As some of you know, one of my daughters is epileptic. We have been treating her for it for several years, but the seizures just kept happening more often. She went from one every two months to several a day! Suspiciously, these often coincided with housework and schoolwork.
Last week she spent several days in the hospital for observation. She was all wired up with a camera pointed at her. The first day she was slow to have any seizures.
Wife: Apparently, sitting around drinking pop and watching TV agrees with her.
Me (to myself): Maybe you should tell her to clean up her room.
She eventually had a few and the doc was able to observe her and her brainwaves. He took Wife aside and said that Daughter was able to put herself into a trance state at will, or even without the conscious will. Not faking the seizures, exactly, but they were not “real,” either.
Me: So, how do we get her to stop when she’s had several years of pandering and coddling and all sorts of other kinds of positive reinforcement for the “seizure” behavior?
Wife: We ignore her and normalize her life as much as possible. The doctor told her she’d outgrow them soon.
Well, it’s been a couple days and she hasn’t had one. She even said, “The doctor was right—I AM outgrowing them!”
She still has the abnormal brainwaves that caused the epilepsy diagnosis in the first place (she had some real ones early on), so she’s staying on the medicine. But she seems to be “cured” of the most debilitating part of it, the daily seizures.
But we still can’t laugh at her. Out loud. In her presence.