|God, Blessing the Seventh Day - William Blake, c. 1805|
My last post got many kind comments, some nearly over the top in praise of both my writing and miracle-creating abilities. I'm so thankful for this incredibly supportive community, and while I'll admit to being a kind of comment whore, I am, most decidedly, not a holy person with a direct connection to God and miracles. I'm not sure I even believe in miracles -- other than those tiny moments of grace when despair and worry and trial lift, effortlessly, and leave peace and humor and relief in their wake. I've experienced many such moments of grace and feel it's my duty, in a way, to be open to them, to acknowledge them, to give them attribution, and while I hesitate to use the word God in these over-religious, political (as opposed to spiritual) times, I am deeply grateful to what is, apparently, an abundant universe, where divine love always balances out its opposite.
When I interfered with Sophie's seizure, I was really only practicing the advice given in one of my own bibles, a book called Epilepsy: A New Approach by Adrienne Richard and Joel Ritter, M.D. I bought this book in the late 1990s and believe there's a newer edition, but its subtitle - What Medicine Can Do, What You Can Do For Yourself explains its initial appeal to me when I was just beginning the godforsaken journey of uncontrolled seizures, when Sophie was a bitty baby, drugged out of her mind quite literally, and I began to realize that my daughter's brain was perhaps as dark a space as the heavens, before God made some order, and that it might, perhaps, be up to me to create a bit of light. That book, along with Anthony Weill's Spontaneous Healing wasn't handed over to me like tablets, but rather appeared on a pitiful shelf of books in the Alternative Medicine section of the Barnes and Noble on 86th Street in New York City. Yes, it was a moment of grace, and I'm deeply grateful to Richard, Ritter and Weill for opening my eyes and helping to set me on a path that perhaps afforded more potential to Sophie than were I to follow the traditional one.
Here's the passage:
A team of researchers from the University of Utah Medical School set out to test the possibility of stopping seizures in a population of developmentally delayed schoolchildren. In almost every case, the children had no more seizures.
The method the researchers used was startle-and-shake. It requires the existence of an observable preliminary behavior: staring at a flat surface, raising the arms, a strange tone of voice, hyperactivity, and so on. The support person acts to interrupt the sequence by following these steps:
- Shout "NO!" loudly and sharply to draw attention outward.
- Grasp the person by the shoulders and shake him or her once. This changes the body's preseizure mode.
- Give a little reward, a hug, an excited "You stopped it!" Offer any sort of praise or love for arresting the seizure. Let the good feeling, not candy or whatever, be the reward.
As for Oliver calling me a miracle-maker, it was said with great irony and therefore another moment of grace -- that my children can rise up and up and up and find humor even in the darkest moments is a wonder, something I am so grateful for that I'd venture to say it sustains me.