Friday, February 22, 2013

Communication With Children on Health Issues.

     So my previous post on communication with children was setting the stage for talking to children about their health conditions. Most of the time we do a good job of communicating with our children. Sometimes we could do better. When it comes to health issues it is crucial that we get it right.

     My story is this.   It happened a long time the late forties. The world was a different place. When I was seven or eight years old I began having "spells" as my mother called them. I was taken in to the old country doctor and he diagnosed my condition as epilepsy. I'm not sure if he explained to my mother what the condition was . I'm not sure if my mother understood what was going on. I certainly didn't understand and had many misconceptions that frightened me. I thought I had something that I would die from! My mother was warned to watch that I didn't swallow my tongue. I thought the condition I had related to my heart and even little kids knew that heart attacks kill people. I also sensed that there was a great stigma related to this condition. People had strange ideas about it and thought those who had epilepsy were somewhat deranged. This adds to a kid's anxiety.

    I was given medication. I was given responsibility for taking the medication. Often I didn't take the medication so had more seizures. 

    So my example illustrates what I have to say. It is extremely important that we explain to children what medical condition they have. Children understand much more than we give them credit for. Sometimes the child's anxiety and loneliness is worse than the condition itself. Yet, people still do not take the time to fully explain conditions to children.

    Fortunately I had what is known as juvenile epilepsy and when I hit puberty the epilepsy stopped. 

   Now three years ago I was diagnosed with seizures again! Of course, I thought the diagnosis was wrong because after all I had experience with seizures and these seizures were not remotely the same as what I had as a child. So I came home and immediately went on the Internet and found that my specialist was right. 

    It's now known that in many situations a seniors forgetfulness and confusion is caused by senior epilepsy.

   So maybe communication has to be carefully done with older people too or at least with this elderly person.

   I am doing well. I do not have any seizures. I take my medication but the medication has side effects. It bothers my balance.