A couple of days ago I came home from the hospital. I had to spend some time there after having an epileptic seizure last Friday. The doctors wanted to investigate the cause of it, since they apparently suspected it may be a brain tumor.
Fortunately it wasn’t. I’ve had these seizures three times now and they aren’t much fun at all. For those of you who are wondering, it’s a bit different than seeing it on TV. Let me explain.
Imagine just sitting somewhere, doing something trivial. I was sitting outside with my family after dinner, playing with their cockatoo who was sitting in my lap. That’s the very last thing I remember before I woke up on the ground feeling totally disoriented and scared shitless, with no idea what had happened, incapable of comprehening what was going on around me or even inside my own head.
It’s quite fascinating to say the least. One second everything is exactly as usual and then, boom, you wake up on the ground, worried and more confused than you would ever think possible. Apparently what happened was that my eyes rolled up, I got very stiff for 5-10 seconds, my arms stretched out in front of me, and finally fell face first to the ground where I was shaking very rapidly for ten seemingly very long minutes.
Once you wake up, you’ll be somewhat retarded for a while. My 12 year old sister sat next to me and told me an ambulance was on its way. Since I had no idea what was going on—ironically I had been told what had happened but didn’t get it and still do not remember being told—I wondered if I was going to live or die. My father said he got increasingly worried when I started asking "where the fuck is the ambulance", and even more so when my pulse got so low he couldn’t feel it and my face turned pale and slightly blue.
When the ambulance finally arrived after 20 minutes, the guys helped me up but apparently my legs didn’t work so I had to be carried (or rather dragged, thank you, guys!) to the ambulance. Needles were shoved into my arm and I was repeatedly asked questions that were unusually hard to answer, like what day it was and when I was born. Other times I have been told I started mixing English and Swedish when speaking.
I’m better now but apparently the nerves in my neck are messed up, so the left side of my body is very weak—my left arm feels numb all the time. I’m also a bit tired and have occasional headaches and nosebleeds, but hopefully all this will get better in a week or two.
If you happen to be around when something like this happens, stay calm. If you can, make sure the person doesn’t fall badly and get hurt. Do not put something in the mouth or try to protect the tongue—you might just get your fingers bit off. If the person is diagnosed with epilepsy, you might want to hold off on calling an ambulance unless the seizure lasts longer than 5-10 minutes.
Once the seizure is over, talk calmly and explain to the person the she has had a seizure and (possibly) that an ambulance is on the way. As long as the person doesn’t fall very badly (which I did this time), it’s not dangerous but the person will be confused for a while and will probably not understand what you are saying until you have repeated it a few times over the next 15 minutes.
A very big thanks to my 12 year old sister who did a fantastic job at this. I am truly amazed and will never forget how such a young girl could remain so calm and supportive in a situation that would (and did) surely make most adults panic. Her ability to understand and handle people at her young age is truly inspiring and remarkable.
After a few days at the hospital I can now finally use my legs and my arm again, and it’s back to business as usual, I hope my arm will improve and that I will soon get some time over to create more blog posts and podcast episodes!