Saturday, June 01, 2013


When my daughter and I discuss her childhood, we've come to the conclusion that I raised a different child and she had a different mother based on our memories of the same event. However, every now and then we discover something new in those memories. 
We were on the bus discussing the rare form of epilepsy that plagued her from age two to six when we had a diagnosis. Once my daughter started to vomit, she could not stop, short of hospitalization and IVs bringing medicine and liquids to her racked little body. Some of the stays were short, over night: sometimes they lasted a week or more.
The first time after checking her in and I made my way to the pediatrics ward, where they'd taken her I found her hands tied so she wouldn't pull out the IVs. "Yoke," she said, her voice shaking with anger. "Yoke what they did to me." She promised to leave the IVs in if we untied her. Despite the nurses' doubt, we untied her. She kept her promise.
Hospitalizations became so frequent that once a pediatric nurse called me to see how she was because a few weeks went by without an attack.
Only when a cocky young doctor, who saw her in emergency the night of the same day that she'd been released after an attack, refused to do what I told him would work and did what I knew wouldn't and wouldn't check her records, did we take her to Mass General. Many, many tests later we had the diagnosis and a prescription for Dilantin. She never had another attack.


She took her medicine happily, reminding me if I was delayed in giving it to her. Only recently has she confessed that it wasn't just because she knew it would prevent attacks, although that was part of it. "It tasted like candy," she said. When she was little, I limited her candy to two pieces a day. She was afraid that if I knew how good the medicine was, I'd substitute it for the candy. So she thought she was getting four sweets a day, two of which kept her out of the hospital.

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