Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Wednesday 12 September 2012

9/11 part ii

Yesterday marked the anniversary of an event that changed the World.

It also marked the anniversary of an event that changed my world. Three years ago yesterday, the husband suffered a seizure, in fact, he suffered half a dozen of them, one after another, and he ended up in hospital.

Honestly, at the time, I wasn’t terribly frightened. I went into crisis mode, which meant being calm and dealing with what needed to be dealt with, making sure that the husband was OK, and the kids were sorted out, and generally getting on with things.

The first seizure happened in the night, and it wasn’t terribly dramatic. I was asleep, and, although it woke me, I wasn’t entirely aware of what was happening, so when the husband simply wanted to go back to sleep, I let him. The fits kept coming, and in the morning I finally persuaded the husband that he needed a visit to Accident and Emergency. Of course, by the time we got there, the seizures had abated, and there was nothing left to witness or treat. 

Quite a lot of people have a seizure at some point in their lives and, as always, the husband had been working too hard; we’d also ended the day with a celebratory meal and a bottle of wine, which had probably lowered his threshold for having a seizure. So after a consultation, we left casualty and hoped that was an end of it.

Four months, a series of episodes and a number of visits to the hospital later, the husband was diagnosed with epilepsy... And they were four extraordinary months that changed our lives. 

The worst case scenario could, of course, have been fatal, and, faced with that, the husband and I spent a lot of time talking. We talked about what we’d done and had, and how wonderful it had been. We talked about what we might have done differently, and about what we could still change, and we talked about what we’d like to do in the future if we had the chance. 

We didn’t spend those four months waiting and worrying. Confronted with mortality the way we were, I don’t think people do wait and worry.

Three years have passed, and things don’t change over night. It was important to normalise. It was important to work out which medication worked best for the husband, which took a couple of switches and then we had to optimise the dosage, and it took two years to get him back in his car. It was important to settle the kids, too, and the youngest has just left home.

Three years on, things are coming to a head, and the husband is getting impatient for the changes that we both know are on the cards. The work we’ve been doing since the epilepsy is finally beginning to pay off. We have plans for the future for work and for play, and just for us, and we’re about ready to implement those plans.

There’s still some way to go, but the second half of our adult lives is going to be different, and it’s going to be different because of the husband’s experience with epilepsy. In other circumstances, I’m sure we would simply have carried on as normal, and I’m sure we would have been perfectly happy, but I also know that it wouldn’t have been the same.

In the end, the epilepsy might just turn out to be the best thing that has ever happened to us. So watch this space, and wish us luck.


  1. I wish you and your equally lovely husband all the luck, hope, prayers, sacrifices to Mork & Gork, warm fuzzies, and best wishes I can muster.

  2. This brought a tear to my eye in a good way. What a beautiful, wonderful sentiment to have. Once again I am reminded not only of your strenghts as an author, but as a person too. I can only hope that the next phase of your lives brings you both as much joy as your works have brought me over the years.

  3. Just had a read through this and Part 1, well worth a look! Was about half way through high school when it happened, remembering being the talk for weeks about what we did when we saw it. it does hit home when you hear the stories around it, there is a piece of the WTC at the Imperial War museum in London which really threw me, it wasn't just from a conflict that happened well before I was born then.. As for Part 2, it's a credit to you both that you have persevered through it all! My brothers wife has had fits before and not long had her car license back, so full well know what it can do to someone and the strain it can put on couples and families, especially when the cause isn't known for a while.

  4. It's a strange thing that something bad can bring about such a profound change in attitude. When my first husband died very suddenly at 33, I gradually realised that I was still alive, and all the stupid worries we used to have faded. It was a difficult time, and I still had a terminally ill child to contend with, but I had two healthy children, my own health, my mind, my home and years to play with. I don't take anything for granted any more, so everything is just a little brighter and warmer. Enjoy the next stage together!

    1. Well if that isn't a hard shot of perspective I don't know what is!

    2. Sorry, didn't mean it to be hard! I'm just grateful to be here with my family and life...x

    3. Not at all... It's a good thing. If life can still be wonderful after what can only be described as tragedy then the rest of us really have very little to worry about, and a great deal to be thankful for.


  5. It's really ironic how often we as people strive for the comfortable and the pleasing. Without those experiences that are, at best, difficult or even terrifying we do not have the ability to really gauge what the pleasing and comfortable things are. The suffering in life helps us to define what we truly find pleasurable, comforting, or important. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted, that sort of thing. I've never had to face my own mortality, but those who do (as you've stated here) walk away with their real priorities in order. I guess this is what would be called a mixed blessing really. Without it, you would be in the same place you were before without the plans and hopes you have now. Definitely without the real appreciation for what and who you have in your life.

    I am glad to hear that Dan is doing better and that the medication is sorted out. I can't stand going to the doctor and to have to face regular visits and medication would drive me crazy. He seems like a strong person.