when uniform & rhythmic is wrong...

most of us are raised to believe in a natural order of things. we believe there is a rhythm and a back-beat that everything is pulsing in concordance to. phi, the divine number. the golden ratio. the divine proportion. mathematics teaches us that certain uniform standards repeat over and over again. we can witness this in nature. in religion. in the arts.

but what about when chaos is the norm?

i, along with approximately 3 million other americans, have epilepsy. a part of my brain kind of goes into spasm, and creates wave after wave of neurological connections. the problem is that the brain is meant to behave randomly. the sharp, jagged, messy lines of an EEG are the norm, as we are messy and complex beings. the sharp, rhythmic, syncopated spikes on an EEG are evidence of a disorder.


but when you tell people that you have epilepsy, the first thing they offer to do is to shove a checkbook in your mouth if you go into convulsions. um, folks? this is very VERY wrong. stay away from my mouth. i have a form of epilepsy that never has a single convulsion. so back off! and even if i did have convulsions, the well meaning folks who want to pry your mouth open and shove stuff in it under the misguided belief that they are keeping you from swallowing or biting off your tongue -- they tend to do more damage than good. by and large, your frenulum (how's that for a college word!) is the membrane that keeps your tongue from falling down the back of your throat. okay, technically when you are unconscious your tongue can fall to the back of your throat and block your airway. but i'll risk it.

if i ever do have a convulsive seizure, i have more faith in my frenulum than in your checkbook.

having epilepsy doesn't have much of an impact on me. i stay away from strobe lights, and thus will never see the Blue Man Group perform, and i can't go see the Big Apple Circus. i can't donate blood in most states, even though epilepsy is not a blood born disease. i need to have a note from my doctor that states i am safe to drive. and if i don't take my medicine i can see and hear things that aren't there, and everything starts to taste like sterno.

i have taken drugs for this condition for the past 13 years.

the meds make me groggy. make me gain weight. damage my skin. make me terribly likely to develop a sunburn. make me heat and cold intolerant, like a little lizard. they can mess with my sleep and my alertness and can make me feel a little muddle-headed. if i didn't have health insurance my epilepsy medications would be costing me $480 a month. for one prescription. that doesn't even have a street value. no inner-city kids are popping handfuls of neurontin for fun.

but i take them like clockwork.

i take them to keep my brain messy and complicated, like nature truly intended.

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