Featured Questionnaire #4 comes from a fellow PhDer and one of the most genuinely nice people I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. Although we’re enough years apart in our program that I haven’t spent a lot of time with her (I’ve also been pitifully absent from my department since my epilepsy diagnosis … I should probably work on changing that), I say without hesitation: you’re awesome, Semi-Anonymous Questionnaire Filler-Inner!
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?
Not very much. I dated a guy named — for a few years whose father suffered from mild epilepsy. I don’t believe his father ever had an attack for the duration of my relationship with —, so it wasn’t part of common discussions.
How much about epilepsy do you know now?
As much as I’ve learned from your blogs—which is a fair amount! Actually, I’ve been suffering from strange forms of anxiety for the past two years, and on the recommendation of my doctor, I met with a neurologist and a neurosurgeon for some tests. I had EEGs (regular and sleep-deprived), an MRI on my brain, and I was even prescribed anti-epileptic medication (lamotrigine) “in case [my] ‘attacks’ were, indeed, epileptic” (and they aren’t and my tests came out “normal,” so I’m grateful that I was critical of the prescription and didn’t, indeed, take the medication that my body didn’t need). All that to say that, in addition to reading your blog, I’ve done some of my own research to see what, exactly, I’ve been experiencing over the past few months. Results are inconclusive. I’d actually been pondering messaging you, too, to ask you what you thought about my doctor’s diagnosis, but I didn’t want to disturb you (I think that I was pondering this when you had cut yourself off from Facebook for a few days on your doctor’s orders). [Editor’s note: I better never ever deactivate my Facebook account again, doctor’s orders to stare at a wall post-concussion or not. My friends might need me! I swear this has nothing to do with my social media addiction.]
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 need to refresh my memory. I’ve read tips you posted on your blog at least twice. I would re-read them if I knew I was going to be in the company of someone who has epilepsy (like I was prepared when I hung out with my friend who was allergic to nuts; is that a weird comparison?). [Editor’s note: excellent comparison!]
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.)
I deserve no such prize. So, yes, I am shamed into learning more.
You totally rock. We miss you at school. Please get better and keep rocking 🙂
My academic analysis of this questionnaire: 1) brains are so weird and complicated; 2) people can be so kind and empathetic and amazing; 3) I am incredibly susceptible to flattery.