When Jennifer is seizuring in the hospital while in a coma, when her body is bucking and then going rigid, repeating that awful pattern again and again, I do not remember in that moment of Laurie doing the same in the 4th grade, age 9, the jolt like an electric shock when Dee screams from the girl’s bedroom. Laurie has fallen between the twin beds and
Dee is trying to lift her up without success and screaming what is happening to my daughter God help me what is happening? I grab Laurie and carry her in a scramble to the car, Dee driving wildly, me in cutoff overalls without even a shirt on, some vision for the hospital nurses of a redneck disturbed out of a nap on a sunny afternoon, barreling down Essen Lane to Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, talking all the time to Laurie, who keeps trying to open her eyes but only her eyelids fluttering, thinking if I can get her to wake up that everything will be okay.
So it does not occur to me that Jen’s seizure is like Laurie’s, life repeating itself and making no sense in the chaos of the moment. For Laurie, after a CAT scan, it is a subtle abnormality in one squiggly brain wave, some slight difference in the pattern signifying a convulsive disorder and no longer called epilepsy. The pediatrician for both girls, Dr. Ben Thompson, puts Laurie on a daily dose of Phenobarbital and it evidently works (never another seizure) until Laurie finally stops taking it after high school, deciding herself that it is no longer needed.
The seizuring experience is so much the same for both daughters, Laurie’s less severe and life-threatening and of shorter duration, and it surprises me Jen’s episode doesn’t recall the other until now because they are the same in one respect. The worry of the unknown and waiting for tests, each time whether pushing through the doors to see Laurie in the Children’s Ward with colorful walls and painted children at play, whether opening the door to Jennifer’s room each time, both are moments to wonder and feel overwhelmed because sickness and disease and the death of a child is the absolute worse of human experience for helpless parents.