Thousand natural shocks

“You just passed out,” she stammered, a frown of concern creasing her brow.
“Yeah,” I replied, not really looking at her, or indeed anything in particular, and brushing dust and the odd twig from my jeans. “I’m epileptic; it happens.”

fMRI images
No, that’s not me, cool as it would be to have my brain published.

This is the elephant in the room, one that I’ve not done justice to in any of my posts. About one in a hundred people suffer from epilepsy, and about 30% of those don’t find adequate treatment, despite the large number of anti-epileptic drugs out there. I’m one of those unfortunate few, and to describe the effect epilepsy’s had on my life as “profound” would but sugar o’er the devil himself.

Disdaining fortune, with my brandished steel, I have literally tried every drug in the book that’s recommended for my type of epilepsy. I’m on five of them, not through careful design and consideration, but through a highly heuristic “take this and see what happens” approach. As a result, I’m even on a drug that’s not actually indicated for my type of epilepsy (except in rats), and I’m on the waiting list for a device that seemingly randomly stimulates an important nerve in the hope that I’ll have fewer seizures.

Having seizures isn’t the biggest problem though. I mean, I’ve spent rather too many nights in A&E because of them, and had rather too many stitches, but that’s not the end of the world. It’s the constant fog of five drugs jostling for space in my head, the lack of memory of what happened a few hours ago (let alone a few lectures ago), and my overall lack of knowledge of what my own brain will decide to do to me next.

I am a disabled person. Sometimes I’m thankful: I get to live on campus at uni, and I have a convenient excuse for getting out of a lot of unpleasant things. But I’d trade all of it, even my free bus pass, to be able.

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