Along with the stigma of having epilepsy, I think we all deal with the public's fear and lack of education surrounding seizures. Let's face it...seizures (especially grand mals) are very frightening. I remember how frightened I became every time one of my student's had a seizure. Once I knew how to help these kids I found it much less stressful. Now that I suffer from grand mals myself I pray that I never have to put someone in the position of having to witness them. I'd much rather be alone than to make someone nervous. I have tried to educate my friends, co-workers and family members, and have left the decision of whether they want to call an ambulance if I have a seizure up to them. This way they can make sure I'm ok without actually having to deal with taking care of me if they aren't comfortable.
Yes, the stigma of "E" is pretty strong, and I'd like to think we are making some changes. (There was a time when an epileptic child and his/her "fits" were well kept family secrets.) Now, with the American Disability Act, employers can't legally discriminate against us....but we all know the horror stories about the lame reasons many of us have been given in order to keep us off the streets and timeclocks. I could go on and on.... Hope this answers your question.
When Mamma ain't happy ain't noone happy!
The last time I went to an opthamologist, he dialated my eyes and was shining the colored lights into them (I'm sure you know what I mean). His nurse came in and her eyes got big and she said, "Doctor, she's an epileptic." The doctor jerked back so fast I'm surprised he didn't end up with whiplash. I think he was afraid he was going to induce a seizure, but I felt like a leper.
thanks piano, doctors should be more educated on how their reactions effect patients. unfortunatly it is only by being in our situations that anyone can really appreciate our problems. a trained group consellor from my center is a fine example of this. she had spent years in college learning how to help others, but when she witnessed a group member experiencing a complex partial seizure at one of the meetings she freaked out.
[This message has been edited by PatM (edited 07-12-2002).]