“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
I’m a huge Dickens fan. And today I lived in a novel.
This morning I gave a presentation to our board of county commissioners. I’d worked for days to prepare it, and to build up my confidence that I would not falter. It went exceptionally well, and the gentlemen who were there to support me were perfection. Every outcome I could have hoped for was achieved. I left feeling a deep satisfaction.
I met Dave for a short recap, then headed off to meet with Kim about a potential job offer her organization has for me. It went very well- it all did.
When Trinity came home she worked on her homework and read me her story. We decided tonight we would celebrate today’s successes by getting frozen dinners and ice cream for dinner!
We picked up the boys from school and headed to the grocery store. I brought them in with me and they played and fought and were kids. While I was waiting in the checkout they were looking at the toy claw machines, Redbox…etc. When I looked over to check on them I noticed Trinity was standing, facing away from me, and her body was seizing rhythmically, over and over.
I abandoned everything and ran to her. I held her by her shoulders, she was completely pale. Her eyes were open, but seeing nothing. She was unresponsive. I turned to the nearest worker and told them to call 911.
Trinity spoke, but her voice sounded far away. She said, “I can’t see you. I can’t see you.” over and over and over. So that she didn’t collapse and hit her head, I laid her down. She was in a total fit, crying that she couldn’t see, she couldn’t tell me who she was. She didn’t know who I was. She was writhing about as I tried to hold her loosely, protecting her from her own confusion.
The next several moments were horrible. Answering questions, waiting for the EMTs, checking on my boys, a gathering crowd, and my beautiful, brilliant girl, confused and hurting. She asked if this was a dream. Over and over.
The medics arrived and started to assess her. She finally started to respond to my questions. They took her blood and other vitals, and she cried and cried. She was terrified. They brought in the stretcher and I had to choose what to do. What to do?
When faced with the fact my daughter could have any kind of major medical issue, we opted to take a ride to the ER. I called Dennis and told him to come get the boys. The firemen took charge of them and let them hang out in the firetruck until their daddy came.
Trinity continued to recover, and she was so confused, lost, and terrified. The ambulance men gave her a stuffed dog and that seemed to help. We got to the ER and they took more vitals. She got a CT scan, blood drawn (I had to hold her down), and a urinary test (I had to teach her how to pee in a specimen cup). They couldn’t find anything wrong in these preliminary tests.
Really, the ER was a lot of waiting. They were busy, and Trinity improved and just wanted to eat and go home. After a couple of hours they released us. We still don’t know what caused the seizure, and she’s embarrassed to talk about it any more. Melinda brought us dinner, and we all went to bed.
I didn’t sleep until I had let out all of my terror that I had held back for hours, being strong for Trinity. I cried and cried, letting the violent emotions flow onto Dennis’ shirt. I slept with nightmares of my daughter’s empty eyes, and hollow voice repeating over and over, “I can’t see you. I can’t see you.”
So I guess the only trail I was on today was one of strength and suffering. I would wish to never walk down that trail of watching my child suffer, but I know it is a useless wish. Suffering is part of the experience of this life.
When I step back and see it in that light- that this day, like every day, simply adds to my experiences. Just as each time my feet (or wheels) have hit a trail, every single moment we breathe, or hold our breath, it simply increases our depth. And for that, I can be grateful.