It was a normal day at school and I was doing my normal meditation with my friends surrounding me when it first happened. A sharp pain in my head something I couldn’t figure what it was before I gave a sharp scream. It was gone within a second. Everyone jumped in fear and then dropped their eyes on me. And my friends stared at me in confusion and fright as I stared back. I didn’t tell my parents because I felt it’s nothing serious and my brother was already in college. Six weeks after, it happened again with me giving it the response sharp scream and a teacher was in the class. She rushed to me frightened. Seconds later, I was relieved again. It was nothing serious as I told the teacher.
A month after, it happened again but this time it went on for five minutes and I was rushed to the dispensary but it relieved me before we got there. I was given some medications never the less and went back to class after a little rest. It happened four to five times within six months before my parents got aware. There was no one to tell them but me or the school and I was lucky it didn’t happen to me at home. And the day the school sent a message to them, the attack happened the second day at home while having my normal meditation prior to siesta but this time it went on for twenty minutes. Dad had travelled but I was lucky mom was around. She rushed in.
‘She’s alright, it’s just a mild headache.’
‘Mild? That wasn’t mild Brad that was severe. It’s starting right?’
‘Calm down Thelma.’
‘I lost control.’
‘No you don’t have to, you should be strong. And from what I saw, it’s not the first time this is happening, not even the second.’
‘No, this is the first. She has never complained about anything before not even a headache to us unless…’ it struck her. ‘Wait she brought a note home yesterday from school, the HS requesting us to see him and we were still thinking of going tomorrow…’ she furrowed as it dawned on her, ‘oh no Sheila, she didn’t tell us such thing has been happening.’
‘She’s alright now. I will give you some prescriptions, just get her to use them, you know she hates drugs.’
My mom nodded, ‘I know.’ She looked down, ‘it’s starting right?’--------
Brad abased his eyes and then looked at her, ‘it might still take time before it really starts. She’s okay at this stage of her life, that’s a miracle and we need more of that miracle. So, let’s keep praying and right now she needs all the care she can get.’
‘Please transfer her case to me I will handle it.’
Brad looked at her sharply and alarmed then calmed.
‘You don’t want to do that, that’s not your specialized area. You are an orthopaedist and not a neurologist so I won’t even try to do that unless you want to kill her.’
My mom broke down crying.
‘Thelma, I understand how you feel. I know how it feels to be a doctor and not be able to treat your own case but trust me on it. You know we have the best doctors in this country and they all have her result, still, I’ve sent her results to other professional doctors all over the world and I know the moment any of them get any solution, they will tell me. So don’t worry, best hands are on this case.’
‘All these years?’ she cried.
Brad pulled her in his arms and patted her.
‘Don’t lose hope now; she is still alive which means there’s still hope.’
We were back at home. My dad came back from his travelling and they became over protective on me. They wanted to know every move I made. Dad wasn’t there when the incident happened to me weeks back so he didn’t really have a hint of how it happened that was why it took over mom more.
Weeks later, I was in my room alone, lying still in my bed and looking into space with my arms folded on my chest doing my usual, meditating. It struck again. I held my head in my hands and screamed and then I started rolling in bed in grave pain. My parents rushed in.
‘Sheila!’ my mom screamed and jumped on my bed holding me.
My dad jumped in bed with us and held me also, ‘Sheila, Sheila.’
I struggled in their hands, writhing in pain. And they were so confused and disorganised not knowing what to do. My mom sat in bed and put my head on her laps calling out to me.
‘Sheila, Sheila’ then she screamed, ‘Ted!’
‘Yes, yes?’ he answered in confusion.
‘Okay, okay,’ my dad looked around for something in confusion and then ran out of the room.
‘Sheila please look at me, Sheila,’ tears started rolling down her eyes, ‘please don’t do this to me Sheila, Sheila!’
In the living room, my dad was on the phone.
‘Okay, okay,’ he threw the phone somewhere and ran back in.
He snatched me in a flash from my mom’s hands and started to run out.
My mom screamed as if I was been snatched away from her forever.
‘No! no! don’t take her away from me! No please,’ she cried and ran after us.
Dad ran into the compound with me in his arms with my mom following. The gardener saw us and hurried to help with the car door. He put me in the car and his brain shut down. He stood still and then seconds later he beat his pockets for the keys and ran back in. All the while my mom was screaming his name.
‘Yes?’ he ran out of the house.
Dad pressed the button to the gate and it started to open while they hopped into the car. Dad drove out in speed.
It wasn’t getting easy. I wanted to be left alone, I wanted to be free but this attack every now and then wasn’t helping matters. The over protection increased; they wanted to know what I was doing every minute. If they had their ways, they would stop me from going to school but they couldn’t, that would have been extreme. And it was just few months for me to graduate from high school hoping to move to the University like Sean. My brother didn’t know about all this, he was already away in the University when it all started.
My parents stood by me. They did everything a good parent would. They wouldn’t stay an hour before checking up on me and when I was in school, they would call my teachers every hour if I was doing okay.
I didn’t know what was happening to me but I knew there was something wrong. And anytime I asked, they would just tell me that everyone has his own way of the body saying it’s tired and needs refuelling; as some chose having malaria, some chose just cough and I chose this. I would stare at them in confusion and wonder what the hell? How could I choose this, why didn’t my body just choose cough or something simple to tell me it’s tired and needs refuelling? Then I would understand, but this, I didn’t understand.
My parents were still the happy parents I knew or so I thought because I got to know they only laughed when they see me, and the moment I turned my back they stopped laughing and turning to them again they started laughing pretending to be happy. These happened many times and I noticed they weren’t being sincere with their laughter, so I decided to watch their moves as they watched mine.
She startled and started smiling, ‘yes baby.’
‘Are you okay?’
‘Yes I am, just a bit hungry and too tired to cook.’
‘Oh then let me make something for—’
‘No!’ she jumped then lowered her voice and smiled,’ no, um, don’t bother, I will go in and make something for us now,’ she stood up before I could say anything else.
I watched her with keen observation.
It took all of mom. She beat herself since she learnt of my attack. She cursed herself for being a doctor and not being able to treat my illness. She could treat others and not her own daughter. She called herself useless. She was always so lost in thought and from these thoughts we didn’t know when she took that drastic decision.