Six months ago today I had a seizure behind my dining room table. I was online trying to register the kids for a rec center program, and the house was filled with the normal sounds—cartoons in the background, Zade playing and clicking toys together, and Layla asking her dad questions. Both my kids saw me have the grand mal seizure. All I remember is feeling gripped by what I assumed was a small anxiety attack, and then black.
I found out some details later. At first the kids thought I was done working and that I’d thrown myself on the floor so they could jump on me and start our play time. It was a few seconds later when Kal got up to see about the noise I was making, and this synced up, he tells me, to around the time the kids figured something was wrong. Layla ran upstairs in fear and peeked through the banister; Zade put his small hand on my forehead and tried to kiss me better; and Kal stuck his finger in my mouth to prevent me from, he feared, swallowing my tongue. I’d have jaw pain for two months and he’d have a large dent in his finger that we’d joke about later when sitting in waiting rooms and trying to bring levity in the face of test results.
I woke up in the ambulance and remember the technician telling me I had a seizure and that it’s okay. Kal was at my feet with Zade next to him. I found out later that my kind neighbor who was suffering from breast cancer watched the kids so Kal could figure out what to do. I don’t remember anything after that. And then I remember being in the hospital feeling as though my head had been rattled and that time had stopped. I was worried for my health, but mostly I was upset for haunting my family and my kids with that awful image of flailing arms and guttural sounds, of mommy looking like a monster.
I didn’t want to write about this incident after it happened since there were so many unknowns. I’m thankful that the really big stuff has been ruled out and that I’m moving forward. I’m most thankful for the family and friends who rallied to give me rides since I was advised not to drive for 6 months and my kind husband who never complained about being my personal courier service.
But the beauty of this post doesn’t have to do with the worried, anxious first few months or the limitations that came with health issues.
This morning I sat in my car with keys in my hand and drove to work the first time in 6 months. Kal took pictures of me getting the car like a proud parent and the kids yelped, “Today mommy can drive!” A few students who knew of my incident held a small party for me when I got to my classroom. My friends who drove me consistently to and from not only encouraged me but also made me feel that they’d miss my company on our rides together, something incredibly touching since our lives are crammed with so many responsibilities—another stop really didn’t need to be added to their list.
I always feel ridiculous referring to my situation sometimes because I know that everyone deals with something; sometimes it’s silent and invisible to others, and sometimes it’s the opposite.
One common denominator with any human is that we value our independence, our autonomy, and when something unpredictable changes our lives, we long to return to normalcy whatever that normalcy may be. I’m sure I’ll be complaining about traffic or running errands soon enough. It’s inevitable to take things for granted, but I welcome any of it because I know it just means that things are somewhat back on track.