Monday, March 26, 2018


      This is a topic I know about. I had juvenile epilepsy and now have senior epilepsy. Juvenile epilepsy disappears with the onset of puberty. Other epilepsy will stay with you for a life time. Senior epilepsy shows up in seniors and is completely under diagnosed.

      As a child I had epilepsy which hit me when I was about 8. I had grand mals which took place just after bedtime. I'm sure that my parents were terrified  as they probably knew nothing about epilepsy. The old country doctor knew exactly what my condition was and prescribed medication to control it. Once diagnosed, medication kept me relatively free of seizures. However , in the late 40's and early 50's there was much stigmitism regarding epilepsy. I would not tell anybody I had epilepsy and I don't think my parents went out of their way to tell people either. I also didn't understand what epilepsy was and as a child I thought I was going to die. I knew that there were health risks due to epilepsy. Epileptics were feared and shunned because of their seizures.

     Most years of my teaching career, I had kids with epilepsy that was not well controlled so there were seizures in class.

     Senior epilepsy is much more surprising because I'm at an age when I understand things much better.

     I went to emergency in 2008 because my wife thought I had a TIA. I had spent about 2 1/2 hours and did not remember anything that happened. A multitude of tests were given and there was no evidence of a TIA. A neat little term was given to my condition...trans global amnesia. The medical profession could describe what happened but they didn't know what was going on.

     Three years later I had another incident of global amnesia. This time the Neurologist said, "It's no use doing all the tests over again as they won't show anything." But, she said, "There's one test I haven't done yet."

     She ordered an EEG (Electroencephalogical)  with sleep deprivation. I had to stay up all night and go in at 9: 00 AM for the test. This test showed a section of the brain with faster than normal activity. It indicates epilepsy. So the neurologist cheerfully told me that I had senior epilepsy and that it could be controlled with medication.

   I happened to get a top notch neurologist who's bright, knowledgeable and with it. She's an awesome specialist.

     I didn't say anything, but I thought , I've had epilepsy and that's not what this is. As soon as I got home I went to the computer and googled senior epilepsy. The first thing I found was all kinds of information on senior epilepsy.

     There's much research being done on senior epilepsy. It's under diagnosed so many seniors live in a dozy state and their behavior is classed as senior moments.

     So here's my contribution to publicize epilepsy on International Epilepsy Day.  I hope that with more information epileptics receive better medical attention and supportive association from the community.