Friday, May 2, 2014

Finding the Sweet Spot

I’m not much of a baseball person. 

Okay, okay, I will wait while the gasps die down out here in SF Giants territory. 

Oh sure, when Giants fever was consuming my office I was a fan. I mean who couldn’t fall in love with Timmy Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval, Brian “The Beard” Wilson or Buster Posey (my personal favorite)?

Of course I loved going to the softball games of my niece (who is a die-hard Yankees fan, despite living in the Bay Area).  Attending my step-son’s baseball games while Richard coached was great fun for me and the girls because we would pull up a few chairs, grab some giant salted pretzels (or a hot dog for one daughter) from the snack shack and then somehow maneuver mustard onto the pretzel and relish onto the dog while sitting in the blazing sun.

Just getting situated with the food was enough to eat up a few innings.

Growing up, Mom and I would take Robert (he was called “Robbie” then) to Other Brother’s baseball games.  Mom and I would sit in the car while we let Robbie run wild. Oh, and he did. During one game, he got stuck in a mud puddle.  Yep – he even lost his shoes because he couldn’t get out.  The thought crossed my mind that he might not make it out. 

I’m pretty sure the game continued while the mud drama unfolded.

Mom and I would joke about Other Brother standing in the outfield with his gloved hand on his hip, elbow sticking out and knees bent with a hat tipped down to block the sun and a serious look crossing his face.  He looks like a teapot, Mom would say.

Mom and I loved watching "our teapot" and I have loved watching my niece and step-son play the sport. So while I am not much of a baseball person I certainly love and support those who do.

I asked Other Brother once we were grown and entrenched in our careers and families what his dream job would have been.

“Professional baseball player,” was his quick reply.

The image of his teapot stance in the outfield of Candlestick Park delighted me.

Years later I find myself using a baseball term: finding the sweet spot.  That’s where I am right now – trying to find the sweet spot with Robert’s new medication and keeping his congestion under control.

(Full disclosure: I’ve been thinking about this term and how elusive it seems to be but had to look it up to figure out exactly what it meant. I thought it was the strike zone but, apparently, it’s the part of the bat that helps the ball go the furthest. I’m sure my baseball-loving readers will correct me if that’s not correct).

It felt like Sunday we had hit the sweet spot.

Robert had been on a very, very low dose of his new medication (Trileptal) for a few weeks and the moodiness, balance issues and drowsiness had worn off.  The effectiveness of the medication had started to wear off, too, so the seizures were returning. We slightly increased his Trileptal which stopped the seizures cold but hadn’t yet affected his mood or balance. By Sunday night it dawned on me that he had gone all weekend without a seizure.

All weekend!!

I couldn’t believe it so checked the log and there weren’t any entries since Friday morning.  Could this medication really be the answer?  If we could just keep the side-effects at bay. . .

Robert slept in very late on Sunday, woke up in a great mood, was joking around and declaring every meal “delicious.” His congestion was still pretty bad but he hadn’t had a seizure in two days and he seemed really happy!  Robert even proudly declared that he hadn’t had a seizure in a long time.  

We hit the sweet spot! (Or as close to it as we can get.)

It didn’t actually last very long – Robert’s seizures returned (although not with the vengeance he’s had the past few months).  With the increase in medication, it took just a few days for there to be an increase in his irritability, unsteadiness and drowsiness.  The congestion has been keeping him up with coughing and throwing up (which doesn’t help his sleepiness and grouchy mood).

I suppose that’s what happens in baseball too. Home runs don’t happen with every “at bat” but remembering the time you hit the ball just right on that sweet spot is enough to keep you coming back to the plate, hitting and trying and practicing time and time again.

That’s what we’re doing: we keep trying.  We keep working; we keep practicing.

We keep trying to find that sweet spot again.

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