I can remember opening my eyes and being wheeled into a big space. This was the hospitals A&E. My seances were all distorted, i could hear but it felt like everyone was distant and muffled. i could barely see and i felt awful. i drifted in and out of consciousness, i didn’t even realise i was fitting.
I could feel needles being pushed into my veins and i felt like a couldn’t move… yet i was fitting. I can remember seeing mum come up to my head she then faded away as i felt a pressure of something being pushed into my hand and a cold rush up my arm.
I woke 3 days later in Intensive care. I had no idea where i was or what was happening. Gavin was sitting by the bed and i could hear mums voice. I tried to speak but i couldn’t my throat felt stiff and i tried to move my hand. This was also covered in tubes and wires. My eyes looked up and i saw drip blurry bags hanging and tubes coming from machines i then drifted. All these machines i now know to be the machines that they were keeping me alive and sedated with.
I woke up properly 2 days later. I saw dr’s nurses and mum. I was scared and the first thing i can remember saying was about work. I was so scared i was missing work as this was the start of the rest of my life. My career. Id worked 3 years for this… i was embarking on my first work palce and… what was going to happen , what would they say if i didnt turn up?
Mum put my mind at rest and slowly i was told what had happened. The reason i was in itu was because the seizures wouldn’t stop and i stopped breathing in the middle of a major seizure. The drugs i was being given also suppressed breathing and the only way to keep me breathing was to resuscitate and intubate (put me on a machine) until the body rested enough to breath alone.
I spent another 3 days on Intensive care. I was awake yet the drugs were so strong my memories are blurry and i remember very little of what happened. I was still having seizures yet they were not as violent. The drugs relaxed the muscles and the nerves to them meaning when i had a seizure it was happening in my brain and eyes and only the very small muscles would twitch. This was tryngt to help my body rest… my brain still had other ideas. The seizures had taken a toll on my body and I was still weak. The most scary moment was when i realised that i couldn’t see. Close up everything was blurry, it had been for the days i remember yet here i was laying in a hospital gown looking around and i could see nothing. It was all a blue white haze. My heart sank and i burst into tears. With physio i started to move my muscles again yet i didn’t have the strength to walk more than 5 steps .
I was transferred to a ward where i spent a week or so working on it and was then allowed home. I had enough medication to sink the Q.E 2 !
Prom was great. I had a long dress, a shawl and 2 men one on each arm a stretched limo and friends … i was a lucky girl. The night was great and i danced for an hour until the atmosphere changed…. I started to feel dizzy and hot and I went and stood outside the hall by the office door…. The disco was too much and i had nearly been captured by the beast again. My prom night ruined for me. I dozed on the big comfy chairs for an hour in my ball gown determined not to go home or to worry mum by calling her out. I woke and went back to the party. When the prom finished a group of us were due to go to an after party…. We climbed over the school gates as they were closed at the end of the school we wanted to leave and i struggled back to a friends house. Here we stayed up for a while (everyone else drinking, me not as i knew it wouldn’t end well) and had a laugh. I still felt i had a good eve. I went home at 1 am and didn’t wake up till11 the next morning.
6th form was difficult. My work was suffering as i was still having problems in class due to the absence seizures… if i concentrated at the board for too long i would have a grand mall as the flickering light was send me into oblivion!
I ended 6th form with my languages (english, french and the spanish id been doing at night school) and my sciences. I dropped history as i just couldn’t fill my brain with all the dates anymore. sad but resigned to the fact i would go back to night school and do it there. The second year i went to my first class. As i walked in the new drama teacher who was also head of year pulled me over. She said “now you don’t have any seizures in my class, I don’t have time for it” I was astonished. what was she on about… how ? what? i was stunned. I took a deep breath and said in no certain terms “if i could turn a switch mrs James, don’t you think i would choose not to have these at all?, She looked. I turned and walked out… i didn’t look back and never went back to school again. I felt discusted and betrayed but it may have been the best thing of my life to happen.
As soon as i left i started to panic. Tears streamed down my face as i walked home ( i wasn’t supoeesto be out on my own but i needed to breathe and i knew mum was at work) it was a long way and took 3 hours but by th time i got home mum was there and i had cleared my mind. I told her what happened and she freaked. She wanted to go to the school immediately but i stopped her and said i would work it out for myself.
That i did.
That eve i searched the web and ploughed the job sites. Id filled in so many forms i couldn’t remember what for.
but i felt relaxed that night as i went to bed. knowing i had a new life to start seemed quite calming. Despite not having a clue where that new life would take me, or when it would start.
The next morning i woke to the phone ringing. i reached out to the phone and a lady spoke “is that Joanne *******”
oh no i thought its the school with more issues! yes i said… reservedly. She continued to speak but i couldn’t tell you now what she said. at the end of the call she said she would call me back. I put the phone down and stood back in amazement. mum came in to see who it was…. Ive just got a job i said.
i sat down with mum and told her about the phone call……. i had just been enrolled onto a NHS apprenticeship in Physiotherapy. I would go to college 2 days a week while working at the local hospital. WOW i was happy.
I didn’t know much about physiotherapy so i googled it and found the basics… looks good i though plus i will probably get fit at the same time!
my first day was scary. i went to canterbury college and was enrolled. i filled out forms showed certificates and yes got questioned about my epilepsy which at the moment was behaving itself a little better… i’d not had a seizure in a month. i had a occupational health assessment and it was cleared as long as i didn’t work nights. this was fine as nights were not required at a cottage hospital.
I was into the job a whole year and id only had seizures while asleep. the medication was great. I applied for my driving licence and when it came through the post it was like my life had changed again. Freedom was on the horizon.