Tag Archives: epilepsy

Recommended Reading for Monday, December 6, 2010

Today is December 6th, which in Canada is the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre [link opens with sound, CBC]. I wrote about it last year. It’s been a very long year. There are things I said then that I might not say now, but I do wonder, always, about a memorial for our dead.

A Bookish Beemer: Seizures in the News

This also implies that if you do something “bad” then you must be “mad.” It implies that no good, normal person could or would ever do bad or terrible things—so if one could prove one was normal, then they could not possibly be guilty of any crime or wrongdoing. The wolf in sheep’s clothing, if you will, feeds and benefits off this idea.

This line of thinking is intellectually lazy, it is bigoted, and it has dire consequences for society.

K at Feminists with Sexual Dysfunction: Compare & Contrast

Today I’d like to present to you a different kind of feminist response to sexual dysfunction – a response from another woman who is intimately familiar with gender studies, feminism… and vaginismus.

As I noted in the New View book review post, I felt like some elements were missing from the essays – notably, it remains unclear to me whether any of the contributors to the original manifesto or the book actually know what it’s like to live with sexual dysfunction – to be torn between what you “Know” is the “right and proper” feminist response to sexual dysfunction vs. the daily grind of living with and responding to it, sometimes just managing

Little Lambs Eat Ivy: Abby…. normal?

We were talking about the average person’s emotional highs and lows. Think of a piece of string that’s not quite taut. There are a few dips and bumps, but it’s relatively straight. Now try mapping the emotions of a bipolar person, and you’ll see a broken rubber band. The lows are lower, the highs are higher, and it’s entirely possible that something might snap.

My hospitalization came as quite a surprise to many people in my life. “I had no idea things were that bad,” my therapist told me. I almost laughed. I had no idea either. I thought I was normal.

Geimurinn:Facades

The Zyfron system is working on a Facades project, a project about the facades multiple systems have to put up to be safe in this world. I think this is a really good project, and any multiple system who hasn’t heard of it should check it out and any singlet should read it to get an idea of what damage multiphobia does to us.

Dog’s Eye View: Blog Carnival Announcements!!!

I am honored to be your host for the Second Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, which will be happening in January. And as your host, it is my privilege to choose and announce the theme for this Second Assistance Dog Blog Carnival: Decisions

Recommended Reading for November 30, 2010

Jessica Pauline Ogilvie for the Los Angeles Times: Stuttering: Working to free the words

An estimated 3 million American adults have a stutter that didn’t resolve in childhood, according to the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation of America. As kids, many dealt with the giggles of classmates and confusion of teachers; as adults, they often deal with uncertain glances and the impatience of strangers. They’ve long sought comfort from each other, sharing their experiences at conferences and advocacy groups.

Eli Clare at eliclare.com/blog: Disability Pride (from a few months ago, but definitely worth a read!)

Disability Pride calls for celebration, hope, rebellion. We take shame, fear, and isolation, turn them around, and forge wholeness. Pride refuses to let the daily grind of ableism, discrimination, exclusion, violence, and patronizing define who we are. Pride knows our history, joyfully insists upon our present, and stretches into our future.

Wheelchair Dancer at cripwheels: disability is a feminist issue

By using disability as she does, she makes herself smaller, less objectionable to the man; she dismisses herself and undervalues herself. She does her best to dodge what might be a harsh remark
about her intellectual capacities. She does disability in the old way, a way in which the value of our diverse minds and bodies is not acknowledged. Her disability is a weakness that separates her from an actively feminist goal of being an equal partner in the conversation and the game.

Brittany-Ann at A Bookish Beemer: A Glimpse of an Employed Epileptic

I know. I’m saying it’s wrong. I’m saying that the hoops one has to jump through, if neurologically atypical as I am, just to ensure you’re not fired because of being neurologically atypical, is ridiculous. That I should first have to reveal my medical history (which is private) to my managers, then explain to them what epilepsy is, THEN explain how it affects me, to finally say that it might prevent me from coming into work someday in the future, maybe, is ridiculous.

WHEELIE cATHOLIC: Dear Illegal Parker

As I passed the half a dozen handicap spots, I noticed that your car didn’t even have a placard or plate. I wondered why even on Thanksgiving at a senior housing complex, someone would illegally park in an accessible spot. I suppose you didn’t think someone in a wheelchair might really need that spot.

If you’re on Delicious, feel free to tag entries ‘disfem’ or ‘disfeminists,’ or ‘for:feminists’ to bring them to our attention! Link recommendations can also be emailed to recreading at disabledfeminists dot com. Please note if you would like to be credited, and under what name/site.

Publicity and the Taser: When Stories Get Told (and When They Don’t)

Last night, a young Black man with epilepsy was admitted to a hospital in Louisiana after a suicide attempt. He declined to don a hospital gown and ‘attempted to leave his examination,’ at which point security stepped in. According to witnesses, security officers punched the young man in the lip and pulled out several of his dreadlocks before pulling out their Tasers and shocking him, causing him to have a seizure.

His family members state that although doctors present were aware of his seizure disorder, they indicated that it was ok for security to Tase him.

This is not an unusual story. In fact, Tasers and seizures have a long and sordid history:

“While we’re not able to comment on the details of this case, we are certainly concerned to hear that a person in apparent medical and emotional distress was subjected to the taser.” (Manchester, England, 2010)

The most recent report involves a Michigan man with epilepsy, who, when experiencing a seizure, apparently was unjustifiably tasered, clubbed, arrested, jailed and committed to a psychiatric facility for violent offenders — all based on non-threatening behaviors caused by a seizure. (Michigan, US, 2006, content note, describes police brutality)

A local family is questioning why a woman having a diabetic seizure would have to be tackled and shocked by police. (Portland, Oregon, US, 2007)

When the EMTs asked the cops to help them move Lassi from where he was lying on the floor, Lassi says, one of his “arms flailed during his diabetes-induced seizure, striking one of the LaGrange and Brookfield defendants. At no time did Mr. Lassi intentionally strike or offensively touch any of the LaGrange or Brookfield defendants.”

Lassi says LaGrange Park Officer Darren Pedota responded by Tasering him 11 times, for nearly a minute, as he lay helpless. (Chicago, Illinois, US, 2009)

A Texas man who called 911 to request medical assistance for a diabetic seizure earned a tasering from local cops for his trouble, the Waxahachie Daily Light reports. (Texas, US, 2007)

“Freddie was a law abiding resident of the United States of America. During his lifetime, he was never involved in any criminal activity. The records are there for everyone to see…He was the quintessential model son, grandson, nephew, grandnephew and cousin.” (Georgia, US, 2004, content note, describes police brutality)

The Taser is a ‘nonlethal’ electroshock weapon which has become highly controversial, for a lot of reasons, including the fact that people of colour are far more likely to be Tasered than white folks. The Taser is being adopted by more and more police departments, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Taser-related deaths are going up. The people most likely to be killed with a Taser in the United States are young Black men, and Tasers are especially heavily weaponised against people with disabilities, most particularly people with mental illness, seizure disorders, intellectual disabilities, and autism.

Fortunately for the patient in Louisiana, Taser use didn’t kill him. His family is, according to news reports, in the process of transferring him to another facility, where I sincerely hope that patients are not Tased.

What is remarkable about this case is not that it happened, but that I read about it. The only reason the media picked up the story of a young Black man being Tasered into an epileptic seizure is because of who he was: Derek Thomas is the nephew of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and according to the media, Justice Thomas is not happy with his nephew’s treatment.

I am very happy that Derek Thomas is being transferred to another facility, where he will hopefully get more appropriate care. I’m also pleased that he has supportive family members who are also influential and willing to fight for him.

Reading his story, though, makes me think of the scores of similar cases that I am not reading about. Justice and humane treatment should be available to all people, regardless of who they are, who their families are, and the colour of their skin. Tasing patients should never be deemed an appropriate treatment. This case angers me, and I am equally angered by the scores of similar cases taking place in hospitals across the United States right now that I will never know about because the media isn’t interested enough.

I would really like to see the mainstream media in the United States use this story as a starting point to explore the use of Tasers in hospitals, mental health facilities, and institutions, and to examine particularly closely the racial disparities in how, when, and where Tasers are used. This is an opportunity for some really terrific investigative journalism. Will anyone follow up on it?

Recommended Reading for October 23

Reminder! The next Disability Blog Carnival is coming up on the weekend. Get your posts in to Liz! Tell your friends!

In the blogs:

ADAPT in Atlantica, kicking ass and taking names [LONG] [US]

Their goals are, free people from being incarcerated in nursing homes, and kept in there against their will. They back the Money Follows the Person program, which means a person’s benefits are under their control rather than under the control of doctors, social workers, and assisted living facilities (who are a powerful medical-industrial complex much like the prison-industrial complex: powerful lobbyists with a lot of money at stake.) Right now ADAPT also supports the Community Choice Act, a bill which you can see and follow directly with OpenCongress.org.

I don’t think of you as Black, disabled:

I mean, seriously. That’s so naive and so painful. You are my friend. Come ON. I mean, I didn’t whiten up or lose the wheels. And it isn’t like other people don’t notice my differences, either…. They exist. We both know they exist. When we go out together you notice that I am treated differently from you; we both guess that race is the likely factor; it makes no sense to say that. What on earth are you saying? When we go out together and we’ve spent the past hour or so trying to deal with access questions — to your house, to the store, to the restaurant. What are you saying? And what the hell do you mean?

The best I can figure is that you are trying not to say something like, “In my eyes, your difference is not a barrier to our continued friendship.” Or perhaps it’s, “You don’t seem to have the usual pathologies of people with your condition, race, etc. We can continue to be friends.” Or perhaps it’s, “I’m big enough to handle whatever problems your difference brings.” But it could also be, “I don’t think in terms of these categories; it is a point of pride with me that I am not racist/ableist…” Hopefully, it is a miscommunication for, “We aren’t the same, and I like you just as you are.”

Small Victories:

I saw something in this past Sunday’s Kansas City Star that gave me a tiny bit of hope, both for our culture in general and the ongoing atrocity that is the Judge Rotenberg Center in particular: the Thayer Learning Center*, a boot-camp-style institution for “troubled teens,” which has accumulated a fairly long list of complaints of abuse and neglect of its inmates since its opening in 2002, has closed, and been sold to a Cheyenne Indian educator named Lakota John, who plans to open a new, very different kind of school on the old Thayer grounds.

The new school will be geared toward Native American young people of all tribes, with emphases on sustainable agriculture (using traditional, Native American farming methods), outdoor skills, and Native American culture, art and spirituality.

[Blog] Woman Arrested for Assault While Having a Seizure:

It should go without saying that paramedics have the right to do their job without being assaulted, and to call for help if they are assaulted. But it should also go without saying that having a seizure and struggling against (allegedly heavy-handed) care while in a state of confusion do not count as assault. And I find it difficult to imagine any circumstances under which it could possibly be okay for police to arrest someone currently in a state of medical emergency, and then not obtain medical care for her for nine hours.

Kourtney Wilson is a black woman, and it seems extremely unlikely that race had nothing to do with this case, and that a middle-class white woman would have endured the same treatment. Wilson indicates the same belief herself about racial and class bias, and her roommate Tiffini Williams suggests, “They come to the hood, see a girl on the floor, and they think she’s on drugs.” The idea sounds extremely plausible, and while it’s appalling that anyone would endure such treatment if their medical condition was the result of drug use, I don’t doubt that it’s a common occurrence.

All this week was Disability History Week in New York. I’m slowly generating a post on this (my thesis is in this area), but feel free to talk in the comments about your favourite thing that you think comes under the umbrella of “disability history”.

Lauredhel has a described-image up that’s Disability Week Fail at its finest.

Lastly, I’m using my big megaphone: Come help us generate a list of YA/Children’s lit with a character with a disability at my Dreamwidth account.