(This entry deals with Captain and Emily Stanley’s five-year-old severely autistic son,
Deklan Trapper. When I write and Cap and his family, I always write Deklan into and how the family “interacts” with him and copes with the disorder. I wanted to explore how Kel would cope with the disorder and the chaotic nature of it.)
June 10, 1976
This was one rough day for Hank and Emily Stanley. They had to bring Deklan in the ER because Deklan was in status epilepticus earlier today. Man that is something that you just do not mess with. Every now and then, it’s been known to happen to Deklan. It’s extremely scary while it happens. We took him to the Treatment Room immediately and I administered ten milligrams of Valium IM over a period of a minute each. Finally, over a period of seven minutes, which in a situation like that seems like a lifetime, Deklan’s body finally responded to the Valium and relaxed little by little. Emily was much calmer than Hank was. I knew letting them into the Treatment Room was a mistake but I know how much they truly love their children (an admirable quality) so I allowed them in the Treatment Room. I’ll never in my life figure out how Emily can be so dam calm and how Hank can be so emotionally wound up. Usually, it’s the other way around. Yet, when Hank’s on duty and in the field, you won’t find a more well-balanced, composed commander. Of course, I have never had children so that might make things a little bit different. Anyway, once Deklan turned the corner, Hank started to calm down. Actually, he did before that. I told him point blank if he didn’t calm down that I was going to give him a shot! So after Deklan got settled and stopped seizing, I told Hank I wanted to keep Deklan overnight in the ICU so that we could keep close tabs on him. Hank and Emily were fine with that so I went ahead and made arrangements for Deklan to spend the night in the ICU. I told Hank Deklan would more than likely be “down for the count” and Emily said that was probably a good thing. Once we got to the ICU, I was able to check Deklan’s chart for his blood level and it was only off by a hair. So the next thing I had to figure out was what the correct dosage was. After looking at another blood panel and consulting with pharmacy, we were able to formulate a correct dosage. Medicine is not always an exact science and tweaking seizure medication can sometimes be a major pain in the ass. Hank asked if he could stay the night and I granted that. I told Hank I would be available the whole night if he needed me. I think I put his mind at ease by the way he reacted to me. He also requested that Deklan be put in a crib and I arranged that as well. So once we got Deklan down and settled, I told Hank I’d check back later. Emily stayed with Hank and Deklan for a little while longer then she had to leave. After she left, Hank took a sound asleep Deklan out of the crib and sat down in the rocker with him and began to gently rock him. The love and caring that spilled from him toward that little boy filled the room. He looked at me and said “This is a rare luxury.” I looked at him, puzzled, and so “Oh, how so?” and Hank said “Holding Deklan Trapper like this, in my arms, without a struggle. Usually the only way he lets me hold him is by him putting his head on my shoulder. Period. End of discussion. He will usually not allow me to show him any affection. It’s his call; he knows it’s always his call but some days are harder than others.” I thought about that for several minutes and wondered first of all what it would be like to have a son then what it would be like to have a son that lived in near-constant solitude like Deklan does. I find that to be sad
and peaceful at the same time. Sad in the obvious way that I can see how much Hank would like to treat him like a normal child. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a child that totally rejected you every time you wanted to interact with him. It has to be very hard on him. I know how much Hank loves him, well all of his kids. But the “connection” if you will, with Deklan is probably the most intense. But on the other hand, for the most part, Deklan seems to be at peace. So that might not be such a bad thing. I have to say that I do admire the way Hank handles it. It is obvious that he accepts Deklan totally. I don’t know if I could cope with a child as severely handicapped as Deklan. I feel sure if I had one, Hank would probably be a good guide and example to follow.
June 11, 1976
I just witnessed the most amazing thing ever. Early, early AM Deklan woke up and when he did he was crying. Hank went to him immediately and took him out of his crib and tried for over an hour to comfort him. He tried rocking him, walking while holding him, putting him in the crib and rubbing his back, sitting with him on the rocker and just talking to him oh so gently, a variety of things. Nothing would work. Deklan fought him at every turn. Hank wouldn’t give up. Deklan had big tears coming down his little cheeks and his nose was running and finally, he laid his head on Hank’s shoulder, drooling everywhere. I wanted to give Deklan something to take the edge off but Hank wouldn’t allow me to. Then came the magical moment. Hank reached deep in his pants pocket and brought out a pacifier. He looked at me and said “Emily will skin me for giving it to him but there’s nothing else I can do.” Hank offered the pacifier and Deklan took it and it soothed him immediately. Hank’s left shoulder was full of tears, snot and drool. Once he took the pacifier Hank said “He honors me by putting his head on my shoulder.” Hank was fighting tears at that point, looking like he had just gone twenty-five rounds with a buzz saw and lost. I offered to find Hank a clean shirt, one of mine if need be and he said “It’s all part of who he is. It doesn’t bother me.” That’s really all that needed to be said. This scene will probably stay with me for quite some time. A father’s love for his very special child. Amazing. Truly incredible.
I released Deklan a little bit ago. His seizure meds are right where they need to be although increased by just a couple of milligrams. I gave Hank a new prescription and he said he’d see to it getting filled tomorrow which is fine because Deklan’s got his dose of medications for the day. I hope I don’t have to see Deklan again for a while and if I do I hope it’s for something much easier to fix than this was. Hank is such a strong man. I have often heard that God picks special people to be parents of handicapped children. He sure struck lottery gold when He picked Hank and Emily because they are so good with Deklan.