Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Korean Spas, Catholics, Epilepsy, Stigma, Seattle and Other Astonishing Things
So, I did a little work today for the non-profit that helps kids in foster care. I commented on a friend's article on a Catholic mother website and veered off topic and then regretted it. I think it was the Catholic part that set me off. I also went to the Korean spa for a scrub, and when I was finished I told a friend to remind me to do it more often. Honestly, it's like being reborn. Speaking of Korea, I just read an article about South Korea changing the name of epilepsy to cerebral electric disorder. "They" are doing this because of the stigma surrounding the word -- and the condition. In Korea, epilepsy has been considered the result of "evanescent spiritual forces and even demonic possession." I'm not sure what I think about changing the actual word and how much it might remove the stigma. I do remember, though, back in the day, when people would ask me what was wrong with Sophie, and I'd tell them she had a seizure disorder. It's not EPILEPSY, is it? they'd inevitably answer, and then I'd sigh and tell them yes. Back in the day, I'd also tell them the statistics and how epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in the world, that anyone can have a seizure at any time in the life-span. Blah, blah, blah. If the person asking me was utterly clueless, they might add, But can't they give her something for that? or the even more clueless She'll probably grow out of it, right? I'd politely answer the questions, make them feel better and then scream in my mind. As for the demonic possession part -- well -- there are certain types of seizures that perhaps warrant that description, especially if we didn't know any better. When Sophie had atonic drops, she could be standing up or even sitting on the edge of her bed, and in the blink of an eye -- or even half-blink -- her face would be planted on the floor. I don't think I could have pushed her any harder or quicker if I'd put my hand on the back of her head and slammed it there myself. The fact that it happened, sometimes, upwards of a hundred times a day warranted demonic as a descriptor.
Speaking of Catholics, there's the medieval case of Christina the Astonishing, a woman who lived from 1150 to 1224 and whose seizures were understood to be her willing submission to demonic torments to provide much needed respite for those in purgatory. The medical abstract I read about Christina stated that her case was unique in that she provides an ingenious link between the demonic and divine explanations of the disorder. Oy. Catholics! Neurology! (You can watch Nick Cave sing her life here)
Well, that was certainly an irritable rebirth, wasn't it?
I'm a bit wired up having been in terrible traffic all day. The dang Academy Awards are on Sunday, right up the street from where I live, so streets are closed and helicopters are circling and it's hard to not be a hater and feel it's all bullshit. On the plus side, I'm getting ready to fly to Seattle tomorrow to attend the Caregifted benefit. I'm excited because I've never been to the rainy city, and I think Heather McHugh's foundation is one of the most outstanding in the country and certainly deserving of donation. You can visit the site here. Heather told me that she'll be showing the Extreme Parenting Video Project at the benefit, so many of you will make the party virtually! If you haven't seen the video and would like to do so, go over to my right sidebar and click on my picture holding up that sign. I'll be leaving Los Angeles just as some rainstorm of the century hits it, and word is that Seattle will be sunny. What are the chances of that?
I might not be posting very much over the next few days, but I promise to get out of this irritable mood and rebirth myself.