Being a very well medicated person with epilepsy, I have always challenged myself (knowing that I always lose) to power through any partial seizure that dares attempt to inconvenience me. I have been on the end of various differing outcomes; for example I regularly stand having discussions with colleagues in work whilst they are totally aware that the left side of my body has switched off, and that I could fall like a felled redwood at any second. There is a coping strategy for this and many other scenarios. Quite often I can feign full lucidity for the duration of the partial, leaving them totally unaware of the battle between chaos and order that is silently dominating every movement.
I must admit, the people I work with are getting wise to my “fool proof strategies” to stay (more or less) upright. They immediately notice me stood bearing the weight on my right leg barely moving, whilst I am unsure of what is going on with my left hand side. It could be on fire and I would plough on as if all was fine an dandy. At home my other half simply has to look into my eyes, then wait for me to ask (rather oddly)if she is okay. For a split second I assume that she is also in a world of absent spacial awareness and a non responsive left hand side of the body. Apparently it is an easy mistake for me to make.
Phone calls are a big challenge, they are arguably the hardest of all. The main nemesis being the ever present office swivel chair.
I can not overstate the difficulty of holding a swivel chair in an forward facing position when the entire of your left hand side has lost its muscle tone, causing the chair to turn. This is yes, hilarious, but it is also made even more fiendishly difficult when coupled with the lack of spacial awareness that occurs with it. I have toppled chairs in the office before now, due to my insistence on holding a phone call whilst the chair is in a uncontrolled turn to the left. It resulted in me tripping on my own leg, getting tangled, then as a result pulling myself off the chair; only to finish the call as a mangled heap in the floor. It was far from a convincing outing. I couldn’t even remember what the phone call was about.
However there have been some genuine wins.
It was the summer, the lads picked me up with the taxi and we headed to the pub. As we arrived I was getting the smallest hints that a partial could be happening soon. As a result I sauntered over to the bar and assumed my position, holding my weight on my right hand side poised and ready for a seizure that, in all honesty I expected it to be a no show. So as time went on with no seizure, my confidence grew and I placed some weight on both feet but held my beer in my ever steadfast right hand. This was my mistake.
Moments later the room was upside down and my left side was no longer there, it was only a matter of time before it gave way all together. So as panic set in I surveyed my options.
- Return to my right side leaning strategy and hold on for the best- the outcome would be unpredictable
- Walk the 5 feet to the nearest chair- this distance may as well be 5 miles as my leg was a complete waste of tissue at that time
- Sit on the floor- the floor was sticky, it was the smelliest but least risky of the options
I boldly chose option 1.
I stood talking with my friend, mostly able to look at him instead of the room that was flying around. Then it started to happen I began to tip. I didn’t notice initially as my perception of movements wasn’t working. I only noticed what was happening when I looked down at my pint. I became transfixed by it. As I was falling the beer was creeping up to the lid of the glass. So I made what consider an admirable decision. I was going to save the pint.
I focussed all my energy on looking at the beer and held it level all the way to the floor, I hit the floor with some force but I was numb, thankfully. Then holding my pint in the air like a toppled He Man I defiantly saved every drop of my pint. I laughed as my genuinely concerned and confused friends looked at me an my bizarre demonstration of where my priorities lay. Job done.
In hindsight, option 3 every time.
So for me the fact that I am certain that these partials will follow me forever, I have tasked myself with blindly ploughing on and finding a way to make sure there is a way to just get on with it. I am happy and very lucky that I have this available to, most people aren’t.
Thanks for reading. Drop me a message bellow if you like, I’ll get back to you ASAP.