Hallmark Really Dropped the Ball Here.

Why doesn’t Hallmark have a “Dear Son, I’m Sorry For Peeing In The Gene Pool” card? They’ve missed the boat here. I owe the Padawan a greeting card at the very least.

So I got up last Friday to discover that the Padawan was already up. I should have seen a red flag waving right then. This is the kid who hasn’t willingly seen a sunrise since he became aware the earth actually revolves around the sun. But he was up.

When he asked his dad for “mutton chops supreme,” we made an appointment with the doctor. When he began hallucinating that his dad was light saber dueling with Squish, we went on the the Emergency Room. When he told us that Iron Man was abandoned by his parents at the age of one because they were billionaires and couldn’t be bothered to put him up for adoption, we were certain he was going to die. Kid knows his super heroes. Usually.

A billionaire says "Huh?" My parents didn't give me up for adoption, dude.

A billionaire says “Huh My parents didn’t give me up for adoption, dude. And also, where did your mother learn to draw?”

They ran a few tests. The first was an EEG. We sat in on it, eyes glued to the screen, pretending we knew exactly what we were looking at as the computer scribbled out patterns like the world’s most expensive etch-a-sketch. The computer drew graceful lines here, a few frantic scribbles there, every once in a while the cursor backing up the screen and marking places of interest. Sometimes the parallel lines intersected. Was that bad? Sometimes they were slow and sleepy, sometimes they bounced around like an itch his brain was trying to scratch.

I tried not to look at the socks on his feet, the ones I had had to put on for him that morning because he was unable to follow simple directions well enough to dress himself. They were his brother’s socks,the only ones I could find in a hurry, too small for him, grey heel and toe not quite lining up, rather like the child whose brainwaves we studied with such intensity.

The boy in the bed was a stranger to me, like someone had been called on to impersonate our son but didn’t have the act down pat yet, words a little too sharp, expression guarded, as if he didn’t quite know who we were, either.v The lights were on, but no one was home. And at that moment, my biggest concern wasn’t whether he would survive, but whether or not I would ever get back the son that I knew.

God is good. All the stars were in alignment that day. Not only did they have openings for MRI and EEG (usually it takes a week or more to schedule each because they only have one machine), the neurologist himself just happened to be present for the whole test. He was the one responsible for the screen backing up at seemingly random points, and he saw what he needed to see. He came and got us in the middle of the test.

A seizure, he said, judging by the irritability of the brainwaves. Really? How is he different? Aren’t all teenagers irritable? Now we had an answer that begged another question. A seizure, but why?

We went back to the ER to wait for the MRI to tell us whether the Padawan’s rare blood disorder could have caused an intercranial tumor. I had to stop him from messing with the IV in his arm. He rolled his eyes and complained that I was fussing over him. For the first time in hours, he sounded like himself.

I smiled, the terrifying episode over.

“Awww,” he cooed suddenly. “Look at the leopard geckos on that guy’s shoulders!”

Okay, so not QUITE over. But mostly. The MRI was clear. No tumor. The ER doctor was patient and encouraging as he gave us our parting instructions.

Fast forward to today and our follow-up appointment. Epilepsy. Genetic. What? No one in this family has crappy genes. Oh, wait…

This smile is supposed to be ingratiating, not supremely creepy. Looks like I missed the mark here, too.

This smile is supposed to be ingratiating, not supremely creepy. Looks like I missed the mark here, too.

Will the real genetic train wreck please stand up?

The Padawan (in orange) is my not-so-mini-me.

The Padawan (in orange) is my not-so-mini-me.

Ummm. Let’s see. Things known to be inherited…

Who has asthma?

That’s me.

Poor vision? Worn glasses since kindergarten AND had an eye patch?




What about severe allergies?

Yep, me, too.

Liver disorder with 50% rate of inheritability most people have never heard of that could cause… what is the word I’m looking for…seizures?

Me again. Can we stop now?

Thinning hair?

That’s – hey, wait. That might be his dad.

Looks like the Padawan got cursed with more than just my stunning good looks. ***

We ran a few errands today after the doctor’s appointment, then we got treats at McDonalds. I gave him my Happy Meal, though. If he’s going to get something deadly from me, it might as well be a cheeseburger.


***true story. He saw a photo of me as a little girl and said “Aww, a picture of little me! Wait. Why I am wearing a dress?” That’s how much he looks like me. Even he can see it.

35 thoughts on “Hallmark Really Dropped the Ball Here.

  1. Oh sweetie. Tons and tons (and did I mention, TONS) of love and support and sympathies and a shoulder to cry on/gnash, as needed, all of it heading your way through the digisphere!!!!

          • Yes, thank you. In fact, today’s test turned up no new melanoma! 🙂 He’s going in for checks every 3 months now, though, now that surgery is done. The surgeon is confident he got it all and has the reputation for being the best in Houston, so I’m counting my blessings. 😉

            I hope you have smooth sailing ahead. One of my colleagues controls her epilepsy with medication and has had some real success; it was a long time before I even knew she had it.

            • That is AWESOME NEWS! Checks every 3 months would get dull after a while, but I’m so glad his check was clean!

              I think this thing will end up just a box we check on a health form. I feel confident.

              • To be honest, I don’t care how dull they are and hope they continue to be uninterestingly normal. 😉 And yes, I hope yours is just a check-box, too! One little thing to say “been there, done that, NBD.”

  2. Oh no! At least your diagnosis made it easier to know what could be the culprit and you didn’t get lost in diagnosis hell?

    I’m glad it sounds like he’s recovering smoothly. *hugs* Hopefully, treatment is an option now that you know he has it?

  3. I’m so sorry you guys had to endure such a scary experience, and that this will possibly mean changes in how you manage his condition, but thank goodness it wasn’t worse. I have a good mate with epilepsy – his seizures are more of the sitting zoning out staring into space variety – but he’s learned how to reduce the number of occurrences and it hardly happens any more.
    I think my eldest may inherit my tendencies toward depression and I wish more than anything I could have removed that from his gene mix. Since I can’t I’ll just have to be vigilant and know what to look for. We do what we can with what we’re given I guess…

    • Yeah, I think it’s going to be fine. It’s new and weird and potentially scary, but we’re one-foot-in-front-of-the-other right now. The neurologist doesn’t suggest any real changes to our lives, so that’s good.

  4. Wow, oh, wow! Halloween has nothing on an ER visit! Glad they were able to quickly diagnose. Sending hugs and healing energy to you and your family! Remember survival doesn’t go to those with the best genes, but those whose jeans have the most resiliency and adaptability!

  5. Pingback: WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!! | Becoming Cliche

  6. This was a very real way you described your son’s seizure and how erratic and strange his was! My youngest daughter had diagnosis of JRA at age 13 and it meant MRI and Ct-scans and blood tests 3-4 x annually. She was my hero during her teens, not whining when she had the right to do so.
    Best of luck with your Padawan. I know this was awhile ago and will try to come back soon. I usually blog over weekends, except for responding to posts as they are pre-scheduled. 🙂 Hope all is going smoothly.

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