From Vodka Luge to Hospital Ward

My story starts with a party and ends with a hospital bed, but not for the reasons that you might expect.

There are some neurological conditions that linger in the brains of its victim for years, undetected as they are, these conditions can slowly work their way through the body until they rear their ugly head and create massive complications for the individual involved. This is exactly what happened to me and if it wasn’t for a series of events taking place I might well have never discovered anything about the condition that was lingering in my head for years. It might sound strange to be thankful of being in a hospital bed, but I’d much rather be here than in a coffin!

I wasn’t particularly psyched about my 18th birthday party. I understood that it was meant to be a big deal, that it signified a huge landmark for me that and that I was about to move from childhood into adulthood, but for some reason I just couldn’t get thrilled about the idea. At some point during the year leading up to my birthday I’d developed a kind of terminal apathy towards the world. It had begun with a series of bad grades in school. I’d always received good marks in all my subjects. Throughout secondary I found myself drifting through classes often achieving very little in my classes during the course of a day, but somehow I’d come through when it came to the exams. Things were a little different when it came to my A-Levels…

I met a whole range of different people when I arrived at college. Much to my surprise I met a number of people who were just like me: underachieving individuals who were quietly getting away with doing as little as possible whilst still getting good grades. I quickly bonded with this group of like-minded teenagers. We were united by a love for sarcasm and a mutual dislike for ‘try-hards‘. We were an invisible group, unnoticed by all other groups and would repeatedly be found in the local parks surreptitiously passing joints and snickering to each other. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why my grades were beginning to slide.

My parents were blissfully unaware of how much I was coasting. They assumed that I was studying in my room, when in reality I was playing video games. When I was out late they thought I was at a friend’s house, rather than at a local pub. They were still coasting off the success of my GSCE results. Having not forced to me into any kind of revision they felt that I must have been some kind of child savant all along. They planned my 18th birthday party as a celebration of both my success as well as their own. No expense was spared. Vodka luges were carved, food was prepared and guests were invited to what was expected to be the party of the year – but amidst all this preparation and anticipation, I couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed.

On the night of the party I was given free reign to drink as much as I like, my parents wanted my friends and I to celebrate, but they didn’t expect us to drink the bar dry. I woke up the next morning in a hospital bed being told that my stomach had been pumped and that I had a neurological condition. If it wasn’t for that night of excessive drinking and the subsequent months before it this condition would no doubt have lingered unnoticed until it was too late – now I have a chance of treating it.