was diagnosed with epilepsy,
of the central
when I was eleven years old. I was on medication until I was
seventeen, and I went off the meds thinking my condition
well-controlled - until I had seizures
again in my young adult
life. The seizures I had as a child were atonic
/petit mal seizures. I
as a young adult. Even though I've been seizure-free since
21, 1995 (touch wood), I know that epilepsy isn't curable. I
wrote the story about my experiences with epilepsy for my college senior thesis,
and it's posted on another website
. I wear a MedicAlert©
bracelet, and I give the following instructions to those who interact
with me on a regular basis:
advice is good for any situation, seizures especially.
Unfortunately, few colleagues in state civil service know who
I have the chance to warn you, I will. Unfortunately these
seizures don’t give me as much warning time as I had before.
the time (duration) and any unique occurrence (twitching, eye movement,
etc.). These are very important pieces of information used in
- If I fall, try to ease me to the ground and point
my face downward in case of emesis. It is not necessary nor recommended to try to catch
me–just help me so I don’t injure myself.
I am unconscious, there is no need to hold me down or put anything in
my mouth. I may twitch, but it is unlikely that I will move
around. I cannot swallow my tongue; putting
something in my
mouth would probably injure me rather than help me.
the seizure run its course. There is nothing you can do to
I regain consciousness, I may be disoriented. After my last
seizure, the first question I asked Brian was “Where am
I?” Please answer any questions I may have.
- I may be
tired or thirsty. Please understand my needs and help
is not necessary to call an ambulance. Usually I only
these few first aid techniques described here. If, however,
seizure lasts more than five minutes, or I have repeated seizures one
after the other, then call for an ambulance. This may be a
condition called Status
Epilepticus, which is very life-threatening; it is
also very rare.
may stare, offer help, or just ask stupid and/or embarrassing
questions. My advice: accept the help with grace,
stares with dignity, and the questions with humor.
For more resources, contact the Epilepsy Foundation
or a local affiliate