Chapter 41 of Seizure Mama and Rose by Flower Roberts
I had spent many months in pain due to my crooked and arthritic right knee. I had to stand on my feet most of each day teaching eighth grade science. Every move involved pain. I could not sleep at night because of pain. My back and hip began to hurt and my blood pressure went up. I was headed downhill fast. My orthopedist drained fluid off my my knee and gave me shots many times. I had arthroscopic surgery to remove the loose cartilage. The surgeon said my knee looked like a junk yard inside. When I could stand it no longer, I inquired about a knee replacement. The local doctor said I was too young to have one. I was only forty-eight, but I was miserable, unwell, and depressed due to the constant pain.
I went to the neighboring city for a second opinion. I met with the surgeon who had done both my mother’s knee replacements. I was x-rayed and examined. The famous surgeon agreed to do my surgery. I was so relieved. I still remember how it felt to know that something would finally be done to help me.
After surgery I had to work very hard in physical therapy to get “classroom ready” in six weeks. I knew I would be going back into a job where I stood on a hard floor all day and then climbed out my low window to direct parent pick-up line traffic in the afternoons. There would be no slacking on my part. Every person has to pull their own weight in a middle school.
My husband worked from home those weeks following my surgery. It was good to have him taking Rose to school and picking her up in the afternoons. He drove me to my follow-up doctor’s appointments. Everything was going as planned. We were just weeks away from getting back to our normal routine.
Late one morning, the phone rang. I knew by my husband’s reaction that something had happened to Rose. He told me that she had just had a seizure in the driveway of the school planting roses with her horticulture class. Her dad rushed out of the house to drive to the high school. There was no time to wait for me and my crutches. I had to call my neighbor to give me a ride to the school.
My neighbor pulled up behind our van at the scene of the accident. I carefully climbed from her car to go check on Rose. She was bloody and dirty with an overturned wheel barrow nearby. She had been transporting roses to be planted along the drive.
When Rose tells this story she likes to pause and ask the listener if they knew what kind of roses she was planting. “Knockout roses,” she says like it is the punchline to a joke. That’s my Rose.
Seizure Mama speaks to parents:
This was one of those times when I felt that a higher power was pulling my chain. Was it not enough that I had just had surgery? Could we not receive one medical emergency at a time? Could God not let me get back on my feet before knocking my baby down?
We did not know it then, but a cluster was starting with this “Knock Out” seizure. Just as I got healed up enough to go back to teaching middle school, Rose went homebound again. It was the last semester of her senior year.
She was not happy about leaving school. Her school was big. There were many steps. The staff had always been very supportive, but they could not be with her every second.
She stayed at home with her dad. She worked on her senior project. He took her to special events at the school when they occurred. I was across the road trying teaching at middle school and trying to carry on. We thought this would be the new normal. But the next time she went down, mama was the one that got broken.