Thinking about Epilepsy: Featured Questionnaire #2 (The “Child Hippie to Adult Academic” Edition)

The author of the second featured questionnaire and I go back to when we were child hippies unschooling on the West Coast. Now we’ve both moved east and are both in academia. Life’s so weird.


I'm not going to pretend to fully know what's going on here. I was trying to preserve the shape of his hair, but with little success. His body makes him look like he's on his way to a poetry reading. MAYBE HE IS.
I was trying to preserve the shape of his hair, but with little success. I’m not going to pretend to know what’s going on with his body. Maybe he’s on his way to a poetry reading.


How much did you know about epilepsy before meeting me/before I was diagnosed with epilepsy/before reading my blog/before frantically Googling “epilepsy” three minutes ago?

Almost nothing at all: an awareness of a few historical persons who were known, or are thought, to have had epilepsy, some arcane medical treatments related to epilepsy, and that there are a variety of types of seizures.

How much about epilepsy do you know now?

Significantly more, though perhaps still undereducated. I feel like De Morbo Sacro has given me a significant education on the challenges presented by living with epilepsy, and a detailed case study of one person’s experiences with those challenges, but I remain woefully ignorant of the underlying neurological mechanics.

Have you witnessed me or someone else having a seizure? If so, what did you do besides panic and wish you could run away? If not, would you know what steps to take?

I have seen someone have a seizure on two occasions, but both are way back in ancient history. In both cases no intervention was required. In the first, there was someone with the person who knew what to do. The second occurred at a house party when I was a teenager, and happened to the person while they were sitting in a recliner. They recovered quickly and were able to tell people that no intervention was required.

Has this exercise shamed you into learning more about epilepsy and seizure first aid so that you can be more informed and POTENTIALLY SAVE MY (or someone else’s) LIFE? (If it’s made you feel smug about your superior seizure knowledge, congratulations! I’ll buy you a prize.)

About a year ago (I think?) a De Morbo Sacro post prompted me to do some extensive googling on what to do if someone is having a seizure in your vicinity, so while I do feel smugly superior, it is because I was previously shamed into learning, and I have never had the chance to put my knowledge into practice. That being said, I had precisely this thought “If I saw someone at the bus stop having a seizure, I would not want to be that asshole who a) shoved my dirty wallet in their mouth b) backed away slowly in the hope that someone else knew what to do c) unnecessarily called an ambulance”. I also had grand visions of smugly telling someone that their idea to shove their hands in a stranger’s mouth was idiotic.

Additional comments: 

If this exercise has shamed me into anything it is doing some further Googling about the neurological underpinnings of epilepsy. If someone asked me what epilepsy is I couldn’t say much more than “a neurological disorder that sometimes results in a variety of seizure activity”, and that, my friends, is a terrible answer.


My scientific analysis of this questionnaire: former child hippies make the best academics.


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