Helping someone having an Epileptic seizure

Something completely different than what you might expect to find here…

My partner is an epilepsy sufferer, and was very open about this early on in our relationship, while we were still really at the dating stage. Her epilepsy had been under control for a long while and she hadn’t had a seizure in over ten years.

A couple of years ago, the seizures started to happen again. Still relatively rare, with a long gap (of a few months) between them, and usually with a fairly clear initiator: in her case the seizures are triggered due to lack of rest, so they would happen if she’d just flown a ‘red-eye’ flight in economy class and got no rest, or if she’d had very broken sleep because of some other problem such as a bad cough, cold or flu.

A further complication is that every time an epilepsy sufferer has a seizure and crumples to the ground, there is a chance they will hurt themselves when they fall. In my partner’s case, she almost always falls to the same side, and it’s caused problems in her right arm and shoulder.

This has the ability to initiate a “vicious circle” – have a seizure, hurt your arm, have the pain from your arm affect your quality of sleep, to the extent that you have another seizure, and your arm which was slowly recovering is now even more painful. Lather, rinse, repeat…

So this was the position we found ourselves in. The seizures becoming more frequent. One problem exacerbating the other.

Nothing can prepare you for the first time you see someone you care about have an epileptic seizure. I’m a (lapsed) First Aider, and even though I’ve helped someone having a fit in the past, it’s different when it’s a person you know going through the process of a seizure. It really is quite a shock as the person you expect to find is “absent” during the seizure, but for their sake, you have to try and stay calm and keep a lookout for them until the fit has passed.

Here’s a few hints to help you help someone having a seizure:

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