I guess I could wax poetic about the numerous slights Jane suffered over the years while I was growing up, but one episode sticks in my mind the most. Jane wasn’t allowed to be alone in the house with me for long periods of time without supervision. It wasn’t because anyone thought she would harm me. It was because at any given time she could have a seizure and who knows what might have happened to me while she was down for the count. So for a short while I had a nanny, as well as Jane, to care for me.
I’d like to describe an epileptic seizure to you as I remember them.
Her eyes would glaze over. She said this was when she started having a metallic taste in her mouth. Then her eyes would roll back in her head and just as quickly, her back would start to bow. She used to call for her father before she got too far into the seizure. It was an eerie sound “Dad-dy…Daaaa-dy….Daddy.” She wasn’t screaming, even though the pain in her head must have been explosive. It was a soft moan and enough to bring my grandfather on the run to help her.
As her back bowed, she gained almost super human strength. You had to be careful she didn’t grab you around the neck as she started the thrash about. She could choke the life out of you and not even know what was happening. She made choking sounds as her throat contracted and thank goodness she was on medication because many epileptic seizures can end in fatalities as the person begins to swallow and choke on their own tongue.
Jane loved to make things and she enjoyed sewing. She always tried to include me in the process. One day she handed me a pair of blunt nosed kid’s scissors and asked me to cut up this big piece of foam. She was making a pillow and this would be the stuffing for it. I waited until she was busy with the sewing machine, laid the scissors down and curled up on the foam and went to sleep.
I wasn’t keen on crafting back then.
I was a little brat sometimes too. It thrilled me to bits to tell her I was going to run away and then hide under one of the large cedar trees in the front yard. The branches of these cedars dipped to the ground and made a nice tent for someone as small as I was. She would coming running out the front door once she realized I was missing and call my name. She would call and call and then start crying from frustration.
I sat under the tree and giggled, which usually gave away my hiding spot. If I had been her, I would have paddled my little butt! But she was so happy to find me that I usually got rewarded with lots of kisses and as many cookies as I could stuff face with.
As karma would have it…I am deathly allergic to cedar now. It turns my eyes a shocking color of blood and makes them itch so badly I’d like to rub them right out of my head. It makes the insides of my ears itch. It makes my throat itch. It also turns on the waterworks in my sinuses and I can blow buckets of mucus out of my nose if I don’t stay ahead of the allergic reaction with medicine.
It is a debilitating seasonal allergy that I would definitely wish on all of my enemies!
The one episode that sticks in my mind was one afternoon when my grandfather sat in his favorite chair to read the paper. I crawled up into his lap and proceeded to tell him all about my day. I was being very chatty and my grandfather was listening intently when Jane entered the room and sat on the arm of his chair.
I stopped talking.
Who was this interloper that was interrupting my time with my Daddy?
“You go away!” I pointed my little finger at her and then swiped at her.
“You go away!! I’m talking to my Daddy now! You go away!”
Jane laughed again and said “He’s my Daddy too!”
Now she was just making me mad.
“No he’s not! He’s MY DADDY!”
My grandfather, seeing what was happening here, turned my little face so I was looking at him and asked me, “Katy, who do you think Jane is?”
I smiled because I knew the answer. “She’s the maid.”
Why wouldn’t my three year old mind recognize her as the maid? She stayed home all day and she cooked and cleaned. In my mind, she was the maid.
My grandfather chuckled and he and Jane patiently explained to me that Jane was my sister. I’m not sure when I started believing she was my sister, but eventually I did think of her like that. Can you even fathom the confusion a small child would feel once these adults, that thought they were doing what was best for this child, finally tell her the truth?
When I turned eight years old, this is exactly what they did. They turned my entire world upside down and inside out. I had no idea who I could trust after that day and I certainly had no idea who was still telling me lies.
As an adult, I have a huge issue with people that can’t be honest with me. I don’t want anyone to tell me something just because they think it’s what I want to hear and I definitely do not like to have sunshine blown up my ass.
I learned at the tender age of eight that sunshine up your ass burns in the worst possible ways. It shakes your foundation and makes you doubt the things and people in your life that you believed in with the whole of your heart. My biggest issue is with duplicity. Once you show me that you are not who you tell me you are, it’s a deal breaker.
I do not like liars.
I do not like to be manipulated or fooled.
And who could ever blame me?
The day my family climbed into the station wagon to make that trip downtown to the counselor’s office, so that I could finally be told the truth, was a day I will never forget.
- A Child’s Garden of Misinformation (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Tomorrow (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- What Does an Epileptic Seizure Sound Like? (blogs.kqed.org)
- Karma, some peo… (sensoria300.wordpress.com)