seized

I’ve had epilepsy since I was a child. I think I was around 3 when it started. Not very often, but about once every year or so. Not often enough to be a real problem, but often enough to loom over me and get in the way. I didn’t get a driver’s license until I was 32, just prior to my son’s birth.

I hadn’t had a seizure (confirmed as a genuine seizure, anyway) since my first year as an undergrad – back in 1987. It’s been a long, long time.

But, I had one the day before Northern Voice. Thankfully, I was in a safe place (in every meaning of the word), and my friends were absolutely amazing at helping me feel comfortable and recover. Before I get a seizure, I get an aura as a warning. Since it had been so long, I tried to ignore it. I figured it was low blood sugar or something. Then, I could feel myself slipping, and I was gone. The next thing I remember is fragmented snapshots of my friends standing over me, looking worried.

I didn’t say anything to the rest of my friends who were in town for Northern Voice, because I didn’t want the thing to turn into Are You OK? Fest 2010. I was fine. After a good night’s sleep, I felt completely back to normal. There was no point in telling anyone else.

But, it took me much longer to recover from the seizure than ever before, so I needed to get things checked out. I saw a doctor today, to get a referral to a neurologist (my own neurologist sadly passed away a few years ago, and I never had the need to be transferred to a new one until now). The doctor wrote a prescription for the meds I used to take, to hold me over until I can get in to see a neurologist and we figure out what’s going on.

I won’t be driving for some time. The bottle of IPA in the fridge is likely the last beer I’ll have in a long, long time. Things will be different, but not radically so. I already ride my bike to and from work, and will be doing more of that to run errands.

Why am I writing this? I remember when I was a kid, I was terrified that people would find out I had epilepsy. That they’d think something was wrong or damaged. It was something to hide. I don’t want to do that anymore. My epilepsy is not a big deal.

10 thoughts on “seized”

  1. That took some guts. Thank you! I suppose many of us have an equivalent to epilepsy, and it’s gratifying to see someone handle it so gracefully. … Best regards, Gary

    1. Thanks, Gary. I remember, as a kid, being embarrassed about it because it seemed like I was the only one. Maybe some kid will find this and feel slightly less alone.

  2. Glad to hear you’re OK, D’Arcy, and that you had friends around you.

    I guess I’m lucky (relatively speaking) that my seizures started when I was an adult. I never felt any stigma or any sense of shame about it. You’re right – it’s just a medical condition. I’ve had friends who’ve had worse so I do feel relatively lucky. The consequences, like yours, were mostly inconvenient. Actually with my last seizure there were two silver linings. I walked my daughter to school every day while she was in grade 1, and I saw a neurologist who changed my meds to something that didn’t turn me into a zombie. Sadly I now have the attention span of a sparrow but that’s another story. 🙂

    I’m glad to read that you are OK. I hope you find some silver linings. I truly hope this is your last seizure. And I hope your gums don’t bleed too much. 🙂

  3. I’m sorry to hear that you had a seizure – I think the worst thing about waiting for appointments like that is not knowing what you might be facing. I’m seeing my neurologist this July to see if we can finally nail down my multiple sclerosis diagnosis (or figure out what else might be going on) and it’s the waiting and not knowing what to expect in the future that I hate.

  4. i didn’t know this! does something trigger it?

    hopefully this doesn’t spur a slew of hollywood celebrities to decide they’re epileptic just for some attention.

  5. I applaud you the will to share something this personal with the rest of the world. I have a mild case of CP (cerebral palsy, for those who don’t follow medical shorthand). It only affects my left side, and the biggest physical effects are on my balance and my gate.

    I think I have told maybe a dozen people over my lifetime about this, mainly due to the psychological baggage left over from being the “different” kid.

    I think that all of us who have a neurological condition should speak out. Recently I decided to accede to my doctor’s wishes and start using a cane daily, as well as getting a handicapped license plate, even though it brings my conditions out into the light of day where everyone can see them.

    1. go for it, Andy. I figure, the only way this stuff remains stigmatizing, is if we let it. and if those of us who have survived a childhood with this baggage start talking about it openly, maybe it’ll be slightly less traumatic for kids coping with it. I mean, it’s biological stuff. It’s not like you voted for Palin or something. Now THAT would be stigmatizing…

    1. thanks. I think I mentioned it to a couple people, mostly just to explain why I was less engaged in conversation than I should have been.

Comments are closed.