From Underwater: When Encephalitis, Brain Injury and Epilepsy Change Everything.

“Due to brain injury, he has the mental capacity of a three-year-old.”

I heard those words from the TV morning news while eating breakfast at a hotel.

I was soon traveling to two events in one city to tell my story. That sentence stayed in my mind. It is strange what I remember and what I forget.

Due to.

Brain injury.

The mental capacity of a three-year-old.

I stood up and walked to the table for another blueberry muffin. Sitting back down, I ignored the news and looked at my iPad for that day’s presentations.

Mental capacity.


We could take the opening four words of that news report and let it begin many of our stories.

Due to brain injury, what next? What sentences should we use to follow that intro? What sentences describe or define, instruct or advise, laugh at or cry with, pray for or ignore the victims who live life underwater because of brain injury?

And one word from that sentence reveals the people affected: victims. But as we read in Debbie’s comments in chapter five, as I’ve read in many of her efforts to not let me notice her pain, and as many of you have read in your caregivers’ attempts to survive life underwater, those who care for us patients are also victims.

People with epilepsy aren’t the only ones in this story.

Think of the caregivers. Think of those in the medical and psychological fields. Think of neighbors and employers and teachers.

It’s not easy being us. But it’s also not always easy being with us.

Maybe we can’t totally change that. But as those living with epilepsy and other health issues, we can remember those around us as we move toward our own recovery.