|Vintage portrait of an Amazigh woman, immaculately dressed and adorned.|
the following is dedicated to my fellow Parents from the Land of Epilepsy
or other Disorders
and all those who love me and whom I love
So, I'm wondering what to do about the following headlines that came through my email box this afternoon:
Leading Causes for Epilepsy in African Children & Adults
Next Week Do Not Miss:
- Valproic acid lowers IQ in kids to age 6
- Valproic acid is linked to decrease in brain volume
Just so you know, I haven't clicked on the top headline although I have an idea that it's about a strange bacteria or even a kind of tapeworm. I know this because about eight years ago, I spent a whole night and several hours of the morning -- the darkest hours before dawn -- Googling seizures, weight loss, fleas, dogs and tapeworms and discovered that there's a tapeworm that makes its way to the brain and causes seizures. Even though this generally happens in Latin America and Africa, I thought at the time that I had discovered something new, that Sophie had been bitten by or swallowed a flea from our new dog at the time, and that said flea had laid eggs, a tapeworm had grown and made its way to her brain and was causing severe weight loss and even more seizures than she had before. I was so convinced of this that when the sun rose, I called our pediatrician and insisted that we do a fecal test to which he happily complied (bless his doctor heart). When it came back negative, I think I only sighed and thought onward.*
The second headline is about SUDEP, or Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy Patients, a sort of SIDS for the epileptic set. It's something to be terrified about and something that has finally, after eons, taken hold in this country as a topic to research and talk about. I've even heard it described as a hot topic in the same tone that some in the epilepsy community use when they lament the fact that autism gets far more publicity and dollars than epilepsy despite the fact that it affects far fewer people. I did not click on the SUDEP title, either, because I'm certain I already do all the things one can possibly do to prevent it outside of being born again and claiming Jesus as my savior. If someone has direct proof (through a double-blind study) that doing so prevents SUDEP, let me know because I'd be all over it.**
So, that's it for today. Next time you read the paper or the headlines and grow insanely confused about what to eat and what not to eat, what will make you fat and what will make you thin or what will give you cancer and what won't, add the above facts to your getting addled brain. Then mull on them for the next few decades, feed a dog and plan a trip to the dark continent, drink a Diet Coke and eat a slice of pizza with extra cheese. Adorn yourself with African jewelry, knit a blanket of sorrows and smoke a shitload of cigarettes while lying on your back on the plain.
*For any of you seizure parents out there who might run to your computers and Google seizure inducing tapeworms, here's the link to the headline that I posted above. Don't tell me what the article says.
**To read more about SUDEP and perhaps check your list of how to prevent it, go here. Again, don't tell me what it says.
***Check back next week.