Saturday, May 31, 2014


My son is a daydreamer. Or maybe he's just a 4 year old genius concocting the next earth-shattering invention(s). If his Lego vehicles are any indication, it might be the latter, but I'll reserve judgement.

I lead with this because I'm happy I can claim it with relative certitude and that I'm not blogging about how my son was instead diagnosed with something (more) serious. You see, his perfectly wonderful and well-meaning teachers (and his classmates as well) had noticed his trips to La-la-land were pretty frequent and came sometimes at very odd moments. They called my husband and I in for a meeting to ask us if we'd noticed anything (well yes, but never thought anything of it) and to suggest we may want to ask a doctor about it and see if it's something more serious than going off to Outer Space.

First, I went to his pediatrician, the doctor here in Paris who knows him pretty well. She said she had no expertise in this area, but that the description called to mind Absence Epilepsy, which, in case you are, like me, clueless, is where the brain takes a break from connecting synapses for about 10 seconds or less. Apparently, it can develop into more serious forms of epilepsy.  So, she called another doctor to ask for a recommendation of a pediatric neurologist that speaks English. She made an appointment for us with her (at the American Hospital in Neuilly) and also an appointment for an EEG to be done at the public hospital in Neuilly a week prior. Unfortunately, the appointment with the specialist was for in a month's time at 18:30 (6:30pm) because she only does consultations on Wednesday evenings.

In the meantime, our son went off for 5 days and 4 nights on Classe Verte, the annual overnight field trip to spend time more involved with nature. He came home totally energized and the teachers said he was a different boy there - attentive, engaged and excited. He still wants to know when the next Classe Verte is!

The EEG test itself was a bit of an adventure in and of itself, but my boy was brave and tried hard to hold it together, even though people touching or messing with his head/hair is something he can't abide. He fell asleep during the test (which I guess is ideal) and the administer said there was no sign of absence epilepsy or anything else unusual. Phew. But we still had to go see the specialist with the scan/results.

Because both hospitals are outside of Paris (even if only just a bit) and very close to one another, I arranged to go to pick up the results of the EEG immediately before our consultation with the neurologist. The radiology desk closed at 5:30pm so we arrived around 5. Waited. 20 minutes. Only to be told the scan couldn't be found. I will spare you the rant about how unfriendly and unhelpful the woman was, raising her voice as if I were deaf and would understand French better that way. I eventually discovered that the doctor who administered the test wasn't in the hospital and I would have to call the next day to try and track the scan down. All she could give me at that time was a general results document. Great. So, I'm supposed to go to the neurologist sans scan?!? Yup. That's what I did. At least the results were negative!

We arrived at the American Hospital 45 minutes early and were told that the doctor was running late. OK, well I was prepared - I'd brought dinner for Dante at least and we had lots of books because we'd visited the library just before embarking on our odyssey. Little did I know we'd wait for 4 and a half hours to see the neurologist! We were the second to last people to see her and the secretary had gone home. The security guard wanted to lock up, but kindly said he'd come back later. The specialist said she'd had an emergency and was terribly sorry but glad that we'd waited. (Well, what choice did we have? It's too hard to get in to see her!)

The doctor had him do some standard things to test his symmetry and what-not. Walk on tip-toe, on his heels, toe to heel in a straight line. The latter he couldn't do, because he was laughing so hard. He thought the whole thing was hilarious. Because naturally, he'd reached Slap-Happy. Better that than desperate because he should've been asleep for an hour by then! Needless to say, she thought he seemed like a perfectly healthy boy with better than average language skills (speaking 4 languages as he does), with no other detectible abnormalities. She would have a look at the scan at a later date and if necessary we could come in again.

Luckily, we caught a bus immediately, but it was still almost 11pm when he was finally asleep. I decided to let him sleep in, instead of going to school on time the next morning. And it was a good thing, he broke his record by sleeping until 9:00am!

I'm exceedingly relieved that he's just, like his mom and his dad before him, a daydreamer.

* * *

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Amazing Stories: Poetry Review - Scenes Along the Zombie Highway, G. O. Clark

I know I promised a non-Amazing Stories post as my next one, but time seems to fly by these days Scenes Along the Zombie Highway) has gone up and you can read it here. Here's a snippet:
and I haven't had a chance to sit down an write something that WASN'T for Amazing Stories... So now today my latest review (of G.O. Clark's

-->Scenes Along the Zombie Highway is his most recent collection, jumping on the bandwagon of zombie enthusiasm. I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of zombies. I find the idea pretty disgusting and creepy and I don’t enjoy being grossed out. This collection, however, is not full of splatter, blood and guts (although there is plenty of gore – don’t ask me what the distinction is), so if you are looking for that kind of thrill you’d be better off looking elsewhere. Clark’s poems are first and foremost informative, then creepy, grisly and even a little bit tongue-in-cheek funny. At least that’s how they strike me.
I hope you enjoy!

* * *

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Amazing Stories - Poetry Review: Luminous Worlds, by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Hello there!

My most recent article on Amazing Stories has been published! It's a review of a wonderful poetry collection by a wonderful poet: Luminous Worlds, by David C. Kopaska-Merkel. Here's a snippet:

I love the English language. No other language has the richness of vocabulary that English does – and trust me, I have intimate knowledge of way too many other languages as well. English language speakers have borrowed from every other language imaginable (a broad generalization to be sure!) and made it their (our?) own. But you already know that, I suspect. So why do I mention it? Because David C. Kopaska-Merkel knows the English language intimately. He has a massive vocabulary and isn’t afraid to use it! I love this about his poetry. I love looking up words I’m not familiar with. It does make for a somewhat slow reading of some of his poetry. That is, unless you have an equally massive vocabulary (which I apparently don’t – at least when it comes to scientific terms and such). There is a preponderance of words 7 or 8 letters and longer. But don’t let that deter you! Think of it as a celebration of language!
I've included 5 new recordings of poetry from the collection as well as linked to recordings of other poetry of David's that I've recorded. I hope you'll head over there and read and listen and enjoy!

My next post in this space will be something non-science-fiction, I promise!