Dishing it Out by Andrea Macko
It’s been some time since I’ve wrote about Charlotte and her seizures. At first, it was because there was nothing to report after her hospitalization last year. But as time went on, and Andrew and I concerned ourselves with her daily existence, we effectively forgot about the worrisome experience.
But memories come flooding back quickly. This January, practically a year to the day of her first seizures, a dreaded stomach flu struck Charlotte. After vomiting all weekend, she seemed fine on Monday, but tellingly said “no school” when I asked her if she was ready to go to daycare. We chalked it up to toddlerhood, but then she threw up again. Seizures were in the back of our minds, but we remained cautiously optimistic.
It was the start of a busy week; grandparents were called to babysit. But just as we were heading out to a funeral, both grandmothers came rushing downstairs with a limp Charlotte, calling out to dial the dreaded 911.
It was the first of two seizures, two trips to our ER, and two consultations with pediatric neurologists. Rather than be admitted, we were sent to the comfort of home to keep a watchful eye on Charlotte, and to schedule a check-up with her own neurologist as soon as possible.
Andrew and I were anxious, but oddly calmer this time around. We were at least familiar with what seizures were, and knew they weren’t a death sentence. We had also enjoyed our perfectly healthy, normally developing daughter in the interceding year. The similarity between this day and a year ago was clear; the seizures happened at the end of nasty stomach viruses (I caught them both, so I know!), when all of Charlotte’s reserves were drained.
But despite normal MRI and EEG results a year ago, we weren’t absolutely sure of the seizures’ source. Occasionally, if it took a while to get her attention, my heart would jump — was it happening again?
Her follow-up appointment fuelled these flickers of fear. A second series of seizures meant the chance of her having more had grown exponentially; with her fully mobile and away at daycare, we as parents couldn’t risk the chance of her seizing and hurting herself or others. Another EEG was requested, as well as a prescription for daily anti-seizure medication. This aspect was especially troubling. We wanted to protect our child, and have faith in modern medicine, but a daily drug with known side effects seemed like an extreme, permanent way to deal with what remained an unknown prognosis.
But for the moment, we don’t have to. Even though Charlotte was an uncooperative crankypants during her EEG, the results came back normal. So normal that her neurologist rescinded that prescription — plus the need for follow-up unless anything extraordinary happens.
We’ll never know the exact cause of Charlotte’s seizures — or if she’ll have one again — but it’s nice to have a professional opinion to back up our instinct that it was the viruses which caused them, not Charlotte’s neurological makeup. This is one of many challenges we will face as parents (Toilet training! Terrible Twos!), but this small relief makes them easier to face.
So, our Easter will be a little happier, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend too. Anyone who gave up sweets for Lent will be especially happy to celebrate with one of these delicious morsels!
Perfect Portuguese Tarts
3 egg yolks
1 cup milk
3/4 cup 35-per-cent cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. vanilla
Half of a 450g package PC frozen butter puff pastry, thawed
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Whisk egg yolks, egg, milk, cream, sugar and cornstarch together in a large saucepan and set over medium heat. Continue whisking until mixture thickens, 7-10 minutes.
Whisk in vanilla, then scrape into a medium bowl. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface to prevent skin from forming. Chill in freezer until very cold, but not frozen, about one hour.
Unroll puff pastry sheet. Sprinkle cinnamon evenly over the surface. Re-roll sheet into a tight log. Cut into 12 equal pieces.
Lay a piece on a lightly floured counter and roll with a rolling pin until it is four inches in diameter. Repeat with remaining rounds. Gently push each round into a muffin cup, pressing along the bottom, then up the sides until it reaches the rim. Keep muffin tin in refrigerator until custard is chilled.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Evenly fill pastry cups with custard.
Bake in centre of oven until browned but not burnt, about 13-15 minutes. Cool on a rack for five minutes.
Remove from pan and let cool on rack. Serve warm or cool.