A childhood memoir and lessons for life.
I remember the event vividly. But to understand my actions or inaction you need to back up a bit.
My older sister was in all sense, an older sister. She was bossy. She knew more than us. And she liked to scratch. But there comes a time when a little sister decides she has had enough. “Get me this!”, “Go get that!”. “Do this!”, “Do that!”. After years of being bossed around, pushed and punched, and scratched, a person naturally says “Enough!” That is where I was at when it happened.
I was comfortably lounging on the living room couch. I don’t remember exactly what I was watching, but it was the 70’s T.V. era. It was probably Scooby Doo, Looney Tunes, or some Saturday morning show. I know it was a weekend. Dad was home. He was outside, as usual, with the animals and his projects and friends. Friends, his friends were always there.
Suddenly, I hear my sister calling for me, again. She can’t say “please” or “can you help me with something?”. No, she’s just hollering my name like I’m her slave or something, and I better go running as soon as she calls. I told myself, “No, not this time.” I ignored her demanding calls for me to go to her. Let her call all she wants, I thought. She’ll get tired or mad. Eventually, she would give up or get so mad she’d come in to get me with her razor nails ready to strike.
I remember I felt too smug. So self-empowered. I was gonna show her! She can’t just boss me around. She kept calling for quite awhile. I remember thinking, “geeez!” what the hell is so important that she can’t get it herself? So I finally got up and stammered to the room she was in. And there he was.
My little brother. Laid out on the floor. His eyes rolled up in his head. His body twisting. His arching back jamming his head sideways into the carpet. Mouth clenched tight.
Oh no! He was having an epileptic seizure.
My big bossy sister was sitting on the floor next to him. She was just watching him, crying, and yelling for my help. “Get Dad!” she yelled.
Without another thought I turned around and ran as fast as I could outside to find Dad. I yelled to him, “Dad! Greg’s sick!” He must have seen the frightened shock on my face, because without any hesitation, he stopped what he was doing and tore away into the house. As he ran past me I vaguely remember seeing other people with him. They didn’t say a word. They may have even gone in after him to help. I don’t recall. I ran in the house to find my dad performing the maneuvers that had to be done to prevent my brother from swallowing his tongue and keep him from hurting himself. Wrenching his mouth open, putting a spoon on his tongue to hold it down, and holding on to him until it passed.
My sister crying, looked at me with ___, crying. I can’t explain the look she had because it had many meanings and feelings. Scared, mad, confused, feeling helpless, why isn’t Lala coming? I could only give her a look back that said, “I didn’t know, I didn’t know”.
These events were always scary and shocking. They happened from time to time. Two of my brothers suffered through epileptic seizures when they were young. You never knew when or where it would happen. They eventually grew “out of it”. But, each seizure was scary and confusing. Not only because of the danger of the medical emergency, but to see my parents become alarmed, scared, and springing to action was another layer of scared.
So there it was. My attempt to empower myself at the worst possible time ever.
But, didn’t my sister bear some fault too? Always being bossy and demanding. Doesn’t this apply to the lesson to be learned from The Boy Who Cried Wolf?
All her wolf-calling caused me to ignore and disregard her when it really mattered. Well, that’s what I tell myself sometimes.
I am just glad my brother made it and is living well today.