My wife really stepped up during that week. My parents, get this, came down to Los Angeles and took the boy home with them for a few days, since he was on Spring Break and I was not in a position to take him out of town, nor even chase him around.
I did, however, manage to take care of a few things during that week. I met with the accountant to take care of taxes. I made it to a steak dinner we had been planning for about a month. I spent a lot of time arguing on the phone with the insurance companies.
And, the task my wife just can not do, I took the baby girl to her latest blood draw.
Most of you know that my 5 year old baby girl has epilepsy. We're still new to the "epilepsy spectrum" and experimenting with meds and dosages. The rough part is that Jade has to have her blood drawn fairly often. All routine stuff, checking med levels, etc. but tough on a 5 year-old. My wife cries when she has to give blood herself and has "opted out" of taking the baby girl. That's cool. Besides, Jade is a champ. She doesn't enjoy the process, but she does it. So, last week, Jade, her faithful stuffed Piggie, favorite blankie, and her old man with his cane went down for her blood draw.
I hate to dance. I love music, but dancing is not for me. Jade, however, loves it. The first morning my back was not going to cut it, Jade was at her dance class. I called my wife and said I couldn't do it. I wasn't gonna' make it home, could she swap out with me. She did.
That afternoon, I had to explain to Jade that Daddy was "tender". She had to be careful running and jumping on me for the next few days. She needed to help me picking things up off the floor. She had to hug me very gently.
And she obliged. Every morning she asked me if "my back was better yet". She gave me the most gentle hugs. It was very sweet. Jack, on the other hand, figured out pretty quickly that I couldn't catch him very quickly and took the week to get into all sorts of "prohibited items".
I was truly impressed with my daughter's show of empathy.
Last week, Jade and I are in the OT lobby waiting for Jack. I'm feeling better (at least enough to be out and about). Jade finishes her homework and asks if we can turn on the TV (I think it was a Tom and Jerry DVD this week).
The theme music starts and Jade asks me if my back was better. I told her I was doing better. So she asks if I would dance with her. Not that good yet, Baby Girl. But I'll watch you.
I painfully made my way in to the chair at the diagnostic lab. Jade made her way up to my lap. She knew what was coming and started to whimper a bit as the nurse tapped around to find the best vein on her arm. She started to cry when the nurse put that blue elastic band around her bicep. I told her to look at my face instead of the needle as it went in. She cried a little bit. She asked for it to be over. She started counting to 10 through her tears (hoping when she got to ten that she would be done). But the nurse needed 3 vials. This was going to take more than 10 seconds. I assured her it was okay and then, through her tears, she had a seizure.
When we got home, Jade was allowed to play with her new toy. A talking "Gabby" doll that she had earned for being so brave. She told her mom how well she did. She was showered with attention and praise.
She even let her daddy take a goofy picture.
Jade has what are known as "Absence Seizures". She rolls her eyes up to her left and simply stares off for 2 or 3 seconds. Sometimes, she kind of "pulses" with them. She has no idea what is happening during those 2 or 3 seconds. At least that what we surmise.
What is amazing, however, is that she can not tell us if she just had a seizure, but based on the reactions of others, she can ask us if she did.
I am truly impressed with my daughter's show of empathy.
I spend a lot of time wondering what happens during those 2-3 seconds. Where does she go? What does she feel? Is it painful? Why doesn't she remember?
But I do know, that she was fretting, crying, scared and brave at the same time. She stared up into my eyes and it suddenly stopped. She pulsed a little bit as I stared into her tear-stained blue eyes. It's an image I will never forget. She snapped back, smiled at me, and turned her head to see the needle in her arm. She started whimpering again and then it was over.
I was given proof that she has absolutely no idea what happens in those 2-3 seconds.
I like to think she goes somewhere beautiful. I like to think that she goes somewhere she can feel no pain. I like to think it's perfect for her.
Well, Jade, wherever you go...
I hope you dance.
We'll get there, my love.