www.whyville.net Mar 17, 2013 Weekly Issue

Senior Times Writer

No More Pauses: Epilepsy Walk

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It was definitely a strange experience putting on my medical uniform at 5am to go to the barren zoo. In fact, it felt like I'd entered a Jurassic Park scene with the pitch black, infinite trees, and ominous noises.

Walking around the dark park was a lot more exciting when your only way of seeing was through people shining cell phones or flashlights as you. When it came to setting up tables for booths, we would have someone follow us with a flashlight, and it proved itself to be a peculiar sight. All the volunteers who brought their children placed their kids in the center of the zoo, where they played the classic game of Catch The Light. The scene was so cute, I had half a mind to jump in along with them.

The booth we were designated to use for running First Aid was located near one of the entrances to an exhibit. We soon found out that the exhibit lay home to a huge, screeching peacock, who was having the time of his/her life staring at us and screaming. When it came to moving around the zoo, I used the screaming peacock as my North Star to finding my way back to the booth.

When the sun finally decided to show up, all the real action began. There was a barrage of people going to register for the walk as well as various staff and volunteers helping to prepare. I was assigned the duty of following the very last walkers and carrying a resuscitation mask, in the rare case of an emergency. It was when I was doing just that when I realized one disadvantage for having a walk at the zoo: distractions. If it was not ogling at wrestling bears, it was 50 pictures of random signs/posters. I can't say I've ever seen people so excited over direction signs in my life. So I tested to see if I'd feel the same by taking some pictures of them myself:

With all of this various picture-taking it would be a slight understatement to say that being the last people in line was a faraway hope. By the time we reached the finish line, various giveaways were being announced and the closing of the walk was soon approaching.

I was glad to hear that I did not miss the discussion on the t-shirts given out. Prior to the walk I was given a yellow shirt that had a front saying:

And the back pointed out who I was:

I didn't entirely understand what was meant by the "pause" stated until the head of the Epilepsy Foundation in my area told us. It was mean to recognize how people with epilepsy lose moments when they have these seizures, and the minutes they last can add up to quite a lot of time.

Another thing she pointed out was that the walkers in the race were either wearing a purple or white shirt. I assumed this was based on what color the walker wanted to wear, but I was definitely mistaken. All the walkers in purple were diagnosed with epilepsy and once I heard this, my mind brought back images of little children who liked like they were wearing dresses with those very purple shirts. The mere fact that these adorable little kids could have a seizure, some not knowing what's going on, is heartbreaking.

The whole walk went pretty smoothly, and our medical-related services were not necessary, which was a relief. The only incident we had was a lady who looked like she was going to pass out when doing the warm-up exercise for the walk, which was quickly taken care of.

I hope next year I will get the opportunity to do this again, and help raise the amount of donations for the Epilepsy Foundation. It's hard not to be proud for having such a caring, strong branch of this foundation in your state.


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