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Temporal Lobe Epilepsy and Generalised Seizures: should I buy a helmet?

Hi everyone, my name is Stephanie, I am 26 years old, I live in Northern Ireland and I was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy last year and I am currently taking 400mg of lamictal on a daily basis. My medication is currently under review as my condition remains unstable - I have a great deal of issues concerning lamictal but I appear to be overcoming the unfortunate side effects.

Throughout the last few months I have suffered a number of generalised as well as localised seizures. My neurologist believes that my diagnosis may have been delayed and that I most likely developed temporal lobe epilepsy as a child – which I think is the case. I am writing this thread to ask for some advice in regards to wearing a helmet for epilepsy. I recently suffered a generalised seizure which has left me frightened and anxious that I may suffer a serious injury in further episodes.

Four days ago I suffered my fourth recorded generalised seizure since my diagnosis. At around 2:00am I was found by my father on the floor of our kitchen in the latter stages of a tonic-clonic seizure. I had fallen onto a tiled floor and as a result I sustained a very large ‘goose egg’ bump on the right handside of my forehead and an equally large bruise on my right cheek – resulting in an extremely painful black eye and cheekbone. I had also vomited during the seizure.

My mother immediately rang the local accident and emergency department but was advised by the attending doctor to stay at home because the casualty ward was full and that I would consequently face a very long wait of four hours plus prior to receiving any treatment. Thankfully, my mum has over forty years of experience as a nurse and midwife and she was therefore aware of what to do and how to monitor my condition, which was such a relief.

After several hours of disorientation and muscle aches I went to bed and slept well into the next morning. My mother wanted me to visit casualty on Sunday and I agreed. Unfortunately, I suffered an intense partial seizure during the afternoon and I really did not want to spend up to four hours waiting in the accident and emergency department for assessment. When I returned home I slept for the rest of the day and night and had some confusion, which included a failure to distinguish between my dreams and reality (which seems to happen quite often).

The next morning my mother took me straight to casualty but after more than four hours of waiting we were informed that I had been placed at the bottom of the queue and that we were likely to wait another two hours before being seen by the doctor on call. With some hesitation my mother took me home because I was excessively tired and feeling increasingly sick - and even though the casualty staff were aware of my condition no one asked how I was feeling.

I went home disappointed and tired – I went to bed and spent the rest of the day there. The local epilepsy nurse appeared to suggest that my symptoms were characteristic of a concussion and she asked us to try casualty again and to have an x-ray. My mother and I duly arrived and after five hours I underwent examination and had an x-ray performed and bloods taken – all of which came back clear. I returned home and promptly broke my little toe (just my luck, lol!)

I am extremely relieved that I did not fracture my cheekbone but I must admit that I have been left very shaken by the seizure, mostly because I could have easily sustained a serious head injury because of all the obstacles in my kitchen. Within the last several months I have suffered over seven injuries to my face and forehead – including black eyes and very large ‘goose egg’ bumps (one of which was sustained when I slammed my head into a toilet sink).

My latest injury has left me wondering whether I should buy a helmet because I am simply terrified of hurting myself during a seizure. I know that I only have temporal lobe epilepsy but given the unpredictability of my generalised seizures I would like to buy a helmet in order to reassure both myself and my parents. I am afraid that my neurologist will think that I am overreacting but I would rather wear a helmet than hit my head. Has anyone got advice? Should I buy a helmet?

Thanks so much.


If it gives you peace of mind, by all means wear one!  When your seizures are under better control you my find that you are comfortable not wearing one, but for now why not.  Be sure and do your homework on the different types and styles of helmets out there, as some may protect from facial injuries more than others.  I fell recently and did a pretty good number on my face, but I fell because of how the medication sometimes affects me not from a seizure.  I went for a walk during the first couple of hours after taking the daytime dose, and I should have known better because my balance is often not good then.  So, I understand your anxiety about injuries!

Bumping topic for original poster - I think this is an interesting subject, considering so many do not wear helmets.  In addition to original poster's questions, I'd like to throw in for those with daytime uncontrolled generalized seizures for which you do not have adequate warning to allow you to get into a safe place:  do you (or does your child/spouse) wear a helmet and if not, why? 

I too have had black eyes and big bumps on my head. Some were due to seizures but others were do to me being the accident looking for a place to happen. If it would make you feel more protected and you would be comfortable wearing one then by all means get one. When I was younger is when I had convulsions and they were not pretty. I have been blessed a lot since I have not had a convulsive seizure since 72 or 73. I still have seuzures but the ones I have today are nothing compared to the ones I had back then. In a couple of mine I was on a asphalt basket ball court going up for a lay up and I hit the asphalt with my head first. I had a nice little scar in my eyebrow. No stitches were needed. In another one I was stepping up onto the curb when I had one and the other eye hit the curb. A scar near thet eyebrow but that one needed stiches. Needless to say back then they didn't have helmets like they do now.

I can say I have laughed at what some people today think about all kinds of issues. They all should have lived back in my days when there were no computers video gaves heaven forbid I-pads or smart phones. # channels on TV all the alphabet chanels and then PBS was a new one and it came in in he 1960's, No central heat and air, high school kids had used cars that could be fixed in the garague or while it sets under a tree. You probably heard of a shade tree mechanic. Yup I was one and over hauled my mothers chrysler windsor. Back then we actually looked at the stars. Phones were rotory dials. Kids  today would not know about a party line phone. They would say it is a phone to use when trying to set up a party or a number to call to find out where a party is. Bothe of those would be wrong'

Get the helmet is you want to and think it will keep you from hurting yourself. You might also check with your neuro to see if yoru medication need to be upped or another medication can be added which will make the medication work better.

Hope this helps.


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