Night before last was a rough night for Aaron. He had several seizures………… and while this is nothing out of the ordinary for him, these seizures were stronger, it seemed. It wasn’t long after I had lain back down that I heard through the monitor in our room the sound of him rustling around. As I got out of bed I heard a loud thump and knew that he had fallen. I found him sitting on the floor at his open bedroom door. He was so out of it that he was hardly aware of what was going on. I finally figured out that he wanted to go to the bathroom, and I also realized that he needed to change his pants after this last seizure.
As I helped him to the bathroom, I saw that Aaron couldn’t talk. Sometimes these hard seizures have that effect. He was trying so hard to communicate with me but the words wouldn’t come. It was as if his mouth wouldn’t even open. He tried and tried to say a word, and finally a word would come out after great effort. I was able to put two and two together as he let me know that he needed to go to the bathroom, and then later let me know that he was in some pain and felt like he couldn’t breathe.
I didn’t let him know how much that scared me……….the pain and the breathing issue. I got him settled back into bed, pulling his pile of covers up around him just the way that he likes. I sat there with him for awhile, watching his breathing and finally watching him fall asleep. And I thought about how he reacted during the time in the bathroom and then as we sat on his bed, and he couldn’t form words. He didn’t get frustrated, but instead he would just look at me as if he was asking for my help………and he would smile. Over and over he would give me that look, and then smile. It wasn’t a “Ha-Ha, I think this is funny” smile……….but instead it was like a trusting smile…….a sweet “It’s up to you now, Mom” smile. It was up to me to finish what he was trying to say; to understand what he needed; to give him comfort and help when he needed it.
Aaron can be so rough and gruff much of the time. He thinks that it’s funny to poke and pinch and give us whacks on our back or rear end. He’s loud and sometimes says things that irritate everybody, and when corrected he says that he thought it was funny. So when Aaron is vulnerable and needy, it touches a place in my heart that makes me realize just how fragile he really is. His health because of these seizures is at the forefront at that moment, but also his frustrations and fears are revealed in his eyes. And in that smile.
His last seizure was around 7:30 in the morning, and soon afterwards he roused up enough to want to come downstairs. He made it down the stairs, which scared me again since he was so wobbly, but nothing would deter him from what he wanted. And again, he couldn’t talk but kept giving me that look and that smile. It was a tough morning as he tried to get comfortable. He had a bad headache and he threw up. I finally rubbed his back and tickled his arm, and he was able to tell me that it felt good. He relaxed and dozed off and on, and finally woke up able to talk pretty well. “Do you want me to eat something?” he asked. I knew he was telling me that he was hungry, so when I asked what he wanted he immediately asked for tomato soup. “Tomato soup?” I asked. “Are you sure?” But Aaron was very sure, so I fixed him the soup and then went to help him up. As I pulled on his arm, he said, “You’re stretching me.” He laughed and I could tell that he was feeling better. He ate his soup, and then took his pills. “Are you poisoning me?” he said…….and laughed again at his funny joke.
He lay back down and fell fast asleep. Later I heard him stirring and then heard, “Mom?” I asked him what he wanted and he said, “Well. Did the fog go away?” We talked about the fog, and it wasn’t long before he offered this observation: “Mom, since you wanted me to lay here every now and then, do you know what I was doing? I was gassing!”
This is when I knew that Aaron was back. Yes, back full force and in all his honesty. Later in the afternoon he went with me for a quick trip to Wal-Mart, and then to get tacos for him to take home and eat……….with his three forks and his knife that he didn’t use and the napkins and his toothpicks………you know the routine now.
Of course, he talked…….and talked some more. He talked about fish and about lobsters and about snoring and about losing weight and about someone he knows that has not lost weight and who still snores. He talked about lots of other things, too, as always. I was so sleepy that between the driving and his talking I’m surprised I was able to find my way home. But find my way I did.
I’m glad that Aaron found his way back from the effects of the seizures, and even glad that he was talking again. I keep thinking about that helpless smile he kept giving me and the look in his eyes when he couldn’t talk. Sometimes I say, either out loud or to myself, “Oh, Aaron. Just don’t talk for a few minutes!” But when he really couldn’t talk, I so wanted to hear him speak. Again, be careful what I wish for, right?
Even his talk of gassing was good to hear……….sort of. Oh, Aaron!