We moved house, I accepted a part-time teaching job, the girls turned into adolescents and Edward had his first epileptic fit. He was ten years old. We had been warned of this long ago, but when Edward’s second brain scan showed no abnormalities and his speech caught up with that of his peers, I assumed everything was fine, and completely forgot the latent epilepsy.
My shock at the sight of his face twitching violently and his eyes rolling back was equalled by the panic and shame I felt at not knowing what to do. I should have been prepared. Later Edward told me he’d had several of these fits previously, especially after chewing gum, so chewing-gum was immediately banned from the house.
After visits to the doctor and neurologist Edward was put on Epilim for the next few years. However, he only had one more seizure before he outgrew the condition completely and had no further need of medication.
My teaching job was not the success I had hoped for. I thought I had formed a strong bond with a class of Year Nine lower grade pupils. I felt they missed out on all the special opportunities and subconsciously believed themselves to be ‘non-achievers’, so I promised I would arrange an outing for them.
This done, I printed off worksheets, and talked the school principal into allowing me to use the school bus, plus commandeer the assistance of our lab technician for a day at the zoo.
The children were very excited, and came equipped with their lunches and plenty of cool drinks, it being a warm day. Little did I realise, their cold drink bottles had been partially emptied and topped up with vodka. Some of the children must have been drunk before we even arrived at the zoo, but I thought it was just high spirits.
The day became a complete nightmare when security called me because some of the boys had climbed over the fence into the bear pit. Eventually we did manage to get all the children rounded up and back into the bus without anyone being injured or eaten alive, but it was the last school outing they ever had, and the last for me, too.