kate bohdanowicz writer

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Living with epilepsy

I called an ambulance on Sunday. My boyfriend is epileptic and he’d had a fit. He was lying face down on the floor with blood coming out of his mouth. I didn’t know what to do so I called 999.

It was his third seizure as he’d had two in the night. However, I’d been there to hold onto him and ensure he didn’t do any damage. This time, he’d thrown himself out of bed and as I learnt later, the blood was coming from a bitten tongue.

The paramedic was brilliant, as were the three women who arrived a little later in an ambulance. They checked his heart and blood pressure and it was his decision whether or not to go to hospital. He didn’t want to and no-one blamed him.

It would mean sitting for hours in the waiting room. Anyone who knows anything about epilepsy knows the excruciating headache and tiredness you feel afterwards means you are only good for one thing – sleep. The paramedic told me one fit was equivalent to running a marathon. Staying at home in bed with the cat sticking loyally to your side and your partner on hand to keep an eye on you is preferable.

I’ve always known about his epilepsy. It was an after-effect of the meningitis he contracted when he was four. I’ve known him to have fits but he’s only recently moved in and this one was particularly bad. He had another one at 5pm. Once again he was on the floor with blood in his mouth. Once again, he’d run a marathon.

You might wonder why I’m writing this. Isn’t it exploitative? While I haven’t named him, anyone who knows me knows him. I asked him if he would mind if I blogged about it and he said no. In fact, he said the more people that know the better. He’s just downloaded an app that identifies him as an epileptic in case he has a fit in a public place. Young(ish) men on the floor are often mistaken for being drunk.

If he hadn’t spent Sunday in bed and I hadn’t spent the day whittling and worrying, I would have probably hassled him to help with the chores, unpack his books and moaned when he left the paper on the floor and had the TV on loud.

While I would not relive that day for the world, the one good thing that came out of it was that it made me realise I need to stop sweating the small stuff. Nor can I or should I take him for granted. Corny but true.


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Comments (2)

  1. Ross Dundas:
    Nov 20, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    This has been something i've struggled with since my late teens. What I will say is that having a supportive and understanding partner like your clearly being to him in this case is incredibly important.

    Your husband is lucky in a sense in that he knows what the cause of it is. There is a sense of closure in that. Some people like myself are idiopathic and they have no idea what the cause of it is. Their has also been recent evidence which suggests that some people are genetically more predisposed to epilepsy than others.

    If you can i'd appreciate it if you could help raise awareness of my campaign to raise funding for epilepsy scotland, my company's designated charity.


  2. Kate Bohdanowicz:
    Nov 20, 2013 at 01:21 PM

    Hi Ross

    Thanks for your comments. I hope that, as research moves on, you discover more information about your type of epilepsy.

    I wish you a lot of luck with your fundraising. I am happy to include your justgiving link but people need to copy and paste it into their browser or your site to come up.

    Best wishes


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