It was a Wednesday and it was during second period wood shop class. It was a light day for me in class, we were making carving boards and my board had the 13 individual pieces glued together which took a total of five minutes. Since class was 90 minutes long, I had 85 minutes to kill until our 11 a.m. lunch time. To this day I don’t remember what happened, but somewhere between me sitting down at the table I sat at in the beginning of class and me hearing someone (I think it was my vice principal) ask me what day it was as I was lying on the ground, I had suffered a seizure.
I was then taken to the hospital where my parents were waiting. The next time I had opened my eyes, I saw that I was in a hospital bed out in the hallway. I remember a lot of vomiting after the seizure and was told by my mother that I had puked in the catscan machine. I was taken home soon after and went back to school on Friday after I had been allowed excused absenses to recuperate and recover. By then word had got around school about what happened to me. One person asked me if I was “the kid who croaked in wood shop”. I didn’t think that was very appropriate.
Two months later I would go through another seizure in the middle of the night at home and soon thereafter I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was also prescribed medicine to take to prevent seizures from happening. After five years of having no seizures, I went off the medicine, though my doctor said there was a 30-percent chance of having another one. He was right. In August 2002, I had what was probably the worst one of my life, one that I was probably not right from for a while. I immediately returned to taking my medicine and haven’t had a known seizure since. God willing, this August will be 10 years without one.
Why am I writing about this day,you ask? Because 15 years ago when that first one happened, I was 15. I’m now 30. So I have now been an epileptic half my life. Being epileptic has made me who I am for better and for worse. There are many things I can’t do anymore like play video games (I get really bad headaches), be under strobe lights,or watch fireworks on Independence Day. While it took me a while longer to get my license and get my first car, it’s also helped me in many ways. I’m not much of a drinker and if I was, I would probably not be able to handle it responsibly. For those not aware, the medicine I take to control seizures reduces my tolerancy for alcohol and if I have too much, I throw up no matter how much I don’t want to.
While I have been very lucky in the treatment I’ve received for the disorder, I know of many others who are doing a lot worse than I am and it saddens me very much to hear about how many seizures they have in a day or their hope that an episode doesn’t come their way. They just want what I want as well, to be like everyone else and to be treated as such. Do me one small favor, if you know someone who has epilepsy, if you don’t know much about it, if you want to know more about it than you already do, go up to them and talk about it. Ask us questions, we’ll be happy to answer everything you want to know.
Though only three million people in the United States suffer from epilepsy, 47 million others do worldwide. It doesn’t get the attention it deserves and I believe it is time it did. I will do everything I can to get the word out about this disorder, how it affects not only me but others as well. For starters, if you would like to know more, a lot of information can be found here.
Thank you very much for reading today!