Ten. This is Not a Celebration.

Ten years later…This is not a celebration. I still can’t help but wonder how things might have been different. This month, ten years ago I made that forgettable and yes still forgotten trip into you know where. Oh but if I could only remember what happened. The roller coaster began and I never even had to go to Carowinds for the wild ride. There is no anniversary celebration for this, nor a party, nor presents. I just know this date. There is a lot a can’t remember…but this…this I remember. Those blasted trash cans!

My husband is celebrating 20 years at Carolina CAT this month! Remarkable! WE ARE SO PROUD! He came home this week with his employee recognition award for his desk and a catalog selection of gifts from which to choose. I will admit, I was jealous, yes I was jealous. I started working at my job that same year. I thought I would work there forever. My heart was, and remains dedicated to the work that is being done at our church. Somehow it still seems surreal that I had to walk away.

Ten years, now what?

The good. I have been amused by the ramblings on Facebook this week during the ice storm as people have rushed to the store to prepare to be at home. I didn’t have to make the mad dash. Justin took me to the store last Friday and I have learned  how to grocery shop in bulk so that when I get a ride to the store I can get enough to stock up for more than a week. We didn’t have to fight any crowds for bread or milk! We were already prepared! I was also amused by everyone with cabin fever after one or two days of not being about to get out of the house. OK people, two days of not being able to leave your house independently is not the worst thing in the world. Oh my goodness, this was the funniest of all things to me. What made me the happiest was that not one single time did my children ask to go anywhere. They were fine being at home and finding things to do because they have become accustomed to it. They don’t need to go places and be entertained.

The bad. There is no cure for epilepsy so we are always the patient, never the survivor. Always being treated, always popping pills, reading up on the latest treatments, searching for something new. Just this week I read that the medicine I was being treated with for years, after going generic has been found to cause seizures. INTERESTING! Yep, that was the generic medicine I was taking when I started having seizures again a year and a half ago. Well if my insurance would have covered the brand name drug maybe I would not have been house bound for the last 16 months and would not have turned into a dope head on this new drug. This cycle is like that old ride at Carowinds, the one that spun you round and round until you were stuck to the walls and then the ground dropped out from beneath your feet. It leaves you not knowing how to stand again. Everything as you know it is confusing. The simplest of things on one day can leave you lost and confused, and the next day you can breeze through it without thought.

I don’t know why this path was chosen for our family. We try to educate along the way. I try to pick up the pieces when I can. Some days I can’t. This is a hard field to plow. Much of it I cannot control. The medicine I take screws with my brain in ways I do not understand and I don’t even realize. Frankly it drives my family crazy, and probably everyone who is in a checkout line behind me as well. After all these years it hasn’t gotten any easier to tell people that I have epilepsy. It hasn’t gotten any easier to explain. I worry for my children; that they will be the ones at home with me when I seize, and see me, then having to call their dad and tell them what has happened. I worry that they will come home from school and find me collapsed at the bottom of the steps. I worry that I will seize while walking the dogs and the dogs will get hit by cars. I worry that I will seize on a city bus surrounded by strangers. I worry that I will seize on a sidewalk again and wonder who might find me. I choose my walks carefully just in case. Johnny constantly reminds me that worry is a sin. I remind myself that I shouldn’t be stupid either. I have epilepsy and I have to be cautious. I’m also a mom and I want to be able to care for my kids the way I used to and giving that up has been one of the hardest things to surrender. Normal is overrated right? Please say yes.

Can I just ask you this? The next time you are somewhere and perhaps annoyed because someone seems confused and they are causing you to be slowed down, just take a few deep breaths. Grab a magazine and read some smut article to pass the time, reread your grocery list to be sure you got everything, smile and tell the person to take their time or relax and enjoy the extra few moments in your day. Trust me, you just gifted someone a priceless gift.

Ten years later. What now? I guess eleven….

Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, February 2015

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