Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sister stories

     The woman checking me out said her sister also has epilepsy, but not the same type as me. It was a worse story, like everyone else's I've heard.
     On the bright side, her sister has healthy kids, like me, even though her seizures got worse when she was pregnant. Also on the bright side, her sister's meds almost always work, like Depakote did for me all those years.
     Unlike me, her sister only has seizures in her sleep, and I was glad to hear that, for her sake.
     I thought the woman was a lot younger than me until then, when I stopped to look a bit closer. The part about her sister having kids made me realize she wasn't as young as I first thought.
     I imagined her sister as having the same Asian features as her, minus a couple of years. I could see her coming to the mall with two or three black-haired children following her around.
     Her sister also has a warning, but not an aura, like mine. Instead, she has migraine headaches before seizing, another common thing with epilepsy.
      I'm lucky in that way, too. My sisters get migraine headaches, but not me. Once upon a time, all three of us took Depakote, but for different reasons, like a cool sisters' secret between us.
      I had already given the brief, "Don't worry, my seizures are mild," explanation, so the saleswoman wouldn't panic. There was nothing to worry about, as she was an old pro.
     Her sister's seizures were much scarier sounding than mine.
     The ambulance has to come every time, and her sister doesn't remember anything at all about how she got there.
     The worst part is coming next, so get ready...I wasn't prepared when it hit me, what she was really saying.
     Until that point, her sister's epilepsy didn't sound so bad, except the idea of going to bed at night and waking up in the back of an ambulance.
      The next question would tell me how much I really had in common with her sister. It's the one I must ask, every single time.
     "Does she have convulsions or tremors?"
     She made a motion toward her mouth and said, "She chips her teeth."
     It gets worse. She wasn't finished yet.
     "She has  veneers in the front of her mouth," she said, but it took a couple of seconds for me to realize what she meant, for the image of a young woman in the mall to be replaced by something else.
     Epilepsy had taken her baby sister's front teeth away while she was sleeping.
     I was ready to go home.