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I remember that day so clearly. My cousins were down visiting us at our grandmother’s house. The parents were inside talking. Us kids were outside playing our usual games of Red Rover, T.V. Tag, Freeze Tag and Hide N’ Seek. The sprinklers had been on and covered the driveway and grass with a silky, wet coat of sewage water. I can never tell if I was right next to him when he slipped or if I was just nearby when I heard the sound of skull hitting the pavement. My brother was a clumsy person. He had a huge head, and was constantly bumping it. My mother recalls herself saying “That sounded like a bump on the head!” which was followed by a loud, uncontrolled cry from outside. The driveway was too wet for his rubber sneakers, and his head collided with it. Eventually his crying ceased and he ate the pizza that was put in front of him. He appeared fine. Just another bump.
The next day, my mother recalls, he was vomiting profusely. She decided to take my youngest brother and I to my grandmother’s house, while she took Zach to the E.R. As she was dropping us off, he asked “what was happening?”. He hadn’t remembered falling the day before, which immediately frightened my mother.
I don’t remember when they told me his brain was bleeding. I don’t remember when they told me that he had Epilepsy, or when they told me what that meant. I was 10 years old at the time. I just remember being scared for him for when he had his seizures. Later on as the years passed, I remember us riding our bikes and scooters outside, having to hold him up and make sure he didn’t fall when he would have one. He would drool, mutter words, stare blankly into space and move his hands around as if he was trying to continue whatever he was doing previous to the seizure. It was very scary and led to many days of my other brother and I staying home from school because he was having multiple seizures and my parents couldn’t leave his side. I remember reading a journal I had kept that said “Stefan and I went to see Snow Dogs with Nana today because Zachary was having so many episodes”.
Today he’s almost 19. When I was a senior in high school in the T.V. Production Academy. We were assigned to make a documentary. I decided to do mine on my little brother. My family and I have raised over $1,000 for the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida to date. I feel my documentary has been the driving force to teach people about the effects Epilepsy has on a family’s life. Enjoy!