In an earlier post, it was brought to your attention that this is epilepsy awareness month. You might be wondering, why so much fuss about it?
Worldwide, epilepsy affects over 65 million people. It is the fourth most common neurological condition which if left untreated may be fatal. The disorder affects people of all ages, but it is most common at the two ends of the age spectrum globally, mostly affecting young children and the elderly. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 80 percent of epileptics live in low- and middle-income countries (our country, Kenya being among these). The good news is that epilepsy can be controlled or eventually cured.
Sometimes when adulating gets hard for me and my friends, we just start wishing we could go back to our childhood days. Those days where the main goal was having fun. Developing epilepsy in my 20s has been an eye opener for me. Not everyone has it easy during childhood.
Experiencing seizures is very challenging regardless of how old one is but as a child it’s much more than being sick. It’s the feeling of being weird or different from other children. Most of the times people with epilepsy appear to have no handicap unless they are experiencing a seizure. So, as a child you feel that you are no different from other children around you which makes you even more devastated when they make fun of you or give bad remarks with regard to you getting seizures. It gets worse because the more emotional one gets the higher the likelihood of triggering a seizure.
Not many people enjoy medication. Children, especially will go to great lengths to avoid medication. A child with epilepsy cannot afford to refuse medication. It is the only way they can control the seizures. Skipping even a single dose can be very risky. Of course as a child you don’t fully understand the importance of the medicine. Most of the time you feel like you are being punished by your guardian when they force the medicine down your throat every single day, sometimes even twice or thrice a day.
We always expect children to be active; playing around, exploring their environment, shouting at the top of their voices. Some of these expectations may be too high for a child with epilepsy. Seizures drain a lot of energy and may sometimes cause injuries therefore causing fatigue and body aches. Most antiepileptic drugs cause drowsiness so it’s not uncommon to find a child with epilepsy dozing off every now and then.
Despite all these challenges, this child would love it so much if they were treated like normal children. At this age they don’t fully understand their limitations making it very easy for them to have terrible falls, get serious burns or even sink in water bodies. It’s your responsibility as a parent or guardian to take care of them, make them understand their limitations and shower them with lots of love. This will make them feel like not less of a child.
Cover Photo : https://www.merckmanuals.com
Post Credit : Ruguru Kimani