Epilepsy & College
People were correct when they said high school would fly by, but it's definitely more of a challenge for teens with Epilepsy when it comes to taking those next steps into college. I began my college journey last summer, and it's a terrifying and challenging decision for all, but especially scary for people with Epilepsy. After all my college trips, I would get in the car, and my parents would say, "Would you be okay with us being this far if you had a seizure?" This question was tricky because I wanted to be out of state but not far away from home. The other difficult question they would ask me was, "How far away do you want to be from us? Do you want to be a driving distance away?" This was also a super hard question because I cannot drive. If I ever wanted to go home, I would have to take a plane because that would probably be my only mode of transportation, so no distance would be a driving distance for me. This was super annoying because, of course, I didn't want to go too far away from my parents, but at the same time, I couldn't just hop in a car to see them. There are so many questions and complicated parts to choosing a college when you have Epilepsy. How are we supposed to choose?
On a positive note, let me help you! I've talked to many doctors and have found several tips for choosing a college with Epilepsy. The first criteria is to choose a hospital with a level 4 Epilepsy unit near the college. By selecting a school with a good Epilepsy unit nearby, you and your family will feel safer having you go a longer distance away from home. Also, the hospital will have all the necessary equipment if you ever have a seizure. Secondly, get another doctor. After choosing your school, contact your Epilepsy unit in the hospital and get a new doctor for your college journey. It seems scary, but getting a new doctor may provide many benefits for you in the long run. Personally, I am also getting a new doctor at the hospital connected to my children's hospital, so my old doctor is still very accessible. I may be doing this, but do whatever feels most comfortable for you! My family and I are also contacting the room and board committee to find me a roommate who would accept and be interested in living with a person with Epilepsy. This is a unique way to find a roommate, but I'm sure any roommate who wants to learn about someone else's Epilepsy is a great person! Lastly, my family and I bought me a seizure alert watch to wear at nighttime. I have started to wear it all the time at home for practice, and because of the watch, my mom feels comfortable sending me to college. The watch is called an "Embrace Watch," and I recommend getting it if you want to gain more independence and have Epilepsy. I was initially skeptical about the watch even working, but then I shook it to test it, and it called all of my contacts to tell them I was having a seizure, so it's safe to say it works. If you are worried about the watch not working because you move a lot in your sleep, do not worry! I move so much in my sleep, and it hasn't made a false alert yet, so if you have Epilepsy, buy it!
I hope my blog today has given you some good advice and peace in your college journey. Don't hesitate to contact MiloandMe if you have any more questions!