Yesterday my son had almost 30 seizures. Sixteen of them happened in his 6-hour school day, the rest were here at home, before and after school.
He’s already on some high doses of pretty heavy duty meds but I put another call into our neurologist. Unfortunately, his brand of epilepsy is pretty much described as “frequent, difficult to manage seizures that do not respond well to meds.” Pretty bleak, huh?
Epilepsy kills people. 50,000 Americans every year.
Yes, my son has an increased risk of SUDEP too, which means I have not slept through the night since he was diagnosed. That’s our life now. He’s had stitches twice from seizure falls, hurt his permanent teeth and had more bumps and bruises than I can count. He has a cut lip and chin right now. Yes, he wears a helmet.
So suffice it to say that it piques my interest when I hear the word “epilepsy” on TV. I pay attention, in hopes that it might be promising new research.
But today? Today it was Tim Tebow. Of course it’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of his special needs proms.
Short version is: Tebow is on some b-team for baseball, fan has a seizure and Tebow goes to comfort him. Reports say that when TT put his hands on the person and prayed, the seizure stopped. My own Philadelphia news teased the story as “Is Tim Tebow a miracle worker? Stay tuned for the story!”
The best I can tell, Tim Tebow did exactly what any other human being should do. You see another human being in distress, you comfort them. It should be human nature, it should not be news worthy.
Can we please stop trying to give sainthood to Tim Tebow? I mean, he did what I would do, what hopefully most of us would do, in this situation. Seizures are dangerous, seizures are scary. It is nice that he went to comfort the man. The praying part–not really a huge fan. Why would we assume that is what the person wants? What if they are not Christian? Ok, so TT is, but whose needs is he meeting in this crisis–his or the person having the seizure? Maybe TT feels better praying, are we right to assume that it makes everyone feel better? In TT’s defense, he didn’t necessarily ask for the media attention. However, he also “saved” a guy on a plane, so he knows that stories like this are likely to get media attention.
Because here’s the thing. Tim Tebow can come to my house every day for the next year and put his hands on my son and pray. Unfortunately, he will still have Lennox-Gastaut and dup15. TT cannot help my son. With the media sensationalizing and trivializing this as some TV miracle, you do a disservice to all people with epilepsy. It minimizes my son’s struggles, my son’s real challenges. It takes much more than a famous has-been athlete to fix what we need fixed. Or, it makes it seem as if he is so bad off, so severe, so not-helpable that only a miracle can help him. We’re just trying to survive day to day and help him grow and not get injured. We don’t need any more misunderstanding about people with epilepsy, thanks.
So what happened? We don’t know. The man presumably was not wearing EEG leads at the time, so we’ll likely never know. The seizure stopped, which is great for the fan having the seizure. We don’t have all the answers for seizures. If we did, epilepsy wouldn’t exist. It’s ok to not have answers to everything. Sure, I wish we had a cure, but I’m ok with not having one, especially if the alternative is waiting for the gods to shine down on us and decide if Kevin is worthy of not having seizures anymore.
At best, TT is just a normal human being, offering comfort to another human being who needed it. At worst, he’s a self-serving I-don’t-know-what, who thinks that his prayers can cure people, and knowing full well that the media will grab these events. This is not the first time something like this has happened. What if the man wanted privacy, rather than have his seizure all over the news? Surely there are athletic trainers and other personnel who can assist injured people, why did it have to be TT and news cameras?
The person who had the seizures, I can’t speak for him. He has a person on Twitter who claims to be his friend–I have no idea if that’s true or not, if they are friends. But this friend posted many pictures and videos of this incident. I have to wonder, did the person want all this attention over his seizures? Does this “friend” capture all his seizures in video and in pictures, or just the ones that involve celebrities? Does this friend tweet about all the seizures? Do you see why I have a problem with this? And then to go on TV about it? This is now no longer about the person who had the seizure….you used another person’s condition to promote yourselves!
If the news media really wanted to help, there would be more REAL human interest stories on what living with or parenting a child with a disability is really like.
That’s what we need, not made up miracles.