It was 1977 − the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and street parties were being held everywhere. One day I was at primary school and the teacher set us an assignment with some questions on the board to complete. He said there would be a prize for the first person to complete the test.
I finished my questions as fast as I could. But someone else got up a split second after me. I could see they had a clear path to the teacher and I had an empty table blocking my route. I decided that the only way I was going to get there first was to jump over the desk. I put both my hands firmly on the desk in front of me, clutching tight to my notebook. Then with one clean sweep I was planning to bring both my legs together up towards my chest and swing over the desk. All was going well until I realised I didn’t have enough strength in my arms to complete the move. I began to tilt back and back… and back. I saw the desk top, the blackboard and finally the ceiling strip lights. I smacked my head on the concrete floor. It felt like someone had gonged a bell and the whole room was shaking with jagged vibrations. I could see my teacher looking over at me as I lay on the floor paralysed and his lips were moving, but I couldn’t hear anything. Then my classmates were all peering down at me all with worried looks on their faces. I just gazed up as if it were a dream, it didn’t feel real. That’s when I blacked out.
When I awoke I was in an ambulance being rushed to the hospital. I had a large bump at the back of my head and it was painful if I touched it. The hospital staff started asking me questions like, “Do you know where you are?”, “Do you know your name?”, “What day is it?” I had to wait and think for a moment before I could reply to the doctor. They did the necessary checks, reassured me everything was fine and my family soon arrived and took me home.
It wasn’t until a year later that I’d started to wake up in the morning and blackout, especially on Mondays! After a seizure which lasted a few minutes, I’d wake up in bed after three hours, drained of energy with bruises on my body. This happened regularly, once a week. After seeing enough doctors, I was finally diagnosed as epileptic and admitted to the hospital to see a specialist for regular check-ups.
I am now recovering and probably have about one seizure a year. With the help of medication, personal development, regular exercise, diet change and meditation, I am keeping on track. What I’ve learnt along the way, is that you will always have obstacles or challenges in life.
My dad passed away on the 24 June last year from kidney failure. He was always a hard worker, doing all sorts of shifts as a London bus conductor. I never used to see him much as a child. But as you grow up you realise he was doing it to pay bills and put food on the table. He was always kind and generous towards others and always contributed to charitable causes. One of the last things he said to me in the hospital was, “Promise me you will always take care of Mum, no matter what.” I want to remember him and what he taught me over the years.
I’ve made it one of my goals since my Dad passed away to always help a charity every year with either my time, energy or money. When I heard the Pyjama Party advert on Spotify this year, I googled the event to find out more and came across The National Brain Appeal. I saw that the charity raises funds for The National Hospital and those with neurological conditions – including epilepsy – so I signed up straight away.
I’m currently taking a property course where I learn how to help people sell their property fast, and ethically. I get to meet up with a fantastic group of people each month. So I decided to raise funds by speaking openly and honestly to audiences at events, raising awareness for this cause, and ask for donations. So far I’ve raised £670 and have a goal of £1,000. It’s rare to have epilepsy and want to share it with the world and know it’s a personal choice for each individual. But it feels right for me.
*To donate to Hitesh’s Pyjama Party, click here.