Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Personal Test

It is rare that I would share information about another person's health conditions in such a public setting but tonight I feel I must. My fiancee Chad has a condition known as epilepsy. This means he is prone to having seizures, which are caused by an overabundance of electrical activity in the brain. I have been dating Chad for a little under four years now, and have been fully cognizant of this diagnosis the entire time. Up until today, Chad had been seizure free for over two years.

However, today when I was sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch with Chad as well as our Computer Club advisor Jim Papp, Chad suddenly grabbed my hand. I looked up and asked what was wrong, but there was no response. I noticed his eyes were very unfocused and I just asked him: seizure? When he nodded, I was instantly scared stiff.

Thankfully instinct took over and I wrapped my arms around Chad, making sure to support his head and neck. For the first few moments, he was lucid, but very disoriented and shaking slightly. He was still talking to me and I did my best to reassure him. Then suddenly his eyes rolled back in his head and he went into a full seizure, which lasted just under a minute.

When it stopped he sat up, blinked a few times, and was able to indicate yes and no to simple questions. Within another thirty seconds or so, he was talking and fully coherent. </p>
<p>This is not the first time I have seen Chad have a seizure but it was by far the most frightening occurrence. For one thing, this is the first time it has happened in public since I have known him, and with him obviously going haywire I had to take control. Many of those who witnessed Chad's seizure were inclined to try to help in some way which made my job of monitoring him harder. Someone also called the nurse,despite Chad obviously being fine, and both him and myself asking that they not be notified.

So clearly all of a sudden I was responsible for ensuring Chad's safety, reassuring those around me, and monitoring the medical status of a loved one. For those of you who are wondering what the hell this has to do with Hapkido, allow me to elaborate. When a crisis occurs that provokes a stress response, we all know it releases adrenaline, which causes us to either prepare for fight or flight. Prior to my training in Hapkido, had this event occurred in this manner, I likely would have panicked. Instead, my vision stayed focused on Chad and I used the techniques Sensei and Master Eric have been teaching me in order to extend my awareness and ensure that no one around me further interfered or complicated the situation.

Did I break down? Of course! That is a natural response to the sudden drop in adrenaline level that one feels after a crisis had been averted. But I was able to guarantee that Chad was safe before I gave into that and when I spoke to Sensei he said I had behaved incredibly well.

I'm just relieved Chad's alright. I never wanted my strength tested this way.


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