Three weeks into my relationship with Kirsty, I first witnessed her having a bad seizure. I knew she was epileptic before we started dating, but to see it occur in front of me three weeks in was really something else. I sat on a cold, plastic chair outside of Resus for 3 painstaking hours, silently hoping she was going to come back out. There were no updates, there was no relaxation; she was unwell for 3 solid hours with no sign of recovering. To this day it’s still one of the worst seizures I’ve ever witnessed; and sadly I’ve witnessed a few.
This weekend we had some Halloween plans; seeing Doctor Strange on Friday night, playing Betrayal at the House on the Hill on Saturday. Neither Kirsty or Myself could have been more excited. On Friday morning, however, whilst driving into work, Kirsty and I had a big argument and, later that morning, whilst stressed and upset at work, Kirsty had a seizure. She would later ask me if I still got scared when she was in hospital, or whether it was just ‘the norm’ since I see her in hospital so frequently. I can tell you now, there is not much that is more frightening than a loved one being hospitalised. With epilepsy, each seizure could be fatal; that risk never goes away. Each and every hospital stay is still as frightening and distressing as the last. I still come home upset after each one, desperately hoping she’ll recover. Thankfully, Kirsty has always come back, but there’s always that real fear that she might not. To have my last words to her be some silly argument, which matters so very little in the grand tapestry of our lives together… I really have no words for that fear. This weekend may originally have been planned as a build up to today, to Halloween, when we jokingly scare and frighten ourselves for fun and excitement, but this years Halloween cut far too close to my heart.
I don’t normally write about epilepsy, though it’s a subject I touched on before in my Word High July post dedicated to Kirsty: Tinatangi. The reason I don’t talk about it isn’t because it doesn’t impact my life, but because it’s not really my issue to discuss; it’s Kirsty’s. She lives with it, it’s her life. Whilst seeing her in Hospital, bruised, weary, with blood and canula’s everywhere, is still at the top of my fears, I’m sure it pales in comparison to what she goes through and what she lives with. She’s brave, my Kirsty, she doesn’t let it get to her in everyday life. She always tries to push herself forward, she wont let epilepsy stand in her way. Those days when she wakes up in hospital, unaware of how long she’s been lying there and missing the memories that came before it… That must be true fear. I wanted to take today to remind us all that people are often going through fearful times, there’s often a lot going on that we just can’t see. Many illnesses and disabilities don’t present themselves physically, which can make them easy to forget or ignore, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still present an impact in someones life; that they don’t give them a real reason to fear. Another reason we should always be good and kind to those we meet, I say.
On reflection then, maybe Halloween helps us with that by giving us a day where fear is more ‘playful’ and ‘enjoyable’. It gives us a reason to tease out the pretend fears, and perhaps gives us more room to deal with the real fears better. If we can face ghosts and ghouls one day a year, it gives us more room to process the adult fears in every day life. After all, Kirsty’s favourite celebration is Halloween, and maybe that’s why she is so brave.