I knew Oliver had epilepsy (as well as other difficulties) but I confess I needed an agonizingly eternal five seconds to understand what was happening. I was knocked out of my momentary paralysis by Oliver’s mom, who leapt over to him and shouted at me to call 911. Even in the moment, some part of my mind murmured to me a reminder that I had been spared watching my child go through what Oliver was going through.
My son Liko was not able to interpret these events; they were simply outside of his five years of experience. It wasn’t until the paramedics and firemen arrived that I think Liko realized that something serious had happened to his friend. From the stillness on his face, I imagined my son experiencing something that I believe was new for him: that sickening, cold, tingling feeling that starts in your stomach and spreads through every nerve.
I won’t go into the details, but the seizure ended up being part of a significant medical event for Oliver. While he was in the hospital, I talked to his mom Lynn. She anticipated Liko’s reaction, and perhaps mine. I don’t remember what tactful way she phrased it, but she talked with me about how afraid she was of being isolated because of Oliver’s disabilities. People avoid kids and adults with visible troubles. It took a lot of guts for her to bring this up to me, however indirectly; in fact, I saw Lynn show a lot of guts that day, though I doubt she saw it that way.
via Shareable: Designing for Oliver.
Author Jeremy Adam Smith writes regularly about fatherhood for various outlets including Shareable and Mothering. Please go check out his blog entry and weigh in with your thoughts.
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