Aaron walked into the kitchen on Saturday morning a little over two weeks ago – March 2nd, to be precise – and saw that I was boiling some eggs. Ever hopeful that whatever I am cooking will be something he likes and something I am making for him, he stopped and watched for a few seconds.
“Mom, what are you making?” he asked.
I told him that I was making his favorite salad. He stared blankly, as if he was utterly clueless about this favorite salad.
“You know, Aaron,” I continued. “The salad you love so much.”
“The salad with Ranch?” he questioned.
“No,” I told him. “You know, the salad with the eggs on top.”
“And the cheese and the bacon,” I explained.
“Oh yeah!” he finally said.
But he still gave no name to this mystery salad which really is his favorite salad! Aaron has such a hard time with names of people and pets and, amazingly enough, food!
“You call it Egg Salad, Aaron,” I told him. “But the real name is Seven Layer Salad.”
I knew he wouldn’t remember the name, but he knew it for now. It was fun to watch his happy reaction to the thought of this salad for supper…whatever it’s called!
We were looking forward to our day and our weekend. The day before, on Friday, Aaron had two seizures, and so he wasn’t able to go to his day group. He missed movie day, which always makes me sad. Thankfully, though, Aaron loves staying home and showed no regret at all.
On Friday evening, we all went to Wal-Mart to get Aaron’s weekend treats as well as some fun food for the weekend. We were expecting a strong winter storm to hit on Saturday evening and into Sunday, so there was excitement mixed in with our fun. We are snow lovers! I had especially waited until Gary was home from work so he could go with us, just in case Aaron had a seizure in Wal-Mart. We have learned that when Aaron has one or two seizures, he might have a drop seizure. These seizures, drop seizures, are so dangerous and unpredictable. This past year has seen Aaron have some serious injuries from falling. Thankfully, our shopping trip was uneventful and was fun for all of us, Aaron especially.
There were no more seizures during that night. Aaron was happy as could be to think of his free day ahead…the anticipated snow…making chocolate chip cookies with me…steak for supper…AND his special salad!! Whatever it’s called! 😊
Later that morning, before noon, Aaron was downstairs in Gary’s study. Aaron was talking up a storm of his own with Gary, as usual. I was in the kitchen, out of sight of the stairs. Suddenly I heard a terrible crash…and then the noise that I definitely recognized. A seizure!!
Gary was beside Aaron in an instant. As I started down the stairs, Gary told me to get towels. I was panicked and in tears as I ran for towels, hurrying them down to Gary. There was blood all over Gary’s hands. I knew this was serious.
As he started up the stairs, Aaron had fallen backward into a file cabinet, hitting the bottom metal handle with his head and actually bending it. Aaron is usually not conscious for a period of time after a seizure, sleeping soundly, but not on this day. He woke up, maybe because we were holding him and applying pressure to the gash on his head. Or perhaps he awakened because of the pain. He was combative and scared, something we’ve never seen. He was fighting us, trying to get away and go up the stairs as we held him tightly.
Finally, Aaron calmed down. He wanted to know why Gary’s hands were bloody, which of course was scary. We explained what happened and told him we would need to take him to the ER. Soon we were in the van, me sitting in the back with Aaron while Gary drove. Aaron was coherent then. The bleeding had stopped, but not his pain, of course. Yet he was remarkably calm and understanding, a trait he often displays in these frightening times. A gift from God, I’m sure.
I thought of other gifts from God as Gary drove. We talked about how thankful we were that the sun was shining and there was no snow yet. I was VERY thankful that it was a Saturday and Gary was home. And we were thankful still that there is a good hospital and emergency room out here in the country not far from our house.
We continued to be grateful that Aaron was seen immediately and that the CAT Scan showed no damage to his head or neck. Aaron was so compliant during the scan, even though it hurt his head and the bleeding began again, worse than ever.
But oh, how my heart hurt for our son! I couldn’t let him know that. Gary and I stayed strong for Aaron and for each other. I really wanted to curl up in a ball and cry, but God gave so much grace to be fully there for Aaron.
And there was Aaron, fully talking up a storm about nuclear bombs, of all things! Talk, talk, talk he did in his typical Aaron fashion. He knows a captive audience when he sees one, let me tell you!!
God gave special strength to Aaron, especially, as he endured 8 staples being put in his head. I knelt by his side, stroking his arm and face and talking to him during the ordeal. With each staple, he would flinch…eyes closed…and mutter a soft “ow.” I felt like my heart was being pierced each time.
I tell you, our children with medical issues…and I know a lot!…are true heroes. They endure more pain IN their lives, and disruption OF their lives, than I can fathom. And yet they just keep on going. One of our sweetest blessings is that Aaron doesn’t feel sorry for himself or complain about his lot. He LOVES to talk about what happens to anyone who will listen, trust me, and even to perfect strangers…but he doesn’t act like he resents this life that he lives.
However, once in a while, he does give us a glimpse into his heart and his thoughts. He did just that on Sunday as we made his cookies, lots of snow outside our windows, and his head still bandaged.
“Mom?” he began. “Saturday, I thought, would have been a good day, but it wasn’t.”
I really wanted to wrap him in a hug…which he would have promptly pulled away from…and empathize with him about what a bad day it certainly was. But I knew that I needed to point him to a principle that God points ME to, over and over.
“I know it was a hard day, Aaron, but it ended good,” I reminded him. “What did you have for supper?”
“We had steak!” he answered with enthusiasm.
“And what else?” I prompted him.
He thought a few seconds. I was hopeful that he just MIGHT remember the name of the salad.
“Triple egg salad!!!” he exclaimed.
Triple Egg Salad??!!
How on earth did Seven Layer Salad become Triple Egg Salad?!
So, for that moment, we were both thankful for Triple Egg Salad!
And in my heart, for so many other blessings as well!