It was during a rare shopping trip to town a couple of months ago. I’d been on my feet all day, was exhausted and starting to feel a bit unwell. So I decided it was time to catch the bus home.
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Not far into my journey, I began to feel anxious and panicky. I knew exactly what was happening – but no-one else did. Apparently I got up from my seat and went to talk to the bus driver. But my speech was jumbled and I kept repeating the same thing over and over again. He told me I needed to get off the bus.
Luckily, another passenger was concerned enough to follow me, as I walked in the direction of the river! I can’t remember anything about it, but it seems I started heading straight towards the water. At that point, my follower stepped in and started talking to me. She said I looked as if I wasn’t there, but she didn’t know why. Somehow she managed to persuade me to step away from the edge.
It’s a good job I had moved away from the water, because the next thing my follower knew, I’d fallen to the ground, my body going rigid and then convulsing. She recognised I was having a seizure and thought she knew what to do - I needed to be stopped from ‘swallowing’ my tongue. She found a pencil in her bag and poked it between my teeth. I knew nothing of this of course, as I was unconscious. Luckily the seizure didn’t last long – but long enough for a crowd of people to come for a look.
That’s when I started to come around a little. I can vaguely remember hearing people asking what was going on, and did they need to call an ambulance. They were obviously scared about was happening to me. And then everything went black again, as I started to have another seizure.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up in Accident and Emergency at the Bristol Royal Infirmary. My good Samaritan – who I now know is called, Jean – at my side. I felt very battered and bruised. My lip and teeth were really sore – probably from having the pencil shoved in my mouth. But really, I didn’t need to be there, taking up a bed. I’d just needed someone to stay with me until my seizure was over and I recovered enough to get a taxi home to rest.