The True Face Of Epilepsy


My husband and I just returned from a three hour stay in A&E because I had a seizure which rapidly descended into  Status Epilepticus. The story and the photographs that you are going to see will not be pretty, so please consider yourself warned.

I was making my famous ringstinger chilli, and I was just walking back in to the living room when I felt the familar “out of body” sensation before tumbling elbow first on to the living room carpet. D was upstairs at the time, but found me moments after my initial collapse. When the seizures continued rolling in he called an ambulance.

I don’t remember a lot about the paramedics because I was kind of in and out, but they were friendly, knew what to do when I seized and forgot to breathe (my sternum will be black and blue  tomorrow) and they put me on oxygen before wrapping me up like a caterpillar and placing me in the ambulance. D says that the ride was really bumpy, but I really was too out of it to notice because I was fading in and out.

Not long after being wheeled in to triage I began to seize again – which must have been upsetting to the lady that was brought in just after I was. I was found a room very quickly and my lovely paramedics had to leave me and go on to other jobs saving lives. May the Gods bless them and keep them for willfully performing this service to humankind in need.

I hope that this story and the accompanying photographs will prevent able-bodied people from saying that they wish they had “an excuse” not to work (yes I have actually been told that I’m lucky to have epilepsy because I don’t have to work – I wish I could still work). Tonight somebody with epilepsy has died somewhere – and I’m lucky that, this time, it wasn’t me.

Nobody in their right mind is ever going to think that I went to the hospital for a joyride in the ambulance after this either.

As soon as I was allocated a room I had electrode stickers put on my chest and my left ribcage and got hooked up to a machine that set off an alarm if my oxygen level dipped under 90 percent.

Yay, I can be Bride Of Frankenstein!

You can also see the beginnings of some very painful bruising on my sternum there. I don’t care about the pain; it saved my life. Probably.

A lovely staff nurse drew three vials of blood from me and then left me to rest. I remember that I was in quite a lucid stage by then, and that I was telling her that my Nan had been a staff nurse and that was why I’d become a carer before the epilepsy took hold – hoping to follow in her footsteps.

Eventually a Doctor arrived – just in time to witness a seizure. When I came out of it I refused to have a canula inserted in to my hand because they always atrophy on me and I won’t allow one under my skin unless it’s there to deliver sedative or anaesthetic in surgery. D had my medication with him; nobody was going to squirt stuff up a canula when I don’t think I needed it.

So he requested an arterial blood draw and mutilated me like this instead:

The bandage in the crook of my elbow was from the (very painless) blood draw that the staff nurse performed, so that’s okay.

The bandage on my wrist on the other arm is there because my wrists are tiny and the doctor couldn’t get an arterial draw from it. He dug around for quite a while and it really hurt!

He managed to get a draw from the arm with the elbow and wrist bandage though – complaining all the time that my wrists are like a child’s, and that he’d had to get an especially small needle in order to draw from me. I shall be keeping all dressings on tonight because they might prevent me from bruising as badly as I normally do, but I’m cutting this medical tag off my wrist!

I waited two hours to be told that my blood results showed that I’d been hyperventilating and that certain elements in my body were elevated – all proving that I had suffered a massive seizure. Well, no shit Sherlock – I didn’t just decide to spend the evening in hospital!

They wanted to keep me in for the night but I refused. If I can walk, talk and think, not even D is going to make me spend a night on a hospital ward. Unless I’m comatose or dead or worse then I am coming home, please and thank you.

Tonight my life was saved, by my husband, two paramedics and a range of medical staff. Some time in the future they may well have to save my life again.

I was lucky this time. I lived and being used as a pincushion didn’t send me falling into further seizures due to stress and pain. But what about next time?

Would a job shirker think I’m lucky now, after reading this? I do hope not.

Thank goodness for the NHS too – and special thanks to D for never leaving my side.

About Missus Tribble

Media volunteer for Epilepsy Action (UK) and advocate for both epilepsy and autism awareness. Seamstress, cross-stitcher, sci-fi lover, ukulele player and Chelmsford's own Pickling Pagan who wants to inherit a TARDIS when she grows up. In the process of writing an as yet unnamed book, with anecdotes and information about being epileptic and autistic - and seeing the funny side! Also an entertainment journalist for What Culture, where I write about Doctor Who.
This entry was posted in English Hospitals, Epilepsy, Epilepsy Action, Health, Illness, Injuries, Neurological, NHS, Seizures, Status Epilepticus. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The True Face Of Epilepsy

  1. littlesundog says:

    People say the most careless things sometimes. I am glad D was there for you and that the medical staff worked diligently to help you. I am sorry you are bruised and roughed up a bit, but I am happy you made it through. You have become such a dear (or is it deer?) friend to me. I will be sending positive vibes and saying a few prayers for your safety and protection!

  2. Maggie says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you…really sorry. You’re so strong and courageous. I will also be including you in my prayers.

  3. K. Marie says:

    I’m so glad you’re okay. My cousin has epilepsy and she had her first seizures when she was around 8 or 9 I think, I was too small to remember. She’s still suffering from them and, sadly, she has been told that she has the mind of a child (she basically doesn’t have a filter between her brain and her mouth. Lol). She’s almost in her 40’s and she has 3 children now. I know that it’s painful to go through and I can’t imagine anyone saying anything as heartless to someone who has epilepsy.

    I hope you heal quickly and maybe the bruises will show up in shapes so that you can look at them in the mirror and makes pictures out of them. ;-)

  4. Dear Missus Tribble, so sorry to hear this. I’m glad you are recovering, and really glad that you have such a loving husband to care for you. Some people panic, but he knows just what to do.

  5. seventhvoice says:

    Thinking of you and all that you go through…. hugs….

  6. Dear Missus Tribble,

    OOO, nasty! I hope you’re feeling better.

    Love Dotty xx

  7. willowdot21 says:

    You are so brave, Keep fighting!

  8. elaine4queen says:

    ugh! god! bloody doctor!

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