Gerd Altmann

I successfully graduated high school and my grandmother passed away peacefully, knowing that. But I nearly followed her.

[read part 1]

The night of my ceremony I almost killed myself when my body tried to jump out of a car going about 60. My family had to snatch me back in.

That’s when I found out I have epilepsy.

My family took immediate action to find out what the problem was and how to fix it. The doctors did a CAT scan and couldn’t figure out what was going on. When the test results came back, it was declared that I have a seizure disorder. The next chapter in my life is the beginning of a journey that I never expected. My plans were to get a job and go to college. But things don’t always work out the way we want them to.

My first job was at KFC in Montgomery County. I was fired in my first week — for eating chicken. But I didn’t know I was doing it. My manger caught me while I was working. And my friends ragged on me. They couldn’t believe I had the audacity to eat his chicken right in front of him. And I continued to deny it. “If you’re gonna do it, don’t eat it in front of the manager genius!” they said.

This is when I realized how having epilepsy would affect my life.

When I have an episode, I blank out for 5 to 15 seconds. I might tense up or act a little strange. If you don’t know me, you won’t realize it.

When I have a seizure, it’s usually no more than a minute, but I have NO control over my action. You can probably tell what I’m about to do. But I don’t know. And I won’t remember.

To this day there’s probably stuff I’ve done that I don’t know about.

So at this point I’m 18 and have only two choices. Because I can’t even hold a job at KFC with this disorder. So the first option was to have someone take care of me, some type of government program. Or I could go back and live with my mother.

In my mind I’m thinking, “I’m not brainless and I know how to take care of myself.” So the government program options were not really a choice. Before this, I had plans to stay at my grandmother’s house and go to college. Instead, with my mother. She had just got another place and agreed to have me stay there so she could watch over me.

As you read this I need you to think about how any decision can drastically affect your life.

(to be continued)