29 February 2008

4.0 on the Richter scale with a 6.0 aftershock

Not 24 hours after the earthquake shook the UK (but not here - we slept through it), my brain decided to have its own cataclysm. As seizures go, it wasn't too bad. I've had worse. I think - but I'm not entirely sure - that I was in bed at the time. I just don't know as my memory of everything between 9.05pm on Wednesday evening and 6.00am on Thursday morning is wiped.

Regular readers will know I have epilepsy. I've always been upfront about it, my attitude being if you can't handle it that's your problem, not mine. Officially, I'm disabled, although I don't feel so. I lead a fairly normal life. The tag "disabled" becomes useful at times, as I'm entitled to certain benefits that help me manage my condition.

Today, however, I was twice made to feel uncomfortable about my seizures, for perhaps the first time ever. Yesterday, when I woke up feeling like I'd been flattened by a Scorpion Mark 3 tank then run over backwards by a JCB after being whacked on the head by a sledgehammer, it soon became clear I was not going to be able to work. So at 8am I rang my corporate client and explained that I wouldn't be able to do an interview planned for 9am. Then I crawled back to bed and slept for a good 6 hours.

Surfacing mid-afternoon, I chatted to my client and naturally she was curious about my epilepsy. It was only after I'd chatted quite freely about it and we'd moved on to rescheduling the interview that I learned that she was, in fact, on speakerphone and her director had heard everything.

I could have shrugged that off, except that on phoning the interviewee at 9am this morning, I was somewhat disturbed when he said:
- I hear you had an incident yesterday.
- I was taken unwell, I replied, and unable to work yesterday. Inside I was seething that my client had passed on personal information that was of no professional interest whatsoever, and in fact was not theirs to pass on. And there was something about the word "incident" and the accompanying tone that really upset me because I felt for the first time I was being judged for something beyond my control.

Epilepsy doesn't affect how I do my job, except maybe 2 days a year that I'm indisposed in the aftermath of a seizure. Plenty of wage slaves take far more sickies than I do for colds.

My day was not going to get better, though. At the bank later in the morning, my business banking manager had the temerity to ask me:
- how long have you suffered from that, then?
- I don't suffer from it, I replied through gritted teeth. (Only when you make patronising assumptions.)

I took revenge when he tried to flog me a pension I don't want, by telling him there was not much point in buying it when I might drop dead from SUDEP tomorrow.. the flush on his face was priceless.

1 comment:

Anne Brooke said...

So sorry to hear about this sort of response - so bloody irritating. Sending hugs.