thoughts.
The following morning, I received another call from Spencer. Addison had another seizure and they were on their way to the ER again. By the time J and I arrived, she had had another seizure. Spencer was a wreck, rightly so, and promptly disappeared once we arrived to collect the pieces of himself he'd dropped on the way in. Given that it was a holiday, the neurologist was in Aruba or Bermuda or some equally far and beautiful location. Addi was moved to PICU and hooked to every wire and machine the hospital had on that floor, while we waited to be shipped to the nearest hospital with an available neurologist. Just as we settled in, she had her final seizure for the night... the first I had to witness.
Fear is often such a small word, completely unable to capture the desperation and immobilization of a moment. Addison is such a strong willed and spirited child, to watch confusion and panic consume her face and leave her limp and exhausted tore my world apart. Even now, writing this, I sit here crying... still unable to cope with the horror.
Addison has had a total of 4 "incidents". Each time, there is a series of 4 seizures. Each time, it takes 6 nurses to restrain her for an IV. Each time, I am awed by the emotional strength of this little person. We've been through several tests, lost count over sleepless nights, tested several daycares, and comforted far too many terrified cries. We're a year free now, but with each illness, I brace myself and prepare for the worst. I wonder, often, if that fear is something I will ever let go of.
Recently, I met a new friend whose son has similar, but more severe seizures. He's also been in a remission of sorts. Yesterday, there was momentary panic throughout his home as a situation all too familiar popped up. Things like this take your legs away, leave you breathless and covered in emotional vulnerability. Listening to his worries, I was reminded of my own with Addison and now want nothing more than to hold that quirky, lively little Monkey of mine.
Hang in there NotSteve. Hugs to you and your family.