Constance and her paternal uncle, Elmer, both seizures. Several months before my daughter passed, Elmer had a brain tumor hemorrhage similar to the one my daughter had. It left him unable to speak or care for himself. He will spend the rest of his life getting full-time medical care.
Elmer and my daughter were on the same medication to manage their seizures. The day my daughter passed, her father told me he blamed the medication for taking our daughter’s life. I immediately provided a rebuttal. The medication was the most common one on the market for treating seizures. It had been successfully managing his uncle’s seizures for decades at a much higher dose. Wasn’t it more likely that they both had the same genetic causes. They both had an epilepsy diagnosis. In fact, his mother had epilepsy as well.
Without realizing it, I was arguing that it wasn’t the medication but his genes that were the problem. If I were to analyze my behavior, I would say I didn’t want it to be the medication because he’d aggressively argued with my daughter’s neurologist against her taking any medications to manage her seizures. However, the neurologist had described side effects such as itchy skin and general irritation. Those side effects seemed like a better consequence than a seizure that could leave her brain-damaged or dead. The mediation seemed like the right choice to her neurologist, her pediatrician, her development pediatrician, and me. However, it never sat right with her father, who is the type of person who doesn’t take pain medication after surgery, “just in case.”
In a twist, like out of a soap opera, my daughter’s paternal great-aunt sat behind me at my daughter’s memorial service. Before the program began, she loudly complained about how hard it had become for her to worry about and care for Elmer. It got so loud that my daughter’s father turned around and asked her to be quiet. She did, but after she painted a vivid image in the minds of everyone around her.