I am competitive by nature. I am also the parent of a child with epilepsy.
This weekend, those things collided.
Absence seizures make a child inattentive. Having generalized seizures all night means a six year old who is cranky and aggressive, and, well, the kind of kid who goes from loving and "yes ma'am"ing to screaming and out of control.
That was part of the reason that we were sitting in the doctor's office on a recent random weekday afternoon, with a kid who had, within the hour, stood up in his class, stared into space, and wet his pants, despite being potty trained for years.
Fast forward six weeks, and meds are still not working. Epilepsy medication requires a lot of trial and error, repeated each time a child grows in any significant way.
But the Epilepsy Foundation 5K was this weekend. The Epilepsy Foundation, particularly the Epilepsy Foundation of Louisiana, has educated me and offered to educate our school and my six year old's teachers and classmates, free of charge. The Epilepsy Foundation deserves our support. They do good work.
So we made t-shirts ("Team Loki") and made our donations, and we ran.
Actually, we walked.
We walked slowly.
We stopped before the starting gun went off.
At the starting line, my kid had his first obvious seizure of the day. We started the race about three minutes after everyone else. We dragged him along.
He had another seizure.
Even among an epilepsy-savvy crowd, lots of people couldn't tell. His seizures have occasionally involved tremors or other obvious symptoms, but not that day. He just wasn't there, again and again.
We pulled him in a wagon for a while, but the little kids with us eventually needed the wheels back. We held his hands. We dragged him along. We waited impatiently while he picked flowers, balanced on the parking lot's cement bumpers, and wandered away.
The police patrol that follows the race rolled forward slowly, right behind us. Every now and then, we waved at the officer.
Halfway through the walk, my sister, who also has epilepsy, had a seizure. It was a good morning for her. Her seizures weren't piling up, one after another, as usual. She just had the one before she continued walking. But it delayed us a bit.
Then, the exhaustion came over him. He was done, but the wagon was gone.
We coaxed. We pleaded. We no longer had police escort.
Finally, when we could see no one behind us, we crossed the finish line. There were eight or nine people, cheering us on as if we were the first to cross the line.
We were probably the last to cross.
One of my military vet friends told me it is a win to finish at all. I thought to myself that military boot camp should probably include dragging a resistant, epileptic six year old for three miles through city streets.
But she was right, you know. It was a win.
P.S. My nine year old wants everyone to know that lots of people did the one mile fun run and he still managed to come in around 25th among all ages.