Wednesday was a perfect nearly-summer day: sunny, warm, and breezy, especially lovely after days of cloud and heavy rain. I was on the deck hanging laundry and trying to decide whether I'd walk to the library to pick up Jonathan's holds before lunch, or wait till after.
The fire and ambulance stations are just over on the next street, so when I heard a siren flare up and glimpsed a blur of flashing lights through the trees, I didn't give it much more thought than I would usually give something that happens many times a day.
Then the phone rang. I stepped inside to answer it, thinking, "That'll be Rich"; when he's working he always calls at least once to check in and see how things are at home.
Instead, it was a teacher from Jonathan's school -- but, strangely, his former teacher, not his current one. I knew there was only one reason another staff member would be calling me. "Jonathan is having a seizure," she said. "We've called 911."
As I ran to the car and made the quick two-minute drive to the school, I had this strange feeling of deja vu, considering the same thing had happened almost exactly a month ago, at almost the identical time of day. I drove up to the curb, parking in the wrong direction, then ran across the school's front lawn, my shoes squishing in the wet grass, and up the front steps. The teacher who had phoned met me in the lobby and said Jonathan was in his classroom. I went up and the hallway was silent, and all classroom doors were closed. Inside the classroom Jonathan was sitting on a chair in the corner with Yan (the educational assistant who looks after him when "Mr. O" is absent) and a paramedic, who had put an oxygen mask on Jonathan and was pricking his finger to get his blood sugar level. Jonathan's teacher and the vice principal were also there.
When Jonathan saw me he made a sound of recognition and then yanked the oxygen mask off. I sat down beside him and he said, "Sad hiding," which is a reference to one of our peekaboo games. This showed that he was coming out of the seizure. As with the last episode of a month ago, Jonathan had been acting totally normally and then drifted into an unresponsive state that lasted about ten minutes; then he slowly came out of it, looked around, and started talking and making huge yawns.
The paramedic got my written permission to waive the option of taking Jonathan to the hospital, and he and the other paramedics and firefighters who'd arrived afterward left the school. We sat for a while talking and letting Jonathan get his bearings once again.
As has been the case ever since Jonathan started at Rideau Public School nearly six years ago, I felt overwhelming gratitude for the support we receive there. His teacher talked about how concerned his classmates were and asked for my permission to tell them more about Jonathan's seizures so that they would understand what was happening. The vice principal, who has only been at the school for a couple of months, was calm and reassuring. And "Mr. Yan" sat with Jonathan, talked to him, encouraged him, and helped me take him out to the car when he was steady enough on his feet. I knew this was more than just a day at work for the staff; they truly care about Jonathan and make every effort to make his time at school happy and safe. These episodes have been rare, thankfully, but every time they've happened I've come away grateful that Jonathan has such a supportive environment to learn and grow.
I took Jonathan home and he slept on the couch for about an hour. While he napped, I called his doctor and left a message saying that he had had two episodes since his last appointment and asking her to let us know what our next step might be. (I'm still waiting to hear back from her.)
After his nap, Jonathan woke up and was quite disappointed to learn that he would have to wait until the next day to return to school. Yesterday he was eager to get back and entered the schoolyard excitedly. Once again Mr. O was absent, so Jonathan went happily up to "Mr. Yan" to greet him, then headed off to the yellow-blue-red to take a few shots before the bell. I left with a feeling that no matter what happened, he was in good hands. Another day of learning was about to begin.