Epileptic Episodes

“What is it like to have a seizure?” I asked my friend Ken very pointed questions about some of his disabilities. He used to have grand mal seizures. These types of attacks are hazardous. They can cause a person to cry out, lose consciousness, fall to the ground, or have muscle jerks or spasms. I’ve had a few friends over the years who suffered from epilepsy, and every time I witnessed them go into an epileptic episode, it scared the tar out of me. The first time it happened to my friend Amy, I had never seen a person convulse as she did. I was in shock. Thank goodness another friend was there to help me learn what to do should it ever happen again. It did, but I prepared better for the next time.  

I’ve never had a seizure and have never fully comprehended what a person goes through when one occurs. Even though I saw what happened to a person’s body from the outside, I couldn’t begin to comprehend what folks deal with when the seizures occur.    

Ken had seizures for approximately fifteen years. It frustrated him because he couldn’t control when one attacked. He could not drive a car, and didn’t like excessive heat, and tried to keep his body relaxed at all times. I learned from another friend of mine, Gene, that seizures tended to strike when he got too hot, so I could understand why both of them stayed out of extreme heat conditions. Both men struggled with episodes throughout their lives, but Ken was the one who made me know the best. He said it was one of the terrifying experiences a person can endure. In many ways, it’s like being electrocuted. Your body goes through confusion, dizziness, convulsions, and you lose a sense of time. You are not in control when your body goes through an episode. Probably the best way to equate something that you could compare it to would be an earthquake. You can’t control those either. You can do some research to find out about what people go through with this disease. It’s not curable, but epilepsy isn’t a death sentence. Many people live with this disease and have long and healthy lives.  

Ken had this surgery when he was 21. February 6 of 2022 he will be seizure free for 30 years.

Why is this important? I researched and found sources online that might help you recognize when someone is either about to have a seizure or is having one and how to assist them through that episode best. Here is what I found. The Mayo Clinic and other online sources say:

“Seizure signs and symptoms may include Temporary confusion—often described as a “fuzzy” feeling. A staring spell. Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs.”

Common warning signs of seizures include:

  • Sensitivity to smells, sounds, or sights.
  • Anxiety.
  • Nausea.
  • Dizziness.
  • Visual changes, such as tunnel vision.

If you are experiencing anything like the above symptoms, you may need to see a physician. When I asked Gene while he was alive about the seizures, he often never saw it coming.  

I found the following information from the Mayo Clinic site.

When to see a doctor

Seek immediate medical help if any of the following occurs:

  • The seizure lasts more than five minutes.
  • Breathing or consciousness doesn’t return after the seizure stops.
  • A second seizure follows immediately.
  • You have a high fever.
  • You’re experiencing heat exhaustion.
  • You’re pregnant.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You’ve injured yourself during the seizure.”

I hope none of you ever deal with seizures, but you can do things to help the person dealing with an attack if you do. Here are a few of the suggestions I found online.  

  • Ease the person to the floor.
  • Turn the person gently onto one side. …
  • Clear the area around the person of anything hard or sharp. …
  • Please put something soft and flat, like a folded jacket, under his or her head.
  • Remove eyeglasses.

There are a lot of great sites that you can go to for more information. You can go to the CDC site, and you can also go to the MayoClinic website.

While these are just a couple of sources, I hope you can obtain any additional information you may need. If you fight epilepsy, please know that you are a fighter. It’s a challenging disease physically and emotionally. Others may not understand what you go through, but the battle you face is not alone. Many folks live and fight epilepsy daily. Obtaining knowledge is the first step any of us can do to help others combat this disease. My wish is that a cure happens soon. In the meantime, knowledge is power. I hope you have a great weekend, everyone.  

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