As I’m sure many of you can attest, it has been a busy holiday season, at least at the Duffy house!
My husband turned 40 on Thanksgiving, so that was fun. I surprised him with concert tickets in New York City, and we had my parents come take care of our two littles. We had a blast, and I’m sure I’ll blog about it later in greater detail.
My husband is a huuuuge music lover, and so consequently I have become one too. It’s something that we share now, and really look forward to summer concert season. Red Rocks is not too far from our house, how lucky are we?! So we probably attend 20+ shows/year in Colorado. I have had great experiences with security and my epilepsy medications at every concert I have ever attended in Colorado (woo hoo!).
What I wanted to talk about today is a bad experience I had with my medications while attending a concert (in Las Vegas of all places), and also how I refuse to let those bad experiences or judgmental people stop me from doing the things I love.
In the previous post I talked about giving myself permission to say, “No”, so that I can have more opportunities to say “yes”. Zip lining would be a bad idea for me, plummeting to my almost certain death does not sound like a good time, at least to me. However, attending a concert almost always sounds like a good time, with little to no risk. The light shows do not affect my epilepsy, other than sometimes I feel dizzy, but I just sit down. I also wear my sunglasses and have noticed that it does actually help that dizzy feeling. You can even see in the bottom right picture, I have my sunglasses on top of my head while attending a concert in NYC.
There is something so freeing about live music. Personally I love the keyboards and the drums the best- my husband is through and through a guitar man (that’s how he woo’d me folks, he can play and write music). Feeling the vibrations in your chest is incredible, and this isn’t something that I’m making up, at Red Rocks there’s a special section up front for disabled and hearing impaired people. At one of my first shows I couldn’t figure out why the band had a woman doing sign language… and then I felt the music and understood that it isn’t all about the words or even hearing the instruments, it’s about the feeling.
So back to the point here:
I take my seizure medications with me everywhere (obviously), and so when we go to concerts I almost always get asked about them, because, you know, bag searches. It is surprising the number of people that are quite rude with their comments of “Why are you at a concert if you have epilepsy?” or my favorite “Seems like a smart choice” followed by an eye roll. You better believe my response was something akin to “Wow, concert security woman, you really must be well educated on epilepsy. Allow me to assist- lights do not affect my seizure disorder, but thank you for your genuine concern for my wellbeing”. Please note- I said this with extreme sarcasm and she would not allow me to bring my bag inside… so I shoved both bottles of medications inside my jean pockets and threw my bag in the trash. I could’ve been nicer, but I was so annoyed, she basically called me stupid, right?!
This was in Las Vegas, where I expected security to be fairly loose, I mean, its Vegas. It was my own fault, I didn’t check the venue website for allowable bag sizes. At the MGM it’s ‘no larger than the size of a piece of paper’ and while my backpack was small (and purchased that very same day) it was slightly larger than the size of a piece of paper.
I could’ve let the ignorant security woman ruin my day, and maybe even got her boss involved and possibly gotten my bag in (it literally had 2 bottles of medications and my wallet). It wasn’t worth it to me, and I’m sure the people behind me appreciated my not holding up the line.
I learned a lesson along the way; check the event center’s policy on handbags and backpacks. So I’d like to pass on a few of the other things I’ve learned in regards to attending activities with epilepsy:
Bring your medications in their original bottle.
If allowed, bring in your own *empty* water bottle to fill up throughout your event.
Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to take your medications on time. The few times I haven’t, I’ve been surprised at how late it was when I remembered on my own. Time flies when you’re having fun, right?
Tell the people that you’re with about your condition so they’re at least aware. No need to get all dramatic about it though.
Locate the EMT office, all events will have a tent at the very least.
Wear some sort of medical ID- I have a bracelet, but they make necklaces as well.
Most of all, don’t stop having fun. Don’t let your disorder define your life. Keep exploring, making memories, and enjoying new things!