I don’t exactly know what it feels like to have a seizure. It’s something that I only feel the residual effects of. I was a sophomore in college the first time I had a seizure. I can remember my first seizure well, I was a sophomore in college, it was spring 2002. It was the middle of the night (as it always is when I have seizures), apparently I was moaning like a wounded animal (so my parents say, I wasn’t exactly aware of what was going on so we’ll just have to stick with what my parents have told me). I woke up my sister who is in the room next to me. She was heading out of her room as Dad was running out of his room into mine. I had fallen out of my bed and I was flopping around on the ground like a fish out of water.
This was all new territory for them. This had never happened before, in fact, I don’t think we had ever been told about what to do if I had a seizure. This being my first seizure, Dad held me down while mom in a panic checked my blood. I was low, somewhere in 40s (as would later become a pattern). Having never dealt with a seizure induced by a low blood sugar and being in a complete panic, my parents completely forgot about the glucagon shots that we had (and had never had to use in my 10 years of being a diabetic).
They tried with all their might to get juice into me (because being a responsible diabetic (read: sarcasm) there were no other “treat this low quick” supplies in the house.) They fought with me for quite some time as I was still writhering on the floor and Dad was holding me down and trying to get my clinched jaw open so that mom could get the juice into me.
I vaguely remember Dad putting me back into bed. Mom trying to force me to eat peanut butter crackers and before they left, them telling me that I needed to check my blood and me sticking my finger out to be pricked.
What I do clearly remember is the next morning. I woke up intent on going to school because I had to give a speech in my public speaking class. The problem was, I could barely speak because my jaw felt like it had been clamped together in vice grips all night long and that I had been fighting them to get my mouth open. Every muscle in my body ached and I had a headache that was a force that wasn’t to be reckoned with.
Mom explained to me what had happened (because I was clueless other than the pain I was feeling) as I ran around in a panic because not only did I have a speech to give, with a mouth that could barely move, I had to shower (which I had already done the night before in preparation for the speech in an attempt to prevent this type of panic). I had to shower because in the midst of my seizure I broke out into a severe cold sweat that had caused my head to be soaked and the next morning there was just no making it look better without a shower.
To add to my panic, Mom didn’t want me going to school. The prior night had been a near death experience and I needed to stay home and recuperate (and go to the doctor for that matter). Why I decided to fight her on staying home is beyond me (what college student wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to stay home?) I went to school and gave my speech and it turned out to be fairly pathetic, I would’ve done better off staying at home, but that’s besides the point.
How we found out that I had a seizure I don’t know, and how my parents found out that I needed a glucagon shot I don’t know that either. I’ll attribute it all to a phone call to the doctor that I clearly don’t remember. Whatever it was that told my parents how to respond to my to my sick animal moaning flopping on the ground like a fish out of water incidents. It was going to help in the years to come.