"Hey Babe, August just had a seizure..."
Not the call I was expecting to get from my wife the afternoon of December 27th, 2017. Our boys were with my mom for the day, so of course I figure my wife is calling to discuss how we'll exercise our freedom that evening - wink, wink. Or maybe something super funny happened that she had to share in that moment, because otherwise it would be forgotten by the time we both got home.
Out of all the thoughts running through my mind prior to that call:
- I should be done with this appointment in about an hour
- I think I'll use this product to treat this stain
- This kind of carpet takes a bit of time to dry, so I think I'll leave my air movers here and come back for them tomorrow
I never once imagined I'd have to process - August just had a seizure. But I did.
If you know August, you'd understand that he's the coolest 2 year old ever. It's like he's beyond the trials of life, seizures or any kind of sickness. But his humanity quickly became evident in the most heart-wrenching way possible. I was instantly reminded of perhaps the most difficult aspect of fatherhood; having to come to grips with the fact that you can't protect your family from everything all the time.
I wasn't there when it happened. I wasn't there to call for help. I wasn't there to ride with him in the ambulance. I wasn't there to hold him while they wrapped tubes around his feet. I wasn't there while they tried to keep him still to get his temperature. And it's not because I chose not to be there. It's not because I didn't care or because I'm a bad father - but because it's impossible to be all places at all times. There was nothing I could do with this news in the moment. I was powerless.
"...Don't worry, he's stable."
No parent wants to hear of their child at any age being "stable." Like what does that even mean that my two year old is stable?!
Backtrack. This whole series of events started earlier that day. My mom took the boys to Target to get August some fever medicine. Unfortunately, the virus that caused the fever, won before it could be beat. My mother noticed him seizing in the red cart and immediately yelled for yelp. Thankfully, a woman next to her was familiar with these situations, as her daughter suffered from seizures, and was able to give instruction until the paramedics arrived (thank you whoever you are from the bottom of my heart). At this point my oldest Aaren, age 5, is crying because he thinks he's about to lose his brother, while my mom has to try to be strong for him and for herself and for the paramedics to explain what happened. Thank you mom as well.
Sidenote: This is why we should be extremely selective and intentional about whose care we leave our children in.
Back to the story. I finally made it to the hospital to meet my mom, wife, Aaren and of course August. Seeing him in the emergency room connected to tubes was extremely difficult. Having to wait for a room didn't help emotions at all, but I'm glad I was there in time to be the face he saw once he woke up.
Turns out this was an isolated incident, not something that will be recurring, nevertheless this has been my most frightening moment as a parent. The thought of being without one of my sons is one I can't even fully think. Neither do I want tragedy to be the only catalyst of perspective. So it is my goal to parent and love them intentionally. Everyday. Not as if it's our last, but as if this is just what we do.