Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gelastic Syncope: The Funny Seizures - Part 1

So I was halfway through a really long post where I talked about a bizarre medical condition that I have when I came to a grim epiphany, then erased it.

It’s one of my favorite stories.  I love telling it.  I realized that it would absolutely break my heart if I were to start telling it to someone to whom I’ve never told it before and they stopped me saying “Oh yeah, I read about that on your blog.  That’s funny.  Let’s talk about something else.”

Then I thought about those of you who I will never meet; those of you who will never know the joy of speaking to me in person, who will never hear the story directly from my lips.

I began to think of the children I hope to one day have, and their children.  One day I’ll be gone from this world, and my descendants will never know about those hilarious seizures I once had.

That’s when I understood that even though there may be moments that pain me, this is a story that must be told and preserved for posterity’s sake alone.  So here it is…


I am prone to Gelastic Syncope, a subtype of Vasovagal Syncope.  According to the paper to which I linked, there have only been five documented cases, so it’s extremely rare. 

When I laugh too hard, I pass out and have seizures.

No lie.

I found this out one day at a CiCi’s Pizza.  I was a teenager then.  I was having lunch with a couple of my best friends, Daniel and Vinnie.   We were having a debate as to which would be better for population control, condoms or cannibalism.  Daniel and I were on the side of cannibalism.  The debate lasted for an hour.  It ended with three lines, we each had one.

I said “The government is not going to hire the homeless to watch people have sex.”

Vinnie said “Well, why not?”

Then Daniel said “Because people will kill ‘em and eat ‘em!”

As funny as that might be to you right now, if you had heard the entire conversation leading up to that, it would be a lot funnier.  In fact, at that point in my life it was the funniest thing I had ever heard.  I laughed and laughed.  Things started getting fuzzy, and appearing as they were much further away.  I felt faint.

The next thing I know I was waking up on the floor.  My mother was sitting at the table across from us.  She told me to stop making such a scene.  I had no idea what was going on.  There was a carpet burn on my forehead from where I had been seizing on the ground.  Do you know how difficult it is to explain away a carpet burn on your forehead?  Very.  The answer to that is very.

It took a few times to figure out what was happening.  The funniest, and most dangerous one was when I was driving a friend to work. (That's the teaser for part 2)


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