In July 1993 an event would happen that would change the dynamics of my life forever. I would have not one but five epileptic seizures all at once. Not only did my body have to endure this but I also had to face having paralysis down my left hand side till I regained consciousness.
Ever since I was born I was never a girl to have a “lie in” I would always be awake sitting downstairs watching TV, reading books, writing stories and eating chocolate. I was notorious for eating a biscuit known in the UK as “The Jammie Dodger” a biscuit with a jam heart in the centre. I would eat two packets at a time and flush this down with a large glass of pepsi. As silly as it sounds I think it’s only now that I can eat jammie dodgers without having the fear of being unwell,
I never put weight on so as far as I was concerned I would eat a packet at a time and was perfectly fine. I would only do it when my mother wasn’t there as I knew fine well she would tell me off for eating too many.
On this warm Sunday morning I sat there in my pyjama’s watching a children’s TV channel when my nana came into the living room.
“Are you eating another packet? I’d be careful you’re gonna be sick. I don’t want you eating them to put you off your sunday dinner mind” my nana said.
My response whilst rolling my eyes was “No nana I’m ok I am feeling fine”. Then the inevitable happened. As predicted I was sick. Afterwards I lay on the sofa for a sleep to gain back any energy I had lost.
It was only when I woke up two days later that I realised that I was lying in a hospital bed, my family either side of me. I had two machines around me, my arm was bruised, my head was bruised and my tongue had been bitten. This was not normal. I knew this was definitely nothing I had experienced before and it scared me.
I woke up in tears and to say the following “Mam what on earth am I doing in hospital? Is dinner ready yet?” I’m starving. Nothing ever cured me like my nana’s mashed potato and yorkshire puddings.
In tears my mam said “No flower dinner isn’t ready, you’ve been asleep for a while but you are going to be ok” My dad then jumped in gave me a cuddle and said “You scared us all but the doctor said you are gonna be fine, we will explain more later”
Before long my gran stepped in ” Your grandad and I have bought you a mountain bike”
What? A mountain bike? How come? Everyone stood around me looking scared like they were walking on egg shells and I didn’t know why.
What the hell! Why was I given this preferential treatment? I’d only been sick for crying out loud.
Before I knew it questions were whizzing through my head. Explain what? Yeah I was sick, but how did I end up in hospital? What had actually happened to me? Is someone going to give me the explanation I deserve?
Shortly after I regained consciousness a doctor sat on the edge of the bed.
“Are you feeling ok now? You gave us all a fright but I assure you; you will be right as reign in no time. Do you know where you are? I need to tell you that you have had an epileptic seizure do you know what epilepsy is?”
“No doctor” I replied.
He continued by saying “It’s nothing to worry about it’s just when your body shuts down, you shake for a little and then you have to rest”
“We will chat soon, I will be round to check up on you later”. The checkup came but the discussion didn’t. It was up to my parents to explain this to me fully and to do it on their terms. Even to this day I don’t know how they explained it to me without crying.
My family never left my side. My mam was given a bed to sleep in for the eight days I was in hospital. I don’t think I have ever drunk as much blackcurrant juice! I made friends, undergone a vast amount of testing including an brain scan and an EEG. It became the norm having electrodes attached to your head monitoring your brainwaves. You look silly and you don’t know where to look. Your head’a all over the place.
As much as this has an element of humour, it was a daunting experience for all. It was only when I left hospital that the real journey began..