On April 26, 2019, around 6:30 in the morning, I suffered my first seizure. It occurred while I was sleeping so fortunately, I do not remember it. This seizure caused me to fall out of my bunk at college which was about five feet off the ground. I fell directly on my head and continued to seize. I was bleeding out of my ear and mouth as I lay unconscious in my roommates’ arms till the ambulance arrived.
At the hospital, they dressed me in a hospital gown and ran many tests, many of which I do not remember. I do know that I had an MRI, and an EEG. I was put on an off-brand version of Keppra and told to rest. My mother got there around 11 that night. I honestly don’t remember much of what happened before she arrived. After all this trauma and the Keppra side-effects, I was tired and disoriented. I had had a terrible seizure, a concussion, a brain bleed (which explained the blood coming from my ear and mouth), as well as a fractured skull. I could not hear well out of my right ear due to dried blood from my brain bleed.
Over the next couple of days, I was visited by many friends, given many flowers, and told to get well. My brain was processing slower than usual which caused my speech to be slow and I found trouble finding words. I also spoke irregularly, meaning I had trouble forming words and often paused in odd places without meaning to.
I was in the hospital for four days before I was released. My mother and I stayed with one of my teachers for almost two nights.
On my first day out of the hospital, I went to take a nap and awoke to a small seizure. My arm was shaking uncontrollably, and I was unable to speak. Fortunately, I was able to sit up and hit the bed to alert my mom. This being the first seizure I was able to remember, I was a bit shaken. We returned to the hospital and waited in the emergency room. As my mom and I waited, I had a few focal seizures which are less severe and only inhibited my ability to speak. We were escorted to the hallway, because all the rooms were occupied, and I laid in a hospital bed waiting for help. The loud, busy hallway and bright lights above me agitated my concussed brain. A kind nurse came by a couple of times, but it took nearly three hours for a doctor to come see me. He ended up giving me steroids saying they would help my swelling brain and upped my Keppra dosage. After spending the entirety of my first day out of the hospital in the hospital, I was released again and we returned to my teacher’s house.
My mother stayed in my room that night just in case. After experiencing my first seizure and knowing that they can be much worse, I was not able to sleep. I lay awake and afraid, talking to my mother, listening to piano music, and praying. I was so exhausted yet unable to sleep. I tried to be calm but every time I came close to sleep I felt an odd, dizzying feeling in my head and, convinced it could be a tell for a seizure (which my doctors had encouraged me to try to find), would force myself awake again. My muscles tightened in fear and anxiety despite my best efforts to relax. Certain muscles twitched which reminded me of seizures and pushed me even further from sleep. At around three in the morning, I could resist sleep no more. My mom told me that I went stiff as a board as soon as I fell asleep.
My entire body shook uncontrollably once again as it had during my very first seizure. My mother woke me but that did not stop the seizing. Conscious, with my eyes rolled back, I shook in my mother’s arms unable to breathe. I made a terrible snorting sound as air attempted to get past my closed esophagus. My mom repeated the words, “You’re okay. You can breathe. You’re okay. You can breathe.” My lungs were burning before the seizure finally ceased, and I could breathe again.
Now I was shaking in fear. My teacher called 911 and I was strapped into a stretcher and taken back to the hospital. I could not sleep again because I knew I would have another seizure if I did, so my mother did her best to keep things upbeat as we waited. I never struggled so hard not to sleep before, and I never will again.
I awoke in a hospital room tired and dismayed. I was on a lot of medication, had an IV in, and now a heart monitor which had several cords stuck to my torso. For the next couple of days, I would lie in bed waiting for doctors to give me results and suggest solutions. I would also have more focal seizures. I would get tired so easily that after every endeavor to entertain myself, I needed to lay back and rest again. I was bored, stressed, tired, and annoyed.
After I was able to fly home, I found that I had a kind of social anxiety. Being in a group of people would scare me. They all knew of my accident, and they all wanted to know all about it. I, however, was reluctant to talk about it. I was also afraid that I would have another seizure in front of them. This was mostly illogical because the only severe seizures that I had experienced happened in my sleep. This lessened as I continued to progress.
Over time, I was able to do more activities. I began to read again, play the piano, and attempted to sing, though it would take time to be able to sing as I had before. Flashing lights and screens were an issue for a while, and I was very excited when I was able to watch movies again. It took more time than I wanted it to, but I was able to make a full recovery. I returned to school the next semester in full health, decreasing my medication gradually.
I sometimes convince myself that I don’t need God. I tell myself that my life is good, and I’ve got it under control. While, my head knows that these thoughts are evil, but my heart likes them. So, God gave me a seizure, and a concussion that caused a brain bleed, and a skull fracture to remind me of my need for Him. I relied heavily on God in the midst of the trauma. He was all that could bring the healing that I needed. I prayed and I did the best I could to rely on Him. It was all I could do. For the first time in my life, I could not physically or mentally control myself the way I could before. My body would shake uncontrollably, and I couldn’t stop it. My mouth tried to form words and it couldn’t, not very well. (John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.)
Independence and control were what I wanted. I wanted to regain the strength, independence, and control I had lost. This time, however, I was afraid. I was afraid of something that in some ways I should’ve feared before. I was afraid of my own weakness. I was constantly reminded of it. I was tired, and dizzy, I needed medication, and I had anxiety around people to name a few things. God was making it abundantly clear that I had not yet fully learned the lesson He intended to teach me, though I will likely struggle with it for the rest of my life.
I love my God, but I fail to live like it. I live independently and convince myself that I am fine without Him. My loving God chose to give me a wakeup call I hope never to forget. I experienced a series of traumatic events that gave me perspective into what I was dealing with and where I was weakest in my spiritual life. He reminded me that the independence I was so proud of was really causing me to stumble, and that the “control” I had of my life was false. I had strayed for too long. And needed His intervention in my life. (Psalm 73:26 My ﬂesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.)
“[God] will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). No matter what you experience, you can be comforted by these words. When life comes and hits you out of nowhere, you can have peace, and whatever He places before you can be overcome, but it is by His power, and His alone that we gain this peace and the ability to overcome. Let God teach you as you face your trials. Allow yourself to be reminded of how much you need Him and be grateful for the mercy and grace that He gives you.