“I woke up to my wife Nicole screaming my name in anguish. As I opened my eyes, she rushed into the room. Our twenty-three-month-old daughter Vivien was limp in her arms, foaming at the mouth.”
With these chilling words, Mike Knox begins Vivien’s Rain, the true story of his own harrowing journey into the dark and confusing world of epilepsy and childhood disease. Along with his wife Nicole, Knox is awoken abruptly from the innocent sleep of new parenthood one ordinary night when his toddler daughter experiences her first major seizure. Little does the couple know, it was not Vivien’s first. And it would not be her last.
Overnight, and over the next several years, this parole agent for the California department of corrrections and rehabilitation—a former prison guard who had worked his way up the ladder while pursuing on the side an avid interest in stand-up comedy—would see his whole life change. That first night, driving frantically, he doesn’t even remember the way to the nearest hospital—hadn’t been there since their daughter’s birth. Thank God for his wife’s sense of direction and her cool head under pressure. Going forward, the couple navigates the tortured, uncertain waters of this serious health crisis as a team, fighting hospital red tape, doctors who won’t listen, insurance companies with Orwellian policies . . . not to mention the sobering fact of their baby’s random and incurable affliction.
Vivien’s Rain is one family’s tale of a daughter’s early battle with epilepsy. In confronting the realities of Vivien’s health, Mike and Nicole Knox confront their own inner demons as well—his as an adopted child, hers as a biracial woman with significant hearing loss since an early age. Where some couples buckle, Mike and Nicole work together to shore themselves against the unknowable challenge of ill health. In the face of Vivien’s needs, they persevere and prevail.
“As we would learn, with each seizure it was as if a sudden squall had developed and rained down on her, leaving her in a helpless, hopeless fog. I started to think of the seizures as Vivien’s rain. She was like a little girl alone in a boat in a storm, far out to sea. And there was nothing I could do about it.
“At one point, in response to my question, Vivien described her seizures. “It feels like when you drink a cherry Slurpee too fast, Daddy. It’s raining in my head.”
PRAISE FOR VIVIEN’S RAIN:
“Facing a child’s illness is perhaps a parent’s most daunting task. Vivien’s Rain is one family’s poignant story of dealing with epilepsy, the health care system, and their own broken dreams. A compelling and helpful read.–Pete Earley, bestselling author of Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, and Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison
“Vivien’s Rain is an inspirational journey into the heart of one family’s struggle with epilepsy”–Danielle Bacher, LA Weekly, Rolling Stone, and Playboy
Vivien’s Rain is a very clear road map down the path of epilepsy. It is enlightening, harrowing and heartening in equal measure.–Beverly Archer, actress, “Major Dad,” and “Mama’s Family”