Epilepsy Foundation

I accepted a position that involved a one-week intense taking course in order for me to teach a course in the fall. I didn't mention my Epilepsy be because I hadn't had a seizure in a year and I didn't want to be discriminated against. 

Fast forward to the INTENSE training week, full stress, and in which I got a TOTAL of 10 hours of sleep the whole week. Yep, not good when you have E, but I was speaking 3 hours  a night doing homework with the teacher after each training session, and then another 3-4 at the  hotel! While seizure meds and hippocampal sclerosis from TLE make concentration difficult at times under even under the best of conditions, sleep deprivation and stress make me zombie unable to process information and verbalize a coherent thought. 

On the last day my emails me to check in and let her know I've fallen behind she to illness. She's sympathetic, wishes me well and all, but I don't tell her I just had a massive TLE seizure right in the college square (it as held at a university), or that my numerous mini series are agreeing with my concentration. 

Then the program direction submits a plan to my boss saying that a medical concern and issues with spatial reasoning  caused me to fall behind. Spatial reason is important for this job and I never had a problem with before. But I now find myself by unable to process spatial concepts even though I know what problem' s asking for... I just can no longer do it.    I think this is either due to meds (lamictal and Topamax), or the damaged hippocampus. Or both. 

But I never told my boss. And to make matter worse I was a rushed hire! I was literally hired, signed my contract, my boss signed my contract and she sent I it to her boss for approval. While waiting for to official go, I was booked for training and travel arrangements were made. My boss then emails me Thursday that her boss STILL  hasn't signed my contract due to being out for personal reasons. 

I'm concerned... 

She'll get this paperwork from regionasl Monday and when I come in for reimbursement must I declare my E, or should I? It bit me in the butt at a previous job... And I'm going o have to explain  this spatial reasoning deficit somehow...

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Hi CField,

  Just like you I have TLE and I had the right hippocampus removed causing me to have short term memory problems but when I applied for a job in public school working in Special Education I put on my job application that I had epilepsy.  I have found it's better to be open and honest about epilepsy or any medical condition when applying for a job, that way the employer can't come back on a person and tell them you never said anything about it. For ex. just this past school yr. after working in public school for almost 28 yrs. the associate principal told me that she wanted a letter from my Dr. stating that I was able to perform my job.  I came right back at her and told her, "It's on my job application from almost 28 yrs. ago that I have epilepsy and the school hired me so if you don't like it there's the door and leave." She shut her mouth and didn't know what to say.  Always be open and tell your employer that you have epilepsy that way if they give you any trouble after you are hired you can take legal action against them for discrimination.  Also all employers must go by the ADA act (American Disability Act). meaning that they can't hold the epilepsy against you.  I wish you the best of luck and May God Bless You!

  Sue 

 

So...I'm late to the party, but employment is my thing.  Did you get your paperwork?  What did you do? 

I went to turn in my expenses and items no longer needed from training (and explain why I didn't finish training). My boss said her manager signed the contract and there would be a copy emailed to me. Then she said it sounded like I had a rough go and I told her I suffered mini seizures and a big one in the middle of campus. She acted very flippant about 1) having epilepsy and 2) the training giving me seizures and then asked if I think I can still teach the class this fall. Her main concern is me teaching the class, not my health. 

Ok, so do you think you can teach?  If so, awesome!

I asked about this because I'm a hiring manager and am very familiar with hiring laws.  You absolutely do NOT have to disclose your epilepsy.  If I interview someone and they tell me about an illness, I have to document the heck out of that conversation and send it to HR so that it's on file.  I completely disagree with Suzanne (no offense, S!) and never disclose. 

Hit submit before I was done...meant to add that I think this is field dependent and state dependent.  In my field (I work in IT), stuff like this just doesn't matter.  I would say about 20% of the people that work for me have some sort of medical condition just based on what I know and what accomodations we have to have.  I always say, "If you can code in Java, I don't care if you have a third arm growing out of your head.  HIRED!"

 

I used to teach and didn't disclose until it became an issue. At that point we went thru HE to make accommodations. I had an assistant, so if I felt an aura or mini-seizure coming, I could step out of the room. In this situation, the main class teacher is always with me. So, again, not concerned on that front. I'm more concerned on the grasping spatial concepts issue... which this class seriously needs. And because of where my scarring is, I have problems with that. 

Although it's not the same problem, I too have TLE.  I have right mesial temporal lobe sclerosis (scarring), and lord only knows what the drugs have done over (nearly) 40 years.  Plus, the doc tells me that there has been some damage to the brain ("hippocampal shrinkage"; I think she is making too big a deal of it; whatever).

I also notice that since I've taken Topamax (since 2000), my writing has been "off," and I either misspell words, omit words, or both.  I write for a living (lovely...), so I have to proofread twice as much now.  I, too, take Topamax and Lamictal, and also Phenobarbital (used to be Phenobarbital, Dilantin and Topamax.  Would still be on those three, were it not for balance issues from Dilantin).

Anyway, I remember from several months ago, from a different thread [in Adults?] when you were considering trying Lamictal (my memory is still "hanging in there").  Apparently you started lamictal. 

Is there any way you can check with your doctor/neurologist about testing your spatial reasoning abilities, especially since you never had that problem before, such as through Neuropsychological Testing?  Neuropsych testing (assuming that your insurance covers this) often tells you which portions of your brain can no longer do what they are supposed to.  (My NeuroPsych revealed that something was "up" with my parietal lobe, as well as my temporal lobe.  It doesn't affect my life, but I found that the testing was interesting.) 

The testing may not reveal "why" you are having trouble with spatial reasoning, but if it shows that you are not physically showing these signs (i.e., from damage through the brain), then it might be time for a drug change.  (What do I know?  I'm no doctor....)  Also, I don't know how long you've been taking Topamax, but, as we both know, that sucker is strong.

Good luck!  And congratulations on the teaching job!

Thanks for the suggestion, Betty Anne. I'll have to ask my Neuro about that. This is my third trip on the Topamax Rollercoaster. I was on it originally for migraines years ago, went off, got back on... went off... And thought that was it for me. Then not long after stopping it the third time, the auras returned. Of course I didn't know the burning smell, prickly sensations and intense itching were auras. I just thought I was going crazy because every time I mentioned them to a doctor I was blown off. I learned to shut my mouth lest they think I was in need of being institutionalized, and it got to a point where I worried the auras were imagined. Then one closed high-resolution MRI (after years of lower quality open ones) connected the dots. My space out spells and deja vu persisted from childhood (despite years of therapy), and that coupled with my auras had a name... finally. And to think, my own uncle has epilepsy and not one doctor put two and two together. 

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