By Wayne Chan
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Has anyone ever written a humor column about having seizures during Covid? Looks like I’m about to try.
On top of the shared experience all of us have had during the pandemic, I had to deal with a personal health scare of my own. During one of the worst waves of Covid-19, I suffered a few seizures. Thankfully, it had nothing to do with Covid.
I’m doing fine now, on medication for the seizures, and, at the time, I decided to just get back in shape since we were all pretty much quarantined anyways.
Before I go any further, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the person who suffered the most during my scare wasn’t me, but my wife Maya. She was the one who had to witness what I went through, and she was the one who had to make snap judgements on my behalf. Seizures can be very serious, and perhaps the only benefit of having one was that I really wasn’t present to experience it.
After a few weeks to recover, and feeling like things were back to normal, I had a telephone appointment with my neurologist. Maya insists on being in on these calls because, well, that’s just the nature of our relationship.
After discussing how the medication is working (which was all good), we finished up with the one question I had. Below is a summary of that discussion with the doctor.
Me: Doctor, I’m a pretty regular tennis player and I haven’t played since this thing happened. Do you think I can start playing again?
Doctor: Yes! I don’t have any problem with you playing tennis again.
Maya: (In a very stern voice) Doctor, you don’t understand. The way he plays tennis is ridiculous. He absolutely hates to lose and he’ll kill himself out there.
Me: Doctor, I think she’s editorializing a little here…
Doctor: (Sounds of laughter)
Maya: He’s just crazy out there. He really hates to lose and he’ll do anything when he’s out there. Are you sure he should be playing? He thinks he’s Rambo!!
To be honest, she didn’t actually mention Rambo in this conversation, but it just felt like she did. But I WAS thinking, “Well, who likes to lose?”
Let me finish by saying this: I love my wife. She is my hero. My only concern is that she won’t let me be a part of our next telephone appointment with my doctor.
So, I got the green light from the doctor to play tennis again. And most importantly, I got the green light from Maya as well.
As things get back to normal, I gradually notice that my friends are asking me how I’m doing. That’s normal enough, but there’s enough questions coming (and curious stares coming in my direction) that I wonder if there’s something else going on. I soon find out that Maya has been updating our friends on my current condition.
Here’s the thing. Maya is from Taiwan, and as a matter of fact, while English is her second language, her English is really, really good. It’s amazing it’s as good as it is when you’re in conversation with her. Her English is terrific.
Still, there are some nuances to the language that even the best of us might miss, especially when English isn’t your first language.
When I had the seizures, the neurologist had to explain to Maya and the family what was going on. Seizures can be very serious, even life threatening.
As a result, when Maya told me about some of her conversations with friends, she said that she told them that because of the seizures, “Wayne has brain damage.”
At this point, I said to Maya, “I don’t think you should be telling our friends that I have brain damage.” She said, “Well, sometimes you get in a bad mood and you’ve been forgetting things.”
I said, “Sometimes I get in a bad mood because we’re stuck at home and we can’t go anywhere because of Covid, and while it’s true that I sometimes forget people’s names (which I do), I was doing that before the seizures! That is not the same as having brain damage!”
I have no idea how many people Maya has told that I have brain damage, but I thought I should put out a blanket statement that 1) I am doing fine and getting in good shape, and 2) As far as I can tell, I don’t have brain damage.
Thanks for your attention.
Upon seeing that I took umbrage to Maya’s characterization of my situation, she decided that we needed to talk about this.
She asked, “Well, what should I call it if it’s not brain damage? Brain trauma?”
I said, “Why do we HAVE to call it anything?”
Wayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.