Updated: Aug 31, 2022
By Quinton Wood
November often means turkey, pie, and piles of leaves. To a few, though, it means seizures. November is known as epilepsy awareness month to a few proud students at SOAR: those who are afflicted with epilepsy, and those around them. It can cause drastic effects on one’s life, and it is a pretty scary affliction.
A few students at SOAR are affected by Epilepsy. I have had epilepsy for several years. Epilepsy is a disorder of the brain, where signals through the brain misfire and cause a drastic variety of effects. I am given visual and olfactory hallucinations and a buzzing in the head, but remain conscious throughout the duration of the
seizure. Another SOAR student has seizures akin to those popularly dramatized, where consciousness is lost and the limbs jerk uncontrollably. Any seizure could be fatal, so it is important that all seizures be regulated.
Bryce Redmann (from class of 2014) has dealt with seizures throughout the SOAR program. “It was pretty hard not being able to do the things my friends were doing, like driving,” he claims. His seizures involved a blank stare, mumbling, a chewing motion, and the chewing fingers. Mrs. Franklin saw Redmann as he had a seizure once. She describes the ordeal, “He was working at the poppy festival. I remember he came up to me and started starting saying things like, ‘I’m done cleaning of the tables’ but then he started saying random things like, ‘I’m done taking out the trash’ and he just started listing things that didn’t correlate to the situation at all’ and I thought, ‘this is it.’ His father came over and grabbed his hands and started reassuring him.” Franklin continued, “I then realized that all these years he might have been having them without us noticing, then I remembered all the times that he was unresponsive in class or said nonsensical things when I called on him.” Franklin then told of Bryce’s Senior Awards. “The morning after he told us he had a seizure at the awards and I thought it would be that everyone in the building would know, and barely anyone did.”
Remann has been through a great deal of surgeries and operations in an attempt to fix his seizures, and chronicles these adventures in his monthly report “The Redmann Reporter.” Here, he explains the condition to educators, students, and anybody who picks up the paper. He has also been spreading the word about epilepsy through his recent N.Y. times interview, which he described as long. “They interviewed me for 11 hours” he claims.
What many epileptics would like others to know is what to do if they see their friend having a seizure. The Redmann Reporter describes (on page 1) the response in 2 steps. First, you should learn to recognize if someone is having a seizure. Redmann claims the main symptoms are: blank staring, chewing, fumbling, wandering, shaking, and confused speech. Next, you should explain to others what is happening, remove nearby obstacles, speak calmly, and track the time the seizure lasts. Redmann also notes that you shouldn’t hold the person’s hand. Another important factor is that you should not stick anything inside the mouth of someone having a seizure. It is a myth that someone will swallow their tongue and you will likely cause more harm by placing a wallet or spoon in the mouth of someone having a seizure.
Awareness is being spread throughout the entire month of November. You can show your support by occasionally wearing purple and by becoming aware just in case one of your friends has a seizure and by spreading the word to others.