This police officer’s patience with me is running out fast. At least, I’m pretty sure he’s talking to me. I don’t even know if he’s speaking English. Am I in America? Why am I surrounded by strangers?
Questions abound, but I don’t understand. I don’t understand anything right now – myself included. I want to run away, but I don’t want this cop to shoot me.
I feel drunk and high – but not in the fun way. I feel angry with myself. Would I be so stupid to take drugs and come to work? Maybe a decade ago I’d drink some shots while bartending, but now I work a boring office job on campus where alcohol is not welcome.
“Hey! Did you take your drugs?” the cop asks me.
Oh shit, I’m getting arrested. I start to get down on the ground. Before I’m prone, a familiar face pops in front of me – my boss. Cop starts talking to Boss. They tell me to stand. I hope they don’t handcuff me. My shoulder still hurts from the fall I took during a grand mal seizure two days ago.
Boss is speaking, but I can’t understand her. Oh no. Am I getting fired? I whimper, “I don’t want to go to jail.”
“You’re not going to jail,” Boss says slowly. “You had a seizure. Are you OK?” Two more badges rush up to me. Boss explains these new uniformed folks aren’t cops, but EMTs. “Do you want to go to the ER?”
My panic makes me feel like a coward. It’s hard remembering words and making sentences. I try explaining I don’t want to go to the ER because it’s expensive. The EMTs ask me what medications I’m on, but I can barely remember my own name, let alone 17 syllables of four prescription names that I’m sure I don’t pronounce correctly even when I’m normal.
Now, guilt overwhelms me because I should have gotten a new medical alert badge explaining this. I think I see a student looking at me and crying. Are people making fun of me?
“I just want to go to the bathroom!” I accidentally yell, which shocks everybody – me included.
I run. They cops are either surprisingly slow or they let me escape to save themselves from paperwork. I lock myself in the men’s room and just try to breathe. My male supervisor tries talking to me from outside, but I’m hyperventilating, crying, worried about jail and depressed about getting fired.
Epilepsy frustrates everything in my life, but I’m so grateful some people can understand and help me. Please remember that people with mental disorders might not look how you expect. I want to thank all police officers, firefighters and EMTs for their patience and help.
This incident actually happened. I didn’t get arrested, but I did go to the ER. Since the seizure happened at work, uni paid for the visit, unlike when the same thing happened when I worked for the Brickhouse Tavern in Chicago. That time, they told me that even though they called the ambulance, “Epilepsy is a pre-existing condition. We won’t pay for that.”