Story # 21: Kind Kids
Of course epilepsy came on vacation with us. Rose had three seizures during our week at the beach. Two occurred while swimming in the pool. She always wore a life jacket while in the water and someone stayed an arms-length away. I know it seems risky to let her swim, but she loved it so much. We live on a lake so we swam a lot. We could not forbid Rose from participating in something we all enjoyed together. If she seized in the water, we just held her until it was over and carried her out to a lawn chair to sleep afterward. We suspected that extreme temperature changes triggered seizures. We tried to avoid the water in the mornings when it was cooler. We also covered her with a towel when she got out so she would not get chilled.
Rose also loved the ocean. Swimming with her among the waves made me a complete wreck. I was afraid we would both go under if she seized in the ocean. She was content to go in for only a few minutes and then play in the tidal pools with her shovel. She also enjoyed searching for little fish and shells in these pools.
Rose and I had just walked down onto the beach and picked our spot on the edge of a tidal pool. I set down our bags and towels just as Rose fell face first into the sand. She had sand on her face and in her mouth. I placed her on her side to seize, as I tried to wipe off some of the sand that stuck to her face. A nice lady nearby offered me a bottle of water to wash her off with. The seizure soon ended, but Rose was covered in wet, sticky sand. I swaddled her in a towel and sat close beside her to wait out the thirty minutes or so it would take before she woke up. My family could see us from the porch of the condominium, so I knew help would arrive when someone spotted Rose lying still under a towel.
While I was sitting quietly beside Rose, two boys about her age walked by. They were carrying a surfboard, table-fashion, covered with an assortment of shells and seaweed. They both glanced at Rose as they walked by. They put down their board a ways down the beach and walked back to me. They asked what was wrong with Rose. I explained that she had just had a seizure, but would be fine when she woke up. We talked about the treasures they were carrying on their board. I shared that Rose would have loved to have seen their haul from the sea, if she had been awake. They walked back to their board. One returned carrying a giant pin shell. “Give her that when she wakes up”, he said. We still have that precious shell.
SEIZURE MAMA SPEAKS NOW
There will be children who do not understand epilepsy and seizures. There will be children who will be afraid of your child after seeing him/her seize. There will be a stigma. It will be harmful and painful.
There will also be children with great kindness. They will be protective of your fragile child. They will be loyal friends. Relish the memories of the kind kids. They are the angels of this broken world.