Oliver of the Adirondacks

by Dashiell Walraven

Chapter 35

My second and third seizures were apparently milder than the first one at the start of the summer. They both happened at school, toward the end of September, a few days apart. You can imagine what sort of big news it was when I, all-of-a-sudden, go blank in the middle of answering a history question and exit reality for a half an hour. That sort of thing doesn't go down in a small high school like mine, without there being an immediate burst of buzz and gossip about it. What made it especially newsworthy was that a teacher got in trouble because of the third seizure. I had been kept home the day following number two, but released back to school the next day, only to have the third one two days later.

The teacher in question was my wood shop instructor, apparently put off by the fact that I was on restriction from using any power tools until we had a better handle on what was going on with me. For whatever reason, he seemed to feel I was some sort of malingerer who managed to put one over on the school administration. When I froze at one of the work stations, he became enraged and tried to shake me out of it. This, apparently caused me collapse onto the table, gashing my temple with a handheld dove-tail saw, whereupon I bled spectacularly all over the place. I don't remember this, of course, I wasn't really there.

Naturally, all this prompted a new round of tests and visits to the Albany Medical Center. When nothing yielded any answers, my parents were justifiably frustrated and upset. The neurologist at Albany then told my parents that if they were willing to take me, he could refer me to an out-of-state specialist he knew, with considerable experience with cases like mine. My parents never hesitated, and took the referral. I wasn't looking forward to traveling anywhere for more medical tests, but then again, I really wanted to stop having seizures. One night, at dinner, the conversation turned to the subject at hand.

"Oliver," my father said, pausing over his roast beef and mashed potatoes, "we've made an appointment for you to see a pediatric neurologist and he's agreed to take you next week."

"Okay," I shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant while suddenly losing my appetite.

"So we've made arrangements with your school to have a few days off while we travel to do that. You'll need to get your homework and assignments from your teachers so you don't get too far behind."

"How far away is this place?" I asked, incredulous, "Where are we going?"

"Well, it's not that far," he said, barely suppressing a smile, "You've been in the neighborhood before."

"Huh?" I was thoroughly confused.

"Oliver," he said patiently, "We're bringing you to see Dr. Wellsford at the Newington Children's Hospital." Newington... now that did sound familiar, but I could not make the connection; I must have looked puzzled. "You know," he said, "just outside of Hartford?"

"Hartford?" I brightened, "You mean near Neal?"

"Yes Oliver, about twenty minutes away from Neal's home." Dad smiled broadly.

"In fact," Mom added, "Neal's family has graciously offered for us to stay with them for the week."

"Really?" I exclaimed, "Holy cow!"

"Now, Oliver," Dad was all seriousness again, "We're going to be spending most of our days finding out what's going on with your noggin. Besides, Neal is away at school during the week, so you won't be seeing much of him until the weekend."

My shoulders sagged, I had sort of forgotten that Neal attended a private, boarding school during the week and only came home on weekends. Still, that meant that, barring anything crazy happening, I'd at least get to spend a day or two with him that neither of us had counted on before Christmas. I grinned to myself as I felt that special lurch in my belly and a surging swell in my pants. If there ever was an upside to having to go see a doctor, that was it.

The trip through the autumnal Connecticut landscape proved to be visually spectacular. The brilliant leaves made for a riot of color among the elms, maples and birches alongside the parkways on the way to West Hartford and Neal's family home. I slept for some of the ride, but for the last hour, I stared out my window and marveled at nature's palate of vivid pigments.

"My God," Mom said, looking out her window, "We live in the woods and we don't see this amount of color in our leaves. We must have come right at the peak."

Dad nodded his agreement, it was pretty amazing. By the time we reached Neal's house though, I was feeling kind of queasy and carsick. Mom was concerned I might be working my way up to another seizure so she put me right to bed, which was all right with me. After she left me in Neal's room and shut the door behind her, I crawled from the second bed into Neal's bed, hoping I could smell him on the sheets. I couldn't really, but the thought of resting my head on his pillow gave me great solace and I slept through until the morning. When I woke up and emerged to the smell of coffee, I felt fine and very hungry.

Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to eat anything because of the blood work and lab tests scheduled for the morning. This put a serious damper on my mood. The morning's schedule included several blood tests, x-rays, a lengthy EEG, that had to be restarted twice because I could not seem to sit quietly enough, and various other humiliations. By the time we were ushered into the doctor's office, you could describe me as a being more than a bit surly.

Dr. Wellsford stood to greet us and shook my hand as well, bidding us to sit in the chairs in front of his desk. I sank down into one of them and glared at the doctor, well and truly ready to be done with all of it.

"Okay, let's take a look at the results thus far," he said, thumbing through a sheaf of papers. The doctor hummed quietly, pausing to make notes on a steno pad as he flipped over one page after another. I sat and glowered as he took his sweet time, sometimes going back and forth to make some sort of comparison or another. He stopped while looking at one of pieces of paper, looked over at my shadowy countenance, and back to the page.

"Something, uhm..." My mom fidgeted with a small purse in her lap, "Is there something the matter?"

"Oliver," Dr. Wellsford squinted over at me, "how do you feel right now?"

"Like shit." I grunted, earning me a pop on the arm and a stern glance from my father. I didn't even flinch, giving not a single, solitary fuck at that point.

"I don't doubt it," Wellsford said, punching a button on his desk intercom, "Irma, can you bring in a bottle of orange juice and a candy bar from my stash please?"

"I don't understand," my father started, "candy bar?"

"Oliver probably does feel pretty poorly right about now," the doctor said, circling a number on a piece of paper, and showing to my father, "At the time this test was taken this morning, his blood sugar was about twenty points below what we'd consider normal. Now, three hours later, it's probably a fair bit worse."

"But we were told he needed to fast..." my Mom said, sounding defensive.

"That's normal," the doctor reassured her, "I just wish someone at the lab had flagged this for me a little sooner, we could have gotten Oliver something to eat and made him a lot more comfortable."

"So, he's what... anemic or something?" my father asked.

"Well, certainly hypoglycemic at the moment."

"Could that be the cause of his seizures?" Mom inquired.

"It could," the doctor mused, "if he were chronically hypoglycemic, and experiencing episodes of extremely low blood sugar. However, looking over Oliver's previous lab results from Albany Med, I don't see much evidence that is the case. No, I'm fairly confident we're moving toward a neurologic diagnosis."

The doctor's secretary came in with a bottle of orange juice and a package of cookies.

"Sorry Doctor," she apologized, "Your secret stash was out of candy bars, but I found some chocolate chip cookies, will that be alright?"

"That'll do perfectly," Wellsford grunted his assent, waving her toward me. Smiling as graciously as I could manage, I accepted the juice and cookies from her and began hungrily devouring them. Taking a long swallow from the juice, I shivered as its flavor clashed with the sweetness of the chocolate. Not deterred, I polished off several more cookies and drained the juice bottle before starting to feel like my old self again. The doctor poured over a long sheet of paper with many squiggly lines on it, as I rampaged my way through my snack. I looked up to see both my parents looking at me with astonished faces.

"What?" I said. My father looked over at my mom for a moment, and then back to me.

"Feeling better, Sport?" he asked, flashing me a smile and reaching over to muss my hair.

"I guess," I said, shying away from his hand.

"Let me ask you a few questions, Oliver," Wellsford said, pulling his glasses from his face.

"Sure," I shrugged, brushing cookie crumbs from my shirt.

"Do you get any physical sensations or feelings right before you have a seizure?"

"Sometimes," I nodded, "I see funny sparks or it looks like the walls are moving." The doctor made a few notes on his steno pad.

"Headaches or unusual eye pain?"

"Not so much before," I agreed, "but always afterwards."

"I see," he said, scribbling some more, "any noises or smells?"

"Uhm..." I said, searching my scant memories of each event, "the one time, the first time, I think; I smelled something really gross right before. I thought my Mom's cooking had gone bad."

"Oliver!" my mom cried out, laughing at the same time. Wellsford continued making hasty notes, grunting and nodding his head as I reported my symptoms.

"For the seizure we witnessed, Doctor," my father interjected, "we noticed that, right as he went into it, he started blinking rapidly."

"Good, good," Wellsford said, sounding like a mad-scientist. It seemed to me he was making his mind up about something.

"Good?" I asked, quietly.

"Yes, Oliver, very good." The doctor put his pen down decisively and turned around to pull a large tome from the bookshelf behind him. After scanning the index, he quickly turned to the center of the massive book and started tracing a finger down the page. He read for a minute and then tapped the paragraph with his finger.

"Indeed," he said, looking up at us, "Gastaut-Type Idiopathic Childhood Occipital Epilepsy"

"Oh my God," my mom clutched at her small, pearl necklace, "Oliver is epileptic?" She looked very worried.

"Well, yes, but not in the way you're thinking." Wellsford said in a fatherly, reassuring voice. "What Oliver has is something that is fairly rare, occurring in probably one or two percent of all the childhood onset seizures. It comes on suddenly, without warning, generally between the ages of three and fifteen."

"What causes it?" my father asked, leaning forward, taking my mother's hand in his and holding it tightly.

"That's the part we don't know," the doctor said, tapping the book again. "It looks like genetics may play a role, but luckily it's not much to worry about."

"Not much to worry about?" my Mom asked, incredulously, "He's having seizures for goodness' sake!"

"One of the things we do know about this particular form of epilepsy, is that it's self-resolving. Kids generally grow out of it without any harm or deficit. With Oliver's late onset, he's what... fourteen now... yes; I'd expect his symptoms to go as quickly as they came, probably within one or two years' time." My father huffed out a sigh and leaned back.

"So, then," Dad said, rubbing his temples, "what do we do in the meantime?"

"From what I've seen, his seizures are fairly benign. We'll manage those with medication, follow up with him periodically and wean him off the medication once we're sure has no further need of it."

"So that's it then?" Mom asked, "It's that easy?"

"Mostly," the doctor shrugged, "We see no tumors or other pathology in his x-rays, his seizures are not of the grand-mal type, and he isn't experiencing extended neurological after-effects. I think we can put him on a fairly mild medication regimen to prevent further seizures, and just keep an eye on him."

"Well," my mom breathed, "that's a relief!" Nobody was more relieved than me. If it meant I could take a pill every day and put an end to this seizure bullshit, I was all in.

"I'm writing a prescription for his medicine, but I'll give you some to take right now until you can get that filled. I'd like to see another EEG from Oliver in about three days or so, can you have your doctor at Albany Medical do that and send me the results?"

"Actually Doctor Wellsford, we've made arrangements to board with friends in the area," my father said, "we're staying the whole week."

"Ideal," Wellsford smiled, "So we'll make an appointment to see Oliver again on Thursday."

"No more needles?" I ventured.

"No more, I promise!" Wellsford agreed, "Now I'm going to let you go, so your parents can put a proper dinner in your belly."

We said our thanks and goodbyes to the doctor and his staff. Armed with a bottle of pinkish looking syrup and a thick folder full of test results and the diagnosis, we ventured out into the afternoon.

That night, Neal's father treated us to a place called "The Last National Bank", a restaurant situated in the basement and vaults of the old Connecticut Bank and Trust. Even the toilet paper was printed to look like money! On the way back to their house, the exhaustion of the day's events finally overtook over me. I relaxed into the back seat of the car, wedged in between my parents, and dozed on Dad's shoulder.

By the time we got back, I was ready to collapse. However, before I would allow myself to go to sleep, I needed to take care of a nagging little problem that kept popping up every time I thought about snuggling into Neal's bed. No sooner than I changed into pajamas and wrapped a sock around my dick, did my father quietly rap on the door. I scrambled to cover myself up and managed to so before he peeked in.

"Oh hey, Oliver, listen," he said, softly, "Neal's dad and I are going for a little ride, but we'll be back in a few hours."

"Okay?" I said, confused.

"And you can't sleep in Neal's bed tonight, alright?"

"Sure," I nodded, still no less confounded, "how come?"

"Well," he said, "we're going to pick Neal up from school tonight. It seems he has been expelled and I'm going along to make sure his father doesn't kill him."

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