I’ve had many not-at-home seizures in my day, as I very recently whined about in this blog. A few weeks ago, I had my first with-colleagues-and-teaching-supervisor one.
Do I get to level-up now?
At the time, it was actually super predictable that something was going to happen: I hadn’t slept well in days, I was hormonally, erm, compromised, and I was working relatively long hours doing a highly focused task (marking exams) with a group of my peers. In my everyday life, I take frequent breaks to give my brain a chance to chill out, and I fully planned on doing the same during these marking sessions. In fact, I considered in advance how to best be assertive (with myself, not with my colleagues or supervisor, who I suspected, based on my knowledge of the world, wouldn’t care or question me) and rest for fifteen minutes or so at regular intervals in order to practice optimal seizure prevention/self care/etc.
Of course, when push came to shove, my “health first!” intentions flew out the window.
It was at the tail end of lunch on the second full day that I sensed that something was off.
“I feel kind of weird,” I told a friend/workmate as we gathered our things and prepared to resume the task at hand.
“How so?” she asked. I shrugged, partially because I genuinely wasn’t totally certain what was going on—this wasn’t an aura as I usually experience them, but my brain can be a messed-up place—and partially because, as usual, I figured that I might be able to ignore the problem away. #soundreasoning
But as we settled back into marking, I had an aura, unmistakable this time. I noted that another (poor, unsuspecting) friend was sitting near the door. A little panicky now, I pulled her into the hallway and said the magic words. We went to a nearby room. I had my seizure. The rest is hazy.
What I do know is that how she dealt with a difficult situation is nothing short of commendable. No one wakes up in the morning expecting to spend a chunk of the afternoon comforting someone who’s gone from relatively competent (…) working person to “I don’t know who or where I am” in the space of five minutes, and I often reflect on how potentially upsetting witnessing a seizure is (and on the fact that I, strangely, have only seen a few, mostly in first-aid videos).
My husband came to pick me up. He later reported that he was incredibly impressed by both the friend who assisted me and my supervisor: their interactions with him, their interactions with me. And that’s saying something since, unfortunately, we have a significant number of past experiences with which to compare this one. The next day, I received a lovely, reassuring email from my supervisor; apparently, in classic “me” style, I had tried to stay and keep working, even though I was postictal and clearly needed to go home. Yep.
While it’s nearly impossible for me to not be embarrassed just thinking about this event, I’m also really grateful for how it all unfolded. I’m truly lucky that I was treated with dignity and without judgment in a moment of true vulnerability. That’s all Seizure Me (and Normal Me, for that matter) could really ever ask for.
Well, I guess I could ask for freedom from seizures and world peace and free LEGO forever and an agreement with my body whereby I could eat endless amounts of ice cream and frozen yogurt with no consequences, but I try to keep things realistic.