Absence Seizures

Posted on October 1, 2015



Life in the Boomer Lane has just finished The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin.  Unless you are, at this moment, being wheeled into open heart surgery, please stop anything you are doing and read this book.

The best books tell us less about the characters and stories they portray than they do about ourselves. AJ Fikry does that as well as any book can. But, because LBL is exceptionally fond of her own wit, she has chosen to bypass a review of the book in order to thank the author for providing her with a true disorder that she can incorporate into her own life.

The “absence seizure” is a form of petit mal seizure, usually associated with epilepsy.  It is most common in children. AJ Fikry, the protagonist of the book, suffers with such seizures into adulthood, usually brought on by emotional stress. They are annoying (and of concern to those watching him), but not life-threatening. Fikry’s seizures consist of his staring into space for about 90 seconds. LBL respects the concept, and, at some level of her still-adolescent brain, she is aware that she shouldn’t make light of the disorder. That said, she will proceed anyway.

LBL doesn’t have epilepsy, and she doesn’t suffer from seizures. But she does experience a form of absence seizure when confronted with certain situations in life:

Scrolling Through Facebook Updates

  1. daily posting of one’s baby/toddler/child with captions like “My love, my heart, my reason for being, my best friend, my twin soul” or a video bleating “Little Charlie laughing at the kitty!”
  2. postings revealing information better left in the therapist’s office, with invitations/pleas to everyone to provide feedback
  3. postings with a rant about anything

On the phone

1. listening to a toddler grandchild telling a convoluted story, when LBL cannot determine which grandchild she is listening to (in the case of two grandsons sharing the same abode) or whether the story involves toys, food, or the Republican run for the nomination

2. listening to a friend or business associate or client repeating all of the overly-detailed message LBL has already heard on the overly-detailed voice mail that such person has just left

3. tech support


Now Husband

  1. when he discusses traffic patterns, before he and LBL leave the house to drive somewhere
  2. when he gives an answer starting in about the year 1500 and more suitable for a doctoral dissertation, after LBL asks a question like “Who was that crazy guy who was in charge of Syria before?”
  3. when he asks, “Remember that tiny town in Florida we went to, near St Augustine?  That great restaurant on the corner of the main street, next to the florist shop? And the people we met from France who were eating there?” (Note to Readers: In LBL’s defense, although she cannot remember the town, the restaurant, or the French people, she only asks, “Did we enjoy the experience?” and when NH tells her “Very much,” it makes her happy.)

Other Situations Inducing Absence Seizures

  1. opening her underwear drawer and seeing no clean panties
  2. being stopped on the street or being yelled out a car window, by someone asking directions
  3. receiving any communication from the IRS or Social Security
  4. seeing anyone out of context (i.e.: a client/merchant/family member, randomly walking down the street, instead of where they belong)
  5. Pulling into a parking garage, going to her appointment, coming out and realizing she didn’t bring her purse with her
  6. Inadvertently seeing herself in a mirror or store window
  7. being asked what book she is currently reading
  8. trying on a swimsuit
  9. putting three pairs of socks in the dryer and retrieving three single socks when the load is finished
  10. opening her underwear drawer and seeing no clean panties or bras, but lots of clean, single socks