W4 Activity: I have epilepsy

Narratives can serve multiple roles in the healthcare field. The patient is able to describe how they feel and handle a particular illness. It can also show how the patient makes sense of and understands the implications of the illness. The patient is also able to adjust to their illness and potentially feel stronger when they’re able to speak out about what they are going through. Similarly, the provider is able to help the patient feel less isolated and understand where the patient is coming from and any issues outside of the medical field (social or economical for example) that may impact treatment. Overall, narratives can help the patient and the healthcare provider to be on the same page with one another.

The True Life episode I chose to watch was “I have epilepsy”. The episode followed two women McKenzie and Tabitha who are in their twenties and their daily struggle with their disease. In both cases the girls had their first seizure in their teens and it is idiopathic in nature. They both take a large amount of medications every day to try and control it, but both have complained of a decrease in larger episodes but smaller ones can sometimes be triggered every day. In the end McKenzie was able to see a new neurologist who prescribed a different medication and expressed optimism that her seizures would be able to get under control. This led her to being able to land her first job, a small step forward in getting her life back to normal. Tabatha was given an EEG monitor to try and localize the source of the seizures but the test was unsuccessful. Still, the doctors would change her medications which led to an improvement of her symptoms. This ultimately led to her exercising more and improving her nutrition, which the doctors felt would help even more. Like McKenzie, Tabatha was also able to get her first job as a result.

This was clearly a chaos type narrative. In both cases the condition is chronic, there is social suffering, and both girls felt like many of their friends and families didn’t understand what they were going through. They expressed frustration talking to their doctors, feeling like “I’m always a problem”. This is because the epilepsy has prevented them from steady employment, driving, and always relying on others to help with day to day activities. As McKenzie put it “I have medical debt because I have epilepsy that I cannot pay for because I can’t get a job because I have epilepsy.”

One thought on “W4 Activity: I have epilepsy

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDAOqKXOO24

    Epilepsy is a serious and deadly illness because of the seizures it causes and other factors. The video I chose was about a man named Joshua who battled epilepsy and died of SUDEP at the age of 26; what exactly is SUDEP is the unexpected death of someone that has epilepsy but was otherwise healthy. There are similarities between the individual from the true life episode and Joshua such as trying to control their epilepsy with large amounts of medicine but a key difference lies in how Joshua’s episodes didn’t really decrease. His condition did not really improve and could be seen as a direct contrast to how McKenzie and Tabitha and how their conditions improved greatly and even landed them a stable job. The factors that could have influenced Joshua’s experience can be the culture around him, his loving family that was always with him and helped him throughout his life and allowed for him to have enjoyment while battling this illness. It shows that each case is different, even though the illness might be the same, the way treatment affects them is different. Overall, when learning more about each case, the differences showed more than the similarities in how they were affected by the treatment, but the similar factor was the strive to continue to fight this illness.

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