Though I posted this morning, I wanted to share events that occurred about an hour after my update.
The thud reverberated across the ceiling above me. I didn’t need to think about what it was. I knew. I knocked the side table over jumping to my feet, scaling two steps at a time on the stairs.
– Jordan! Jordan! Are you alright?
There was no answer. Only the faint hum of the ceiling fan in the upstairs bathroom getting louder as I rushed upstairs. Fortunately, the bathroom door was not locked. Like any pre-teen, she values her privacy. Had that door been locked, I would have thrown my body against it to get inside.
I found her trying to get to her feet, her legs splayed out with weak knees and most of her weight on her arm, trying to balance off the toilet. The other arm was trying to pull up her pants. But her eyes were dilated and her mouth crooked, the distinctive twitch from her lips that is the tell-tale sign she is in the midst of a seizure. I tried to talk to her but she could not speak. She could only gaze back at me with those wild eyes. She was in danger of falling again. I wrestled with her to get her to sit down, but even in the midst of a strong seizure her proper lady-like manners overruled. She kept trying to pull up her pants, unaware that she didn’t have the motor function to get the job done. I spoke calmly to her.
– Relax, honey. Let Daddy help you with those.
She was shaking–not violently, but she trembled throughout her body. Her legs were covered in goosebumps. I asked her if she could say her name. Again, she looked back at me, clearly unable to speak at all. She shook her head no. I held her close to me for just a few moments, rubbing her back and stroking her hair. I asked her if she hit her head and she again shook her head no. Of course, she might not know. She doesn’t remember most of what happens during a seizure. I told her I wanted to check her head just to make sure she was alright. She nodded approval. I ran my hands along her scalp and looked for any redness. The boom had been so loud. Now, I was shaking.
I asked her name again. She tried to say it, but the sounds that spurted from her mouth were incomprehensible.
At least two minutes had passed. The Ativan was downstairs. I would give her another minute before I would run for it. It passed and she was still unable to speak. I have no idea how I managed to run up and down the stairs without falling. I just kept thinking that I need to get back to her.
After giving her the medicine, I asked her name again. Nonsense from her lips. She motioned toward the shelf and managed to say something that sounded like ‘purple.’ I looked up to see her hair brush. Surely, she wasn’t thinking of brushing her hair. I pointed to things on the shelf and she nodded when my finger reached the brush. I handed it to her and she began brushing her hair. The motion seemed almost involuntary. She brushed and her lip pursed as though she were on the verge of crying. She brushed and brushed her hair, still unable to speak to me, still slightly shaking throughout her body.
When she was done, she dropped the brush and sat with her back against the wall. I asked her name again. She tried to speak, but the words were far from familiar. I motioned for her to sit on my lap. She crawled over and leaned her whole body against me.
– I’m here with you, I said. I’m here.
I love the smell of her hair. It is laced with traces of her favorite shampoo, but there is also the beautiful scent of my daughter–the perfumed essence I first took in more than twelve years ago on the day she was born. With her head nestled against my neck, her scent surrounded me. I ran my fingers through her hair and I began to cry. I did not want to scare her, so I wiped the tears from my eyes as casually as I could without her noticing. When I’d gathered my composure, I sat her up again and asked her name. The words she spoke began to sound like, “Jordan,” but they were short and garbled.
After several minutes, we walked together to the bedroom. I laid her down and covered her with a blanket. She was getting better at saying her name, but the rest of her speech was a mess. When I asked her what channel she wanted to watch on the TV, she said “Jordan Chaaa-.” I asked again. Again she mixed a mangled “Jordan” into the words. I asked if she meant The Disney Channel. She nodded. With The Wiggles singing insanely in the background, I asked what show she was watching. “The Jordans.”
Jeanette had returned from running errands. She knew the minute she entered the room what had happened.
– How long?
– Several minutes.
– Did you give her the medicine?
Jeanette sat next to Jordan and ran her fingers over her cheeks. Jordan looked up at her. Jeanette asked her name. Jordan answered correctly.
– Who am I?
– Who is that?
Jeanette pointed at me. Jordan turned, and for the first time her face lit up with a giant smile.
I needed a break. My eyes were wet. I got up and grabbed a glass of water–splashed some on my face. When I returned to her, she had found more words, though every one of them was somewhat slurred because the right side of her face was still lagging in recovery. Every sentence sounded like it had been uttered by Cher. She was smiling more, laughing at the television, and beginning to provide the running commentary on life we sometimes curse. Not today. Each sentence, each observation; we encouraged her for more.