A friend of mine, who’s a high-school teacher by profession, recently excitedly told me that she was taking part in a seizure aid course. For those of you that don’t know, a seizure aid course is similar to CPR course. The course give a thorough set of instructions on what to do in case of someone having a seizure. It gives you an insight of the different types seizures a person can have and tells you exactly what to do and how to best aid the person having a seizure based on the type of seizure a person is having.
A few days after my friend told me she was taking the seizure aid course for work, my mother-in-law told me that my sisters-in-law took part in a babysitting program where they had to take a CPR course. This made me think long and hard about a lot of things when it comes all that needs to be done to teach more and more people how they can save lives. It’s not that knowing CPR isn’t important. I wouldn’t change this at all. But providing seizure aid courses should, I think, be mandatory to take for everyone. It’s something that shouldn’t just be taught if you’re working as a teacher or any other profession where it’s mandatory to learn CPR.
A couple of years ago, I read an article that told the story of how a single mother was saved by her son after she suffered a grand-mal seizure. When paramedics arrived and witnessed the woman’s condition post seizure, they said that if the boy, who was 5 at the time, hadn’t called 9-1-1 in time, his mother’s seizure would’ve been fatal. It was a scary situation for all, I’m sure. And now that I have a child of my own, I realize I have so much to teach him. It’s so much more than what a child would normally be taught, especially if the child has two healthy parents. My son only has one healthy parent. Therefore, certain factors need to be considered. But those factors are actually life lessons that could make it or break it when it comes down to life or death situations.
I want my son to not only know how to call 9-1-1. I want him to learn seizure aid at an early age. As an outsider looking in, you might think that it’s for my sake in case I’m home alone with him and he witnesses his mother having a seizure and it being an emergency life or death situation. It’s about him being out there in the real world and knowing how to help someone in desperate need, which may seem crazy to know if you don’t know the facts or the statistics about epilepsy or any other seizure related illness.
In reality, nothing about this is crazy. Statistics show that 1 in 26 people around the world are living with epilepsy. That’s more people living with any other disability and/or illness, cerebral palsy included. That means that you know at least one person in your circe who’s living with epilepsy, and you might not even know it. Many people keep their diagnosis private. Whenever I think of someone being private about their conditions, I immediately think of Cameron Boyce, a Disney actor who passed away in July 2019 after suffering a fatal seizure in his sleep. He was first diagnosed with epilepsy in 2015, and not even his closest friends knew of his diagnosis; they only found out after he’d died. Following his death, his family, friends, and co-stars, Adam Sandler included, are doing everything they can to educate others on everything that has to do with epilepsy, including seizure aid. I took a very small part in the Cameron Boyce Foundation when they included me in their #EpilepsyStrong social media campaign.
I would’ve loved to have kept my diagnosis private, especially considering the fact that I’m a very shy and private person by nature. My circumstances, however, didn’t allow that to happen. Instead of dwelling about it, I made something special (and important) about it. There’s never enough education on epilepsy and seizures. I feel it’s not taken as seriously as it should, just like mental health before the pandemic hit three years ago. The statistics should be proof of that. When I was pregnant with my son, I was invited to a family friend’s wedding. My husband and I didn’t attend the wedding because of my epilepsy diagnosis and the fact that I was 7 months pregnant at the time. I didn’t know whether or not going to the wedding would trigger my seizures, and I wasn’t going to take a risk to find out by going to the wedding. After the wedding, I found out that there were 4 other people who didn’t attend the wedding due to their epilepsy diagnosis. I saw some videos and pictures from the wedding that my family friend posted on social media, and I was thinking to myself that anyone would have a seizure and diagnosed with epilepsy if they didn’t already just by attending the wedding due to the flashing lights and the loud noise. But if society, not just those affected by epilepsy, were to be more educated on epilepsy, we wouldn’t be having such hazards in place In fact, these hazards would’ve been illegal.
Throughout a course of several years when I was really sick, there were so many times where I’d have seizures in front of others at parties and get togethers. Everyone just stood still and looked at me with pale eyes and faces that looked like they were whiter than snow because they just didn’t know what to do. They didn’t know how to help me. That’s why seizure education NEEDS to be taken seriously. It shouldn’t be that only those that are affected by epilepsy are educated. Epilepsy and seizures should be learned by everyone around the world. That’s why I now see me having epilepsy as an opportunity educate my son about everything and anything that has to do with seizure aid and epilepsy as a whole. Not only do I want him to learn seizure aid, but I want him to understand epilepsy as a whole. I want him to understand that life isn’t just black and white. I want him to understand that health, wellness and well-being are the three most important things to have in life. I want him to appreciate these most vital factors in life. But I also want him to understand that if you’re not healthy, like his mother was for years, you’re able to turn things around and still make something of yourself if you put the effort into it.