Last week, Hubs and I got to take Son to a neurologist. There were a number of reasons for this. One, Hubs got to take the morning off work and hey, who doesn't want to spend a rare morning of family time sitting in a doctor's office? But the delightful prospect of spending hours catching up on our "Highlights for Kids Magazine" reading aside, we went primarily to see why Son is having seizures.
Given the timing of the most recent one, we determined the cause is probably not just a desire to be liberated from school. I mean we haven't ruled it out entirely, of course, but we think there may be other factors involved. This time, rather than sitting in English class, he was getting ready to ride his bike when he announced to Grandpa, "I think I'm going to faint. Help me, Grandpa." Thank heaven for Grandpa.
I was in Orem when my phone rang. (For those who, for reasons I cannot imagine, have not acquainted themselves with Utah geography, Orem is about 40 miles away from Nephi, which is where Hubs' parents live.) I don't remember much about the drive home, other than noting that my car goes a LOT faster than I ever realized it could.
Grandpa handled the situation perfectly, and I am beyond grateful that he was there. He had the dubious job of letting me know my son, my only child, had just been taken to the hospital. In an ambulance. He told me I needed to get there ASAP and he managed to tell me all of this without completely freaking me out. (I didn't completely freak out until I was actually AT the hospital. I was just "mostly" freaking out on the way home, as I repeated over and over "He's at the hospital, he's in good hands.")
Hubs was in Texas at the time and he got to spend the whole night freaking out all by himself, until he was able to switch to an earlier flight home. I spent the night holding Son's hand. I held his hand all night for two reasons. One, he wouldn't let go of mine, and two, I didn't want to let go of his. So there you go.
I'm not going to go into any more detail here, even though Son has given the go-ahead to write about this. I'm just going to go with: He seized for 45 minutes. It was bad. It is not something we'd like to do again. And we recognize we were extremely blessed in many ways. It could have been so much worse.
And so it came to pass that last week we were all hanging out with the neurologist. And we learned some interesting things. Among them was a directive by which Son was particularly dismayed; no caffeine. Apparently, caffeine can trigger seizures. Who knew?
Now, you'd think a kid who has already been told by his parents "Don't drink caffeine" would not particularly have a problem with this. But this is a kid who has been told "Don't drink caffeine" and has done it anyway. Apparently quite frequently. I know. A teenager who defies his parents. Shocker.
The reasoning behind this rule, aside from wanting to avoid potentially addictive substances, is Son on caffeine is kind of like Taz on crack; it may be entertaining to watch from a distance, but if you're on the clean-up crew or responsible in any way for him...not so much.
Anyone who knows me well knows I am, myself, hypersensitive to caffeine. A can of Coke can keep me awake for hours. Hours that I spend talking REALLY FAST. We first discovered Son has similar tendencies when he was about 4 years old. Mom and I had gone to lunch leaving Son, in theory, in the care of my father. I returned to find Son bouncing off walls, speaking so rapidly I could have sworn he was speaking in tongues, and it would not have surprised me in the least to have seen his head rotate a full 360 degrees. "Dad," I inquired, "why is my child possessed by Satan? What did you feed him?"
"Why? What did he tell you?" (This was also the day we realized that leaving Son and my dad together unsupervised is something akin to handing Bonnie and Clyde some ammo and a few Google maps to the nearest banks.) Dad admitted that they "might have had some ice cream. And a few Oreos. And a couple of York Peppermint Patties. And maybe some Smarties..." Nutrition has not always been a big priority for Dad.
"Uh huh." I glanced around and noticed 4 or 5 Pepsi cans sitting on the counter. Empty Pepsi cans. "Dad...did you let him drink Pepsi??"
"What did he tell you?"
"Dad, I'm asking YOU. Did he or did he not drink Pepsi?"
Dad struggled for a minute, sputtering and stammering and resembling, in many ways, a deer in the headlights only somehow worse. Finally he responded with, "Well it was DIET Pepsi!"
Oh. Oh good. Because everyone knows that should cancel out the truckload of sugar they had consumed.
So, yes. We've known for awhile that caffeine and Son should not be spending a lot of time together. But to add insult to injury, he was also instructed to avoid soda in general. This is quite a blow. One of Son's favorite activities is going with his grandpeople to refill their mugs with fountain drinks (and really, at what point does it stop being mug and start being a bucket? 55 ounces is still just a mug? Seriously?) and go for a drive. We're looking at Gatorade now. Crystal Lite. Propel. That sort of thing. Which somehow just doesn't seem as appealing in Son's world. "How come all the good stuff turns out to be bad stuff? It's just not fair," he observed as he bemoaned his caffeine-free, non-carbonated fate.
I totally get it. I'm still not completely over my shock and sadness about the whole "Alfredo sauce isn't health food" thing. Still. He's been deeply disturbed about not being able to recall any of the events during or the day after the seizure. "This must be what it's like to wake up after a night of drinking and not knowing what you did the night before, and hoping you didn't kill anyone while you were out," he observed as he was being released from the hospital the next day.
"That's probably true," I responded. "So what are you going to with that?"
"One thing for sure, I'm never to going drink or do drugs because I HATE NOT KNOWING WHAT I DID!"
Doctor ordered abstinence from caffeine AND a decreased desire to experiment with drugs and alcohol? Yes, we may have been even more blessed than we realize.