Dance of the Neurons

Trees under cloudy sky

For me, a seizure is a timeless event. I don’t mean timeless in the sense that it is classic, to be lasting over decades; I mean that the seizure itself has no sense of time for me. The feeling before, the pressure in my head, the pulsing and abating of my mischievous neurons as they decide what to do, that part I experience awake and frustrated. The afterwards, the laying on the floor, gasping for air, feeling my heart race, and wondering where I am, that part I experience too. But the seizure itself is black, lost time, nothing to me.

Jonah’s experience is the opposite: he is spared the terror of the aura, and the pain of the recovery, but for him, my epilepsy means his heart stopping as he hears the thud from another room of my legs giving way, it means turning me on my side, watching my face turn gray as oxygen is withheld from my body, praying that the seizure stops and that I live through another one. It means Sadie screaming and Sam shepherding her away, talking to her in low tones, comforting her with words that, at eight-years-old, he thinks are true: Mommy will be fine. Everything will be okay.

I am resting and recovering; my second part in the epilepsy play. I lay in bed, staring out the window with dull eyes, taking in the cement-colored sky above the dark pine trees. My head throbs as if it has been hit by Thor’s hammer and there is nothing I can do to stop this pain but wait. I turn away from the window and retreat into the cave of my comforter. Eventually, my brain will heal itself for the day and we can begin our little dance again. My seizure clock reset, I will live the next seven days in relative calm and then anxiety will kick in as I wait for my brain to betray me.

Flash Fiction by Sara Staggs

Sara Staggs lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, two children, and three chickens. She has been published in Change Seven Magazine, and her current work explores how one lives with epilepsy from different angles: the caretaker, the child, the parent, the one who has the condition. You can reach her on Instagram @sara.staggs and on Twitter at @SaraStaggs