When I woke up in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit the first time, I felt really weird. My mom and dad were next to me, and I kept asking them, “Where am I? What is this place?” I was 11 years old and had already been in the hospital for weeks.
It all started a week after recovering from the flu in 2017. That’s when I had my first seizure. When it happened, my parents called an ambulance. I had another seizure on the way to the ER and a third one when I arrived. They tested me for all kinds of viruses and other illnesses, but everything came back normal. No one could figure out why I was having them, but they wouldn’t stop, and medication wasn’t helping.
A few times the seizures actually stopped my breathing. Finally, the doctors decided they needed to sedate me and insert a breathing tube. For two weeks I was in and out of consciousness, sometimes waking up and trying to rip the tube out.
I don’t remember any of that—that’s just what my mom told me after. When I was stable enough for the tube to be removed, I was moved to a regular room where therapists had to teach my muscles how to talk and walk and eat again. When I was finally discharged, I had to finish my sixth-grade year at home.
That was two years ago, and I’ve been in and out of the hospital ever since. I usually don’t remember my seizures. I just feel tired and confused after them.