Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Midnight Disease

     I know there is much more to be discovered about this thing called epilepsy because the rules have changed so many times over the years.
     The questions have changed, too. Neurologists ask behavioral questions now, lots of them.
     My favorite one is, "Do you have a bad temper?"
     Until a few years ago, I said no...
     But in the back of my mind (my broken hippocampus?), I could see a little girl running out to the apple orchard for private temper tantrums.
     She doesn't care about bee stings on her bare feet because she doesn't even feel the grass. She doesn't want anyone to see her stomp around and cry. She doesn't care about the teasing to come later for acting like a baby again; she has to get out before it comes out of her.
     I don't know what it looks like from the outside because I only feel it on the inside.
     I'm writing in the present tense because it still happens sometimes.
     Doors slam behind me, and I have no memory of how much force I used to close them. None. Zero. I don't remember anything after that first rush of freedom as I pass through.
     Sometimes, I don't even hear the door slam at all. Then I become  confused because I can't understand what happened or why the people on the other side are mad at me.
     I would rather have a seizure because it's easier to hide, unless I pass out. Most people don't notice, and they don't punish me...even if I break things, like cars.
     In both situations, I do things that I don't remember later.
     Please read the above sentence again in case you don't understand it's full impact. Let it sink in.
     Sometimes, there's a big mess to clean up. It's easy after a seizure, but not after slamming a door because I have all those mad people to apologize to without being quite sure what I did wrong.
     Dr. B said I have the syndrome, but remember, most scientists won't even write about it because there isn't proof. He said he could see it in my mannerisms and the way I dress.
     I took him seriously for many reasons, but mainly because he started practicing medicine when I was seven years old and has seen many, many broken seahorses in his time.
     He also said to find a different job where I could fit in better.
     I knew he was right, but it hurt to hear a medical doctor say the words out loud.
     That was four years ago, and I worked my last day as a public teacher the following month.