My life changed on October 17th, 1999. I was at a typical 12 year old birthday party the night before complete with junk food, movies I was too young for, and zero sleep. I was 12. It was a Sunday night and I was completely exhausted. The last thing I remember was closing the bathroom door.
I try to take in my surroundings but EVERYTHING hurts. Where am I? Why am I strapped down? Why is it so loud? Are we moving? My fragmented mind was trying to piece together what was happening amid the stabbing pain in my head. I awoke in an ambulance my mom told me I had another seizure and they were bringing me to Children’s. Thankfully it was a short ride. The ambulance was loud and every bump we went over hurt.
I spent the next 6 years learning what the diagnosis of Epilepsy meant. The first 3 months were a few initial scans, EEGs, and learning what my triggers were. I had 3 more grand-mal seizures by the time I turned 18 and each time involved new scans and medication changes. The struggles of a teenager didn’t help the situation. I wasn’t able to drive for 6 months after each episode and hormone changes every year made my doses ineffective. I also lost a lot of privacy an angsty teen would have loved. I was involved in many activities in school and church and all of my directors and coaches needed to know exactly what was going on with me at all times. There was always a chance something could happen and it usually did.
I am well controlled now. I am one of the lucky ones. I take two little white pills a day and most of my problems are solved. The side effects can be rough. I have trouble stating complete thoughts sometimes and words can come out a bit jumbled. I may forget a bit of my day. You most definitely wont see me at a rave in the near future.
Why I tell my story
Epilepsy doesn’t carry a stigma like many other diseases or disabilities, however, it does have many misconceptions about care. I have had most of my seizures in public settings with strangers surrounding me. If people follow the wrong advice I could get hurt or hurt you. First aid is very minimal and does not involve placing anything in the person’s mouth ever.
How to help
Know the proper first aid.
If you know someone with Epilepsy ask their triggers. Knowing their triggers can help prevent likelihood seizures and reduce overall anxiety.