The clock struck 11:00 and Darlene looked over at her oven. How did she mess that up, she wondered. She was sure she had timed out the turkey so it would be done before the 12:00 dinner, yet the timer said there was 1 hour and 45 minutes left to cook. She checked her rolls and they were raising perfectly. They would be ready to go in on time, but that turkey worried her. In Darlene's world, you don't undercook turkey.
Jeremy was turning 18 today. It had been a difficult year, 2020, and Darlene was determined to give her youngest son the best birthday she could. All her other children were given large parties on their 18th birthdays, but the health regulations forbid it during these pandemic times. So, Darlene had to opt for making his favorite meal and buy all his gifts on the internet. They might even try a virtual interaction with his grandparents, but Darlene had her doubts that would work. Neither were really comfortable with new technology.
The phone rang just as Darlene was about to drain the potatoes to be mashed. She turned off the burner and walked over to the phone to look at the caller ID. It was Jeremy's girlfriend, Carla. Darlene hesitated. Should she answer it? Jeremy has a cell phone, why wouldn't Carla call him on that phone?
Darlene picked the cordless phone off of its charger. “Mrs. Tyson?” Carla asked, her voice stressed and concerned. “You need to go to Jeremy's room immediately.” Darlene turned and ran towards the stairs. “I'm going there now. What is going on?”
“I was talking to Jeremy on the phone when suddenly he dropped it. He sounded a little strange right before he dropped the phone. I don't know what is going on and it scared me so much I called the house.”
Darlene burst into her son's room and found him flat on the floor, jerking back and forth. “He is having an epileptic seizure,” she said into the phone.
“Oh my God,” cried Carla. “Is there anything you can do?”
Darlene knelt down on the floor next to the dark-haired boy. She moved his hand so that the arm was at a right angle to his body, his hand pointing upwards. Darlene then took Jeremy's other hand and placed it on his cheek. She took the knee furthest from her and bent it so that the foot was flat on the floor. Gently, the mother rolled the young man onto his side so that he was facing her. Darlene then moved his top leg back a little to help balance him in that position.
The woman then went to his head and tilted his chin back to open up his airway so he could breathe. By this time Jeremy was beginning to come out of the seizure and stopped moving. His eyes slowly fluttered open.
“Stay still, Jeremy,” Darlene said as she sat on the floor next to him, her hand resting on his arm. She noted his breathing was normal.
“Mom,” he muttered. He sat up slowly, still blinking his eyes as he became more aware.
“Mrs. Tyson? What is going on?” Carla's frantic voice came through the phone line.
“I'm sorry, Carla. Jeremy is just coming out of the seizure now. It is going to take a little time for him to orient himself.”
“I didn't know Jerry had epilepsy,” Carla exclaimed. “What if that had happened when we were together? I would have had no clue what to do to help him!” Panic was in her voice.
“He hasn't had one in a long time, I am sure he was thinking it was completely under control with his medication. We can talk about how to help him later. Right now I have to make sure he's OK before I rescue any of my food that may be burning at this time.”
“Have him call me back when he's doing better. I don't want to bother him now.”
“Carla? Thank you for calling me and letting me know something was wrong. Your quick thinking may have prevented him from hurting himself and alerted me to the fact this condition isn't under control.”
“You're welcome. I'm glad this turned out alright. Have him call me when he feels better.” Carla hung up the phone.
“Mom, I'm feeling fine now,” Jeremy said as he stood up from the floor. Darlene looked at him, trying to determine if he was back to normal. He smiled at her and reached out his hand. His grip was firm. Darlene was sure he was OK.
“How long has it been since the last seizure,” she said once she was standing up. Jeremy walked over to his desk and pulled out a black notebook from the top drawer. He turned the pages until he came to a chart.
“5 years, Mom. 5 years, 6 months, 10 days to be exact. Do you know the type of seizure this one was?” Jeremy was making notations on the page as he spoke.
“No, I came towards the end of it. You collapsed and were jerking around a little bit, but not as bad as some of the other times I found you.”
Jeremy wrote some information down. “Looks like we will be visiting Dr. Nordahl sometime in the near future,” he said as he closed the book. “Thanks, mom, for being here when I needed you.”
“You better thank Carla as well. She's the one who called me and alerted me something was happening.” Darlene looked at her watch, “Oh no! I've got to get back to the kitchen and try to salvage this meal! Do you think you will be up to eating?”
“Yes, Mom. I'm fine now. You go back to the kitchen and I'll call Carla and let her know everything is better. I'm sure she's worried.” Darlene gave Jeremy a kiss on the forehead before leaving him in his room.
Once in the kitchen, Darlene looked at the oven timer and found she still had 15 minutes left on the turkey so she put the rolls into the oven and set the second timer. She then hurriedly mashed the potatoes and put them aside and started the stuffing. Meanwhile, she put the green beans on, the corn, and the canned cranberry sauce. When the turkey was done she pulled it out of the oven and verified the temperature gauge said it was 165 degrees inside the bird. She then punctured the oven bag it was in and drained off the juices so she could make the gravy. Soon that was done and it was time to finish setting up the table.
Scott joined her and together the parents finished setting the table. Scott had been delivering mail and managed to finish his route before noon. He was able to get home in time for the meal but had to go back to the post office in an hour. As they worked together, Darlene told him about the seizure. He nodded when Darlene told him Jeremy would need to see his doctor as soon as possible.
The timer went off and Darlene gave Scott the turkey and utensils to carve it while she rang the old dinner bell Scott's family had used on their farm when he was growing up. Jeremy came running down the stairs, followed by his older brother Craig, who was home taking virtual college classes. The other 4 children in the family would not be able to attend the meal, due to health regulations and not being a part of the family bubble.
After they sat down at the table, Scott asked Jeremy to say the prayer for the meal. The young man bowed his head, cleared his throat, and said, “Thank you Lord for this fine meal my mother managed to prepare despite being interrupted to rescue my sorry ass. Thank you for creating her so she could create me and so she could make this marvelous meal. Thank you for the food we are about to eat, for keeping me alive for another day, and for the love of this family who has always been here to support me. We pray to you, Lord, in your son's name, Jesus Christ, Amen.”