Have You Tried Just… Not Being Epileptic?

, , , , , | Healthy | June 23, 2019

(For my first job, I work at a tanning salon. I have had epilepsy my whole life. During the interview, I explain everything to the general manager and the procedures in case I have one at work. Well, the inevitable happens and I have a seizure when it is just me and one coworker, with a store full of customers. One of the customers calls 911 and I wake up surrounded by the fire department. Naturally, I have to take off for a few days to recover. This is the conversation between me and the general manager as soon as I return for my next shift.)

GM: “[My Name], I need to see you in my office.”

(We sit down and she hands me a piece of paper.)

GM: “You need to sign this incident report.”

(I look over it carefully and sign it at the bottom. She looks at me sort of sideways and then continues.)

GM: “Why didn’t you just not come into work that day?”

Me: “Well, it’s not like I woke up and knew it was going to happen. I only have about ten minutes to one hour of warning. And I did call you almost exactly an hour before and told you how I was feeling. You told me to stay.”

GM: “Yeah, I didn’t think it was actually going to happen.”

Me: “Um, okay? Then what do you want me to do about that?”

GM: “You need to get a hold of yourself. I can’t have you seizing out in front of everybody and scaring away my customers. Did you skip your medicine or something?”

(I start to choke up and begin to cry because I can’t believe she just said something so rude, as if I can just control my disability whenever I feel like it.)

Me: “No, I didn’t skip my medicine. These things happen like clockwork every single month regardless, and you were fully aware of that at my very first interview. If I could control it like you seem to think I can, I would never have another seizure again. I can’t believe you just said something like that to me.”

GM: “Oh, don’t be so sensitive. Dry your tears and go clock in.”

(I just looked at her before I walked out of her office. This created a permanent wedge between me and the general manager. Neither one of us ever spoke of it again, and I didn’t have another seizure at work for the rest of the time I worked there. I eventually quit on the spot one day because I couldn’t handle the way she talked down to me like I was some insubordinate. Who would really say something like that to someone?!)


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