Not long after I bought my flat, my Dad and the dog came round to help me do some bits and pieces of DIY. I asked my Dad to remove a door to a cupboard so I could have open shelves instead, make the room look bigger I thought. So, Dad is there, saw in hand, in order to cut said door down into smaller pieces, and I have a fit. I have no recollection of this at all. Imagine the scene. My Dad has a wood saw in one hand, a hardwood door balanced using the other hand, the dog is going crazy circling me and I’m having a fit on the sanded, hardwood floor. What would you do? Well approaching me with a saw in your hand while my protective Boxer is in guard mode is not the best idea, but you have to remember that Dad was winging it somewhat. Putting the saw down didn’t appease my dog. He flatly refused to let my Dad anywhere near me. This dog held my deepest fears and hopes. He guarded me with the same ferocity as he guarded my secrets. Once I’d finished seizing, my dog calmed down and allowed my dad to move me to the sofa. My dog was in protect mode, not attack mode. No need to go to hospital, I wasn’t badly hurt and I came round pretty quickly. Anyway, the paramedics have enough issues with me, not sure how they would have coped with Rusty!
It turned out Rusty had been very watchful of me that day. I don’t remember, but he had stuck close to me and was obviously extremely protective of me while I was unable to look after myself. Animals are far more tuned into their surroundings than we, as humans, are. Rusty knew something wasn’t right and he stuck close. Having said that, my cats? Not interested…
My Dad hates the thought of me using a stepladder. He worries incase I have a fit while I’m on them. I’ve not looked into the statistics, but I suspect I’ve got more chance of just falling off the ladder than I do of having a seizure on one, but he worries none-the-less. I’ve wasted a lot of my time being fearful. Afraid of the day I never saw, as it was put to me. I honestly don’t know how much of that fear can be attributed to my having epilepsy though and how much isn’t. People close to me worry about me being alone in case I have an episode. I don’t. People close to me worry about me hurting myself badly during an episode. I don’t. I am afraid of very little of the physical side of epilepsy, as I’ve said before I’m more scared of the affect each episode has on my emotional state. Yet, my emotional fears aren’t restricted to epilepsy. They’re much more wide-ranging than that….I guess I’ll get to that. I think my emotional state is heightened after an episode and actually probably for a few days before, but I don’t think that having epilepsy is the main reason why I sometimes struggle with my emotions. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think I would probably tend to the dark-side anyway, regardless of whether I suffer from epilepsy or not.
I’m going for another EEG next week. They don’t hurt, basically just have a bunch of electrodes glued to your head and answer a series of questions or perform basic functions while the electrodes measure the levels of activity going on in the brain. When I first would have these tests, I used to be terrified to answer the questions incorrectly. I was scared the readings would get all messed up and as a consequence I’d end up being declared mentally unfit and be sectioned. At the time I thought that it would mean I would end up an asylum of some description. Scared of the consequences of being forced to look like a sci-fi version of Medusa and being so nervous that I’d maybe close my eyes at the wrong time or blink at the wrong time and be forever labelled as “mental”. I know that isn’t the case now, but I still get very upset by them. It’s not the process of the EEG that makes me upset. I think it’s more what they represent. They usually signal the beginning of an intense battle in the war I wage with medication. The war is a continuous one, the battles are often long and protracted, violent and bloody. I can already feel the tension building in me because I know my brain will be scanned next week. It’s already becoming a battle to remain calm and outwardly normal. This type of fear is irrational apparently. I’m already getting the tight sensation in my chest when I think about it and I know that tears are never far behind.
I’ve been thinking about how my life might be if I didn’t suffer with epilepsy. I don’t drive because I’m hard to control with medication, so I can say that I would probably have a wee car and not have to put up with being reliant on public transport, peasant wagons or the goodwill of others. There’s a good chance I wouldn’t have to go for medical check-ups as often. I might have got my PADI certification. I’ve mentioned before that I have a love for sharks. For as long as I’ve been fascinated by them, I’ve wanted to enter their liquid world and see them up close. I’ll admit for the longest time, I believed that I wouldn’t be able to do this, as my epilepsy prevented me from deep-sea diving. Not so. I was able to do a cage dive with Great Whites in Shark Alley off the coast at Gansbaai, South Africa. I watched as a 4m Great White glided past me a mere metre away. I looked into those menacing black eyes and saw nothing but beauty. On the boat, I watched as lean, grey, majestic shark broke the surface of the water to lunge for fish. A dream come true, an experience I will never forget and most definitely one of those many moments I’ve experienced.
I’m still going to climb ladders, I’m still going to be fascinated by sharks, I’m still going to live life.