Monday, November 9, 2009


help'less--(adj.) ineffective, dependent, hands and knees in shower, screaming "GIVE ME MY HEAD BACK!!"


Before I was diagnosed with epilepsy in August, I was a huge boozer. I had been up drinking until 5:30 in the morning, and got up at 11:00 to go pick up books for the upcoming first semester of school. Not a good idea even if you don't have a neurological disorder, which at the time I didn't know I had.

MY "Is it safe?" MOMENT

About a mile and a half from home, the lights went out. I woke up screaming, being restrained by complete strangers trying to force an oxygen mask over my face, and calm me down. EMTs obviously in an ambulance, but to me they may as well have been Joseph Mengele's away team. I think they shot me up with a sedative, because in my brief insanity, I almost got away.

That "light's out" isn't the worst part, for I've been asked that question many times. What's a seizure like?


I often joke, "I don't know, I'm not there." Har-de-fuckin-har.

See, in many cases, epileptics experience what are commonly referred to as "auras" before the seizure occurs. Mine feel more like "twitches", minute moments of what feels like a weak "jerk" and the closer I get to the impending seizure, the stronger and longer they get. Sometimes there's a brief blackout. As Christopher Walken said to Dennis Hopper in the famous "True Romance" banter between the two, "It ain't any kinda fun."

The jerking and the twitching aside, the real problem is the anticipation. Once those brief electrical pulses reach an intense enough point, you know it's coming and you're unlikely to stop the bitch from pulling you in. That's the worst part. Knowing that at any second, maybe 10 seconds from now, maybe an hour, you're going to have your damn lights turned out and when they're turned back on, you're gonna be breathing funny, and have people hovering around you, lowering you to embarassment's ass-end of helplessness.

You won't be able to answer their questions. Not even your name. These people bring their faces in real close. You can smell their breath, but you can't say how bad it is, when you're not sure what day it is.

Most people who've seen me come out of it, say I look "crazy". Again, I joke, "...and that's different how?" har-de-fuckin-har.

A couple of times, I've beaten the seizure. The twitches start, I find a quiet place, focus on a real or imagined "pinpoint" and breathe. Several times, my mind cleared, I could think without cloudiness or the jerks, and all returned to normal. A couple other times, I was no match for my brain's need to shut me down, and I was reduced to a disgraced stand-in for a corpse that appears to be hooked up to electrical wires laying in a mud puddle.

But still, through all of this, what's my favorite joke?
What do you do when someone has a seizure in a bathtub?
Throw in your laundry.


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