Ripe with PMS, bloated, irritable and pointed toward a sour attitude regarding the day's activities, I sat down for a thick slice of chocolate cake. I sat down, that is, until I got up. The write-up of my son's most recent neuropsych evaluation lay before me on the kitchen counter, and I didn't want to forget to bring it to the neurologist visit later in the day. So I took it to the car...
...only to find a baby sparrow stuck to one of those super sticky ant-catchers that Terminix had placed in our garage. The bird flapped in a wild panic, and with each flap, the sparrow further secured itself to the adhesive.
Why? I thought. Why does this kind of crap happen to me? With ten minutes and a chocolate cake all to myself, of course there is a baby sparrow adhered to an ant trap in my garage.
I place the glued-on sparrow into a shoebox and bring it to the vet. Something about warm water and Skin-So-Soft, and the vet goes to work. "No, I can't stay," I say, irritated that I have replaced the consumption of chocolate cake with a trip to the vet for a bird that doesn't belong to me, "I have to pick-up my son from school. Let me know how it turns out."
At the school yard, my son notices an ant scurrying free, unadhered, wild on the pavement. "I must save it!" he says, believing the pavement must be too hot for its feet. I'm not lost on the irony of the unstuck ant. It takes him a good two minutes to finally catch the ant between his cool-salty fingers. He drops the ant into the long blades of grass saying, "Goodbye little ant. Be free."
And so we take an hour's trip to the neurologist. What did I learn at the neurologist's office? Absolutely nothing.
My son had a "seizure-like" event about a month ago. "Early April," I say.
"Late March," she says, scrolling through the electronic chart. "Right? I know I'm right."
"Fine, late March."
"Here it is. March 24th is when you called the office."
"Then it was the 23rd."
Good, glad that's all clarified. Not glad that was the only thing clarified.
The neurologist wasn't sure my son had a seizure because she wasn't there to witness it.
"Well, he was unconscious," I said.
"How do you know?" she asked.
"Because I was there," I said in my outside voice, followed by "idiot," with the voice between my ears.
The chick with all the letters behind her name and the academic training to back it up was talking down to me, a pedestrian in her world. An ant that needed saving, that needed to be put back where I belonged.
"Let's say you're right," I tell her. "If it wasn't a seizure... what was it?"
"Behavior," she tells me. Behavior. As though my son "behaved" unconsciousness, a fake-out.
"I'd give you behavior," I say, "except that in the arsenal of my son's behaviors, feigning unconsciousness isn't part of his weaponry."
"It's possible then, that we don't know. We may never know," she says.
"Considering he's done this twice--"
"Only twice," she says.
"Twice," I say. "Aren't you curious?"
"Sometimes kids have unexplainable behaviors."
And it was left at that. Not her department. She performed her reflex tests and shined a light in his eye, and we packed up our things to go home.
We're either going to be one of those families you see on 60 Minutes who kept searching and searching for answers for their child, and due to their own tenacity, they find the answer or, I thought, we're not.
The fighter in me wants to be that family on 60 Minutes. I want to be that mom that comes on and says, "We went to see every single specialist you could possibly see and had absolutely no answer until one day..." And then I would go on to tell about this wonderful, new, strange discovery that provided us an answer, and that could provide an answer to hundreds and thousands of people. These are the fantasies of moms like me.
But the truth is, the reality is, the probability is that will never be the case.
As we drove home, the seagulls flew over the blue waters of Lake Michigan, and I thought,
There are no answers,
only birds on a journey
against a horizon of infinite possibility.
Be free, birds.