My quesiton / situation is probably a bit unusual, but hopefully it makes sense after reading it. Once you read this you will understand why I am hesitant to identify myself.
When I was 14 or so I had 2 episodes of grand mall seizures. My first seizure happened on a commercial flight from Los Angeles to San Franciso, apparently just after take off as the plane was climbing. I lost recall of the few hours before the flight. When I regained consiousness I was confused and found myself belted in a seat (as normal) with a flight attendant and a couple passengers standing next to me. I was a 14 year old kid, so I think people were more worried than normal. The flight attendant asked me if I had epilepsy, which I had no idea what that was at that time. The FA told me that the paramedics had been notified and would be waiting for me upon arrival as they could not let me leave on my own because of my age. I recall the flight continuing on for what seemed like an eternity to me. The flight arrived on time or close to it, but due to the event I lost all concept of time and no longer wanted to be where I was. I suspect the reduced oxygen levels were also agitating my feelings. Upon landing, the passengers were forced to wait for the paramedics to board the plane for me (somewhat embarrassing). Then they treated me and others deplaned. I was escorted off and placed onto a guerney and wheeled to the awaiting ambulance and taken to a hospital. My mother and the police were waiting for me as I was admitted into the ER. Apparently the police were concerned that I may have taken some drug which caused this. No drugs had been taken and it was determined it was a medical issue.
I was examined and given the EEG tests. They were negative but I was prescribed dilantin (sp?) as a precaution.
A few months later, after receiving my motorcycle permit, a second grand mall seizure happened while I was riding. I was riding with my father, on seperate bikes, and he had apparently gotten a head of me. Again I lost memory for the hours just before the event happened so I can't remember where he was. As I was travelling at freeway speeds (yes, not legal with a permit), an an off duty fireman was behind me and noticed I started to lose control and appeared to be having some problem. Somehow I knew to pull over before I passed out. The fireman said I came to rest, got off the bike and went into a seizure and fell down on the side of the road. Apparently I could tell I needed to stop, but don't recall how I knew due to the memory failure. Paramedics came and transported me to the hospital.
Again I was treated and given some tests, but at this point the memory is vague.
Time passed and eventually I stopped taking the meds. I think it was typical teenage rebellion and not with advice of the doctor. I never had another seizure that I recall but have suspected a few times I may have had petite mall seizures a few times as I recall times where I blanked out, but no other evidence seemed to be obvious.
As I grew older I became a police officer and worked for 11 years. I left and purused my childhood dream of being an airline pilot. No one was aware of my childhood episodes and as far as I knew, per later doctor visits, I had no on going issues. Of course I never had another EEG, but since no seizures were reported, no one stopped me from pursuing these jobs.
During my tenure as a police officer I never really had any serious issues, but when I started as an airline pilot flying at higher altitudes my skill levels seemed to drop. I performed very well in similators and with every other aspect of flying. However, when I was on board the plane, in reduced atomosphere (8000 feet equivelant) I recall numerous issues. There were things I knew I needed to do, but it seemed that my response time was dangerously slow. I can recall numerous times when I would look at controls and know I had to do something very basic, but I could not recall what it was. Of course my training was a failure and I lost my first job. I worked for a while with another company flying at lower altitudes and did fine. Again I went back to another airline and had similar issues to the first one. It was as if my brain went into data lock, like a computer does when it's ram is overloaded. These problems did not surface in the similator which of course was operated at ground level with no reduced atomosphere.
I have since given up that dream, and now run a small security company. I hate my work now and wish I was back behind the controls of an airplane flying from city to city. My mother could not figure out why I had such issues being I had always been successful at other complicated endeavors and flew smaller airplanes without issue. I was a quite successful amature motorcycle racer as a kid, won numerous snow skiing competitions and have always done well in academics. Yet for some reason, in that reduced atmospher cockpit, my brain seemed to freeze up.
Additionally when I was about 24 years old, the doctor told me I was "borderline" hypoglycemic, but not severe enough to warrant treatment. I was just advised to not let myself go hungry for extended periods of time or I would risk problems with that.
Now in my mid 40s, I don't know what happened in the airplanes. It doesn't make sense based upon other things I succeeded at. Could I really be that mentally challenged? Is flying a modern day aircraft so sophisticated that successful pilots are just so much more gifted than I am? Am I really lacking what "they" have? I could understand it if we were talking about military fighter pilots, as that does require extreme abilities and many candidates wash out of the program and are re-assigned to less demanding aircraft. Most still end up pilots, but they just don't make it to the elite status of fighter pilot. Maybe I'm not the best pilot in the world, but I find it quite difficult to believe that I was not qualified to operate a 50 passenger regional jet. The airlines conduct a lengthy battery of tests before they even hire a pilot. Each pilot must complete intense training and prove their abilities in both study and operation of the similator before proceeding to the aircraft. I made it that far with no issues and the general consensus is that if you can fly a similator, you can certainly fly the airplane. The similators are designed to be more challenging than the aircraft. If someone is going to fail training it usually happens long before they ever reach an airplane. The airlines don't want to spend the money to train someone and give them a type rating ( specific license) and then send them on their way. I was the exception to the rule and was given that $10,000 license for free, but not kept on the job. I was even paid for earning it.
Do I still have some degree of epilepsy left over? Should I be concerned? Is it possible my "brain freezes" were a combination of some epileptic condition left over from childhood coupled with reduced oxygen and high demand? When I was starring at the controls unable to recall the most basic of aviator skills was I having a petite mall seizure? Certainly if I had a grand mall seizure in the cockpit that would have been quite embarrassing and likely a career ender, but the positive would have been my issues would have been obvious and I would at least have been eligible for disability benefits, even if only from social security or someone. As it ended up being, I left feeling like a failure, when I knew exactly what to do, but just could not do it. It never felt right to me and I still ponder to this day, how could this be. Why couldn't I just pull back and turn right? Why couldn't I do what I did in the similator which is just like the airplane?
If anyone has thoughts or ideas on this, please let me know. I know I should discuss this with a doctor, but I am scared to even bring up the thought of epilepsy and have someone tell me I can't drive now or have other issues. I don't have medical insurance so paying for medical treatment is not easy.
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