This audio is for parents who have teens living with epilepsy. Feel free to listen alone or with your spouse or teen. You may find it interesting to hear conversations that sound very familiar—probably because you've had similar ones yourself. After overhearing the familiar dialogue, you'll learn how teens hear these same conversations, as they offer tips on how they should have taken place.
In this first scenario, we meet Lucy, a 13-year old girl who has grand mal seizures. She wants to go to a concert that night. In fact, she's already getting ready…much to the surprise of her mother. Let's listen in...
FIRST SCENARIO (LUCY)
(SFX: LUCY GETTING READY)
MOM (Francie Glick): Lucy, are you planning to clean your room some time this year??
LUCY (Allison Parris): Yeah, I'll do it later.
MOM: Why is it always later?
LUCY: I have to get ready.
MOM: Ready for what??
LUCY: I'm going to a concert tonite.
MOM: A concert? On a school night?
LUCY: I won't be too late.
MOM: What's not too late??
LUCY: Maybe 11—or 12.
MOM: Twelve?? On a school night? I don't think so. And I don't remember you asking our permission to go to this concert.
LUCY: I thought I mentioned it last week.
MOM: Mentioned it?? Lucy—You're 13 years old. You don't just mention your plans—You ask permission from me and dad.
LUCY: I thought you trusted me.
MOM: We DO trust you, but remember the last time you tried to wake up on a school day after going out the night before?? What kind of a concert is this?? Loud music I suppose?
MOM: And strobe lights?
LUCY: Yeah. It's gonna be awesome.
MOM: Awesome. You know that being at a concert—where it gets hot—and you get overly stimulated and those lights start flashing—you're putting yourself at risk for a seizure.
LUCY: But I haven't had a seizure in months and I'm taking my meds and I feel fine.
MOM: You're going to be in a big crowd with strangers—and your friends—you think your friends are going to be watching out for you??
LUCY: Mackenzie will. I've already told her you would probably react this way.
MOM: Well that's good.
LUCY: So she's prepared if anything happens. I told her what to do.
MOM: OK. So how are you gonna get there??
LUCY: I think her mom or dad is going to take us.
MOM: I want to talk to her mom to make sure there's a parent taking you there and bringing you home.
LUCY: Checking up on me again?
MOM: That's right.
LUCY: That is NOT fair.
MOM: We love you. We want to make sure you'll be OK.
LUCY: When is this going to stop mom?
MOM: We'll never stop loving you Lucy.
FEMALE TEEN #1:
Wow, that was tough. If I were Lucy, I'd feel like I was suffocating. Here's how the conversation might have gone down…so at least Lucy would feel like mom is giving her some credit.
(SFX: TAPE REWINDING)
MOM: Lucy, what are you doing?
LUCY: Getting ready for the concert mom.
MOM: On a school night? I don't remember our discussing a concert.
LUCY: We talked about it last week at the dinner table…remember?
MOM: I don't. Maybe dad will. What time is it over?
LUCY: I think about 10—
MOM: You know what happens when you don't get a good night's sleep. I want you home by 10:30. With lights out by 11 honey.
MOM: Who are you going with?
LUCY: Mackenzie, her sister, some of her friends…I think even her mom plans to stay… she's driving us.
MOM: You know too many lights and special effects can bring on a seizure Lucy.
LUCY: I know, mom. But we'll be way up in the ‘nosebleed section', so it shouldn't be too bad.
MOM: And if anything does happen? Does Mackenzie know what to do?
LUCY: Yes mom. I've already told her. And her mom won't be too far away.
MOM: Good. .Is your homework done?
LUCY: Yup. Finished it all at school.
MOM: Well, it looks like you've got things under control. Let me know when they get here, OK? I want to thank Mackenzie's mom for doing concert duty.
(SFX: ROCK MUSIC UP & OUT)
Let's listen in on another conversation. This one takes place between mom and Jack, a 16-year old who's had complex-partial seizures since he was 10. Today is a big day for Jack. He has a soccer game that afternoon and a party that night. He's already had breakfast and he's taken his meds—or has he???
SECOND SCENARIO (JACK)
MOM: Jack, you have your cleats ready?? I washed your soccer uniform. It's downstairs. Want me to get it for you?
MOM: Did you have enough breakfast?
MOM: And you have a party tonight after the game. You gonna be OK??
MOM: One word Jack—that's my son.
MOM: By the way, did you take your meds this morning??
JACK: Yeah. Don't I always?
MOM: Yeah, you always do, but I didn't see you take them this morning. They seemed to uh—instantly disappear.
JACK: Well…I did.
MOM: Come here. Look me in the face—and now tell me you did. (PAUSE) Jack???
JACK: Why do I have to look you in the face? Mom, I am taller than you. It hurts my neck!
JACK: You think I'm lying?
MOM: I think there's a possibility you aren't being totally honest. I've seen you put the pill in your mouth—only to later find it under the couch while I'm cleaning.
JACK: You know I hate those meds.
MOM: I know you do, but..
JACK: They make me feel rotten.
MOM: What do you mean rotten??
JACK: I feel spaced and I don't have energy. I can't think straight sometimes. I feel like I'm half asleep.
MOM: Sweetie, you know what the alternative is. You promised your coach that you would take your meds—religiously—if he let you play on the team.
JACK: But I feel like I'm not playing my best when I take the meds..
MOM: Jack, you're 16 years old.
JACK: Yeah, and I wish I were 18. Then I could make my own decisions.
MOM: Well, young man, that's two years from now. And as long as you're in this house, you will listen to me and your dad.
JACK: Yeah, I've heard that before.
MOM: So, look me in the eye, and tell me, did you take your medication this morning?
MOM: Get over here.
JACK: I'm not taking it.
MOM: Would you like me to call your coach?
MOM: And then I'm calling your girlfriend
JACK: You're WHAT??
MOM: And telling her you can't take her to the party tonight.
JACK: You can't do this to me. I can't perform when I'm on those meds.
MOM: Perform?? What exactly do you mean by "perform" ?
(SFX: DOOR SLAM.)
MOM: Jack, get back here. Jack. Jack, don't do this… Please.
MALE TEEN #2
Man, that was heavy. Poor Jack. Dude, I feel for you. Mom, Jack is already a young man. Maybe you could have given him a little more space. What if the conversation had gone more like this…?
(SFX: REWIND AUDIOCASSETTE)
MOM: Jack, do you need any help getting ready for the game?
JACK: Everything's under control mom.
MOM: Did you take your meds?
JACK: Right after breakfast.
MOM: I didn't see you take them.
JACK: Well I did.
JACK: Mom, I already told you, I took them.
MOM: I'd like to believe you Jack, but I'm concerned. You know what happens when you don't take your meds.
JACK: I also know what happens when I DO take them!
MOM: Tell me.
JACK: I just don't like the way I feel mom—they make me sleepy. And I can't play my best.
MOM: Maybe we can talk to your coach. You know, he's always said that you have to take your meds—religiously—if you want to be on the team. Maybe if you tell him you're feeling tired, you won't have to spend as much time on the field.
JACK: Mom, that's not a good option. I'm on the team so that I can play.
MOM: Well, try your best then, even if you are a little drowsy. Or, if you get too tired, sit out for a little bit.
JACK: Mom, maybe we could talk to the doctor about changing my medication.
MOM: Are you ready to go through that again son?
JACK: Yes please.
MOM: OK. I'll call the doctor and make an appointment.
JACK: Thanks mom.
Mom…the truth is.. I didn't take my meds this morning, but I'll go do it right now.
MOM: Thanks sweetheart. Ill be at the game, rooting for you as always.
JACK: Mom, do you have to??
The last conversation you'll be overhearing is one between Michelle and her dad. Michelle, now almost 18, has had petit mal seizures since she was 12—and has recently gotten her driver's license. As she drives dad around town, they discuss her plans for college. And they are HER plans.
THIRD SCENARIO (MICHELLE)
(SFX: TRAFFIC NOISE)
MICHELLE: Dad, thanks for taking a drive with me. I know you don't always like to.
DAD: Watch that car on the right Michelle.
MICHELLE: I know, dad, I can see.
DAD: Eyes front girl.
MICHELLE: Dad, I took my meds this morning…haven't had a seizure in a year… I…
DAD: Don't get so close to that car!
MICHELLE: Dad, chill.
DAD: Concentrate baby.
MICHELLE: I have to ask you something. I haven't talked to mom about this yet, but you know, I'm applying to college already.
DAD: We're so proud of you baby.
MICHELLE: And I know you and mom are thinking of U of Penn and Penn State and some of the schools around here.
DAD: They were good enough for me.
MICHELLE: But, to tell you the truth, the program that I really want to study is at UCLA.
DAD: UCLA—in California??
MICHELLE: Well, yah, that's where UCLA is dad—California.
DAD: You're gonna leave us???…Oh, baby.
MICHELLE: I'm almost 18 years old. Can I apply to a school that I wanna go to??
(SFX: HORN BEEP)
DAD: But this is such a big move. I think we need a little more conversation ..that includes your mom.
MICHELLE: That's why I'm bringing it up now dad. Sometimes you can be more reasonable than mom about these kinda things.
DAD: But it's all the way across the country. And Shell, who's going to be there if anything happens?
MICHELLE: Nothing's gonna happen dad—anyway, don't you have a cousin on the west coast?
DAD: Yeah, but I haven't seen him in years and I don't know how dependable he is—or what he's doing—he certainly wouldn't take the place of me or your mother.
MICHELLE: Dad, calm down. Forget the cousin idea.
DAD: Me calm down?? You're the one driving. Focus please.
MICHELLE: I hate to bring this up, but I'm almost 18. If I want to apply to a school on the west coast I can.
DAD: Yes, but it's expensive. Are you planning to work and go to school at the same time??? How will you manage?
MICHELLE: I'll manage dad.
DAD: And what about finding a good doctor?
MICHELLE: Dad, they have doctors in California.
DAD: But not like Dr. Lucas.
MICHELLE: Would it make you feel any better if I asked Dr. Lucas for the name of a doctor in L A??—I can't believe this conversation—I haven't even applied yet dad.
DAD: Shell, pull over please so we can continue this conversation in a safer place. Maybe mom can join us.
MICHELLE: OK dad. I could use a little refreshment. And by the way dad, no one could ever take your place.
(SFX: REWIND AUDIO)
FEMALE TEEN #3:
I think Michelle handled that pretty well. I'm not sure I could have kept my focus driving. Dad, on the other hand… Hello dad? Time to let go. Your daughter is almost 18—Isn't that how old mom was when you proposed?? Maybe the conversation would have gone a little better if it had gone down like this…
MICHELLE: Dad, thanks for coming along. I know my driving makes you nervous.
DAD: What makes you say that…car's coming!
MICHELLE: I'm OK dad. I haven't had a seizure in almost a year. You know I wouldn't be driving if I had.
DAD: I know Shell. You've really taken control of your epilepsy and your medication.
MICHELLE: Thanks dad.
MICHELLE: Bad driver.
DAD: Honey, did you want to talk to me about something?
MICHELLE: Yeah dad. I know you and mom are thinking of me going to college close to home.
DAD: Hopefully U of Penn. My alma mater.
MICHELLE: I know—and I'm glad you enjoyed it, but actually, there's a program I really want to get into at UCLA.
DAD: UCLA? in California?
MICHELLE: Yes dad, California.
DAD: OK, well tell me about it.
MICHELLE: It's a program about how to use art as therapy. And I don't think there's a better place to study it.
DAD: It sounds fascinating. But honestly Shell, I do have some concerns about you being out in California. I'm sure you can guess what those are.
(SFX: BEEP BEEP)
DAD: Why don't we pull over and talk?
(SFX: RIGHT TURN SIGNAL)
DAD: On the other hand, the program might be really good for you.
MICHELLE: Do you think mom would freak out?
DAD: Well, she might, but we should explore it if it's what you really want to do.
MICHELLE: Can you help me talk to her? You know, she still treats me like I'm 12.
DAD: Why don't you let me talk to mom first…and prepare her a little. Then, I'll let her know that you want to talk to her too.
MICHELLE: That would be great.
DAD: I certainly wouldn't rule out UCLA, but we need to have a few more conversations. We're gonna need a little more reassurance. You know you're still our baby girl.
MICHELLE: Does that mean we can go for a milkshake?
DAD: Yeah. How ‘bout I drive?
(SFX: CAR DOOR SLAM)
FEMALE TEEN #3:
We've touched on some pretty tough subjects in these conversations—meds, self-management, dating, disclosure,
MALE TEEN #2:
… sports, sex, driving, going away to college, working,
FEMALE TEEN #1:
…and most of all, letting go.
FEMALE TEEN #3:
And while we know how difficult it all is, we know we'll all get through it—by actively listening and respecting one another.
MALE TEEN #2:
We are adults now—many of us still living with epilepsy—and we made it through the teen years. So remember, you are not alone. And neither are your teens.