A Day In The Life Of Scott

If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion

This week in… “Scott’s Head”

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First off, I want to say “Good morning!” It has been a long time since I actually wrote a blog post after waking up. I generally only get thinking about what to write for a post late at night before I go to bed. It gives me something to do while I am waiting for James to fall asleep, to ensure that he is not going to have any seizures.

Since my last blog post there has been a lot going on that I feel the need to share and discuss.

Last Tuesday, while I was gone out for a couple hours for coffee, James did the unthinkable. He called his mother. For most of us this is a harmless endeavour that leaves us feeling good because we had a chance to talk to someone we love and hold very close to our hearts. Unfortunately, this is not the typical case for James. He has spoken to his mother only a handful of times since moving in with me in July. Each time he does, something happens in his mind leading to an increase in seizures, often for days afterwards. As such, his grandmother and I discourage him from talking to her as much as possible.

When I left that evening, he was happy-go-lucky and was his normal self, looking forward to an evening of video games with his buddy. I got home that night and James seemed “off” somehow. I knew something was up, but I was not sure what was going on. At first he was not too willing to talk about it, but I managed to get the info out of him. He expected me to get mad at him, but really what can I do? I was not amused, because I knew what was about to happen, but it is his mother, and so other than giving him the talk about why he should avoid her, there was nothing I could do; just sit and wait for seizures to begin. He mentioned to his Nan that he had made the call; she too discouraged him from making any future calls. The lies and the stress she causes him is not at all worth it. She tells him things, and sadly, he is just gullible enough to believe it. In his mind, I know he wants to believe everything she says, because he wants her to make right everything she had done to him in the past.

I don’t believe this is happening. Each of the four or five times that James has been in contact with his mom, it caused a great deal of stress and frustration leading to seizure activity. I would love nothing more than for him to have a good working relationship with his mom. After all, who wouldn’t want one? I love my mom, and I miss her greatly at times because I am far away doing what I have to do. The difference is, that when I get off the phone, I am not overcome with anger and frustration, and thinking about all the bad things that happened to me at her hand.

Anyway, it took a couple days, but by Thursday the seizures had set in. James ended up staying home from school because in a matter of hours he had about eight seizures. From what I have read, I can speculate that they were pseudoseizures, induced by stress, and therefore were related to his phone call a couple nights earlier. Pseudoseizures only occur when a person is awake, as James was because the alarms had gone off to get ready for school that morning. Plus, most of his seizures only occur at night while he is sleeping, and so they are not stress-induced.

Some of the seizures were doozies, and he was in them for several minutes at a time. He even got a little aggressive with me a couple times, and called me off when I was trying to give him his pills. He says he does not remember doing this, but apologized to me all the same.

That all said Friday was the beginning of a long weekend. There were no seizures at all. James’ Nan and sister came to stay with us for the entire weekend. It was a good visit. James got to spend some quality time with his Nan, who would never do anything to hurt him, and his sister who always has his back and looks out for his best interests. I have to give credit where it is due; his sister definitely has his best interests at heart, because James flipped his lid a couple times during the weekend, and every time, she went out the door after him to calm him down. His Nan is like the voice of reason, who is trying hard to help me steer him back in the right direction. Always convincing him to do the right thing and be responsible for his actions.

It for these reasons that I insist on making it possible for James to see his family as often as possible. He may be with me for now, but I have never once discouraged him from talking to his Nan and sister. In fact this is why I spend so much time bring him to Grand Falls to see them. I think that in his situation, where he living with a non-family member, that it gives him some grounding.

Anyway, now that the weekend is over, James has returned to normal. The melancholy feeling that came from coming home to an empty house after four days has passed. He has possibly had a couple small seizures in his sleep, but I am not sure. I was so exhausted after being “on” all weekend with company that I am not sure if he had one or not. I seem to recall that he had two yesterday morning, but the funny thing is, he doesn’t remember them. I could have sworn that I rolled him over onto his side in his sleep while he was having two seizures. He doesn’t remember such an event, which in itself is funny. Strangely, I woke up yesterday morning when the alarm went off, and I recall the most vivid dream ever; I looked at the clock in the dream seeing that I had an hour before I had to get up. In reality it was time. I was so over-tired, I wonder if it is possible that I dreamt that he had seizures. Surely he would remember if I went in and rolled him over and spoke to him.

Oh well, it has been a good run. Either he’s only had 2 small seizures or no seizures since last Thursday afternoon. Not bad either way.

After a week of trying to get time, and trying to figure out what to say, I finally called my aunt back in Nova Scotia. It was a difficult thing for me to do. My uncle has cancer, so ultimately I know that there is only so much positivity that can come from that fact. As such, I was not sure what to say as I ran possible scenarios through my head. Finally I bit the bullet, and called. I knew I had to call, because even though I am not at home, and it seems at times that I don’t really care, I always have my family in mind. I was glad to hear from my aunt that even though he is not eating like he used to, he is trying hard to be positive. I understand that it would be difficult, but hope he can maintain it, because I believe strongly that with cancer or any other ailment, a positive mindset can go a long way to being happier and living longer.

On hindsight I am glad I called to see how things were going. My aunts and my grandmother were my inspiration to go into teaching, and I think it is important to keep inspiration close to heart as much as possible, especially in times of need and sickness. I am not normally much for prayer, but my thoughts and prayers are with my aunt and uncle and the family. I would love to hear that there is some medical breakthrough to help.

Speaking of teaching, my job-search continues. I have a few jobs applied for, and would love to hear back for one in particular, but who knows. Knowing my luck I will be stuck on employment insurance and have to figure out how to pay rent and make car and student loan payments. My fingers are crossed as sit back and wait for the phone to ring.

James and I went for a drive yesterday and came across Jeddore Lake. This picture below was taken from along the shore.

Figure 1. Jeddore Lake, located between St. Alban’s and St. Veronica’s Newfoundland. Picture taken on May 21, 2013 by Scott Oosterom.

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Author: Scott Oosterom

I live in Cut Knife, Saskatchewan, Canada. I teach high school math/ science at Chief Little Pine School in Little Pine, Sk.

2 thoughts on “This week in… “Scott’s Head”

  1. Scott, you have the patience of Job!
    I really appreciated your call , thank you. It was so thoughtful!

    Aunt Elaine

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