Roger Gordonís Story
Seized by Fear
By Patty Gordon, Rogerís mother
"What is that sound?" I wondered as I awakened. I could hear strange sounds coming from our oldest son Rogerís bedroom. Nudging my sleeping husband, alarm rising within me, I cried, "Elmer, go check on Roger!' I was right behind him, and when he opened the door, what we saw made my heart race. Roger was lying on the floor in the fetal position wrapped in his blanket. His frothing mouth was bluish and the guttural sounds he was making reminded me of what I thought someone would make if they were hanging from a rope. I was so scared. I was sure he was dying. Racing to the telephone in our bedroom, I nervously punched 411, the emergency number at that time. The operator responded immediately and asked a few questions. "My son is having some kind of seizure", I yelled into the phone. An ambulance was soon on its way to our home. We watched helplessly as Roger convulsed, as we didnít know what to do.
Earlier that evening my neighbor Anne
Schneider and I had gone to Denneyís for a cup of coffee, and I had jokingly
threatened to call her if the coffee kept me awake. At that time, Anne
was a nursing student at
We learned that we had done the right thing during his seizure because once a seizure starts, there is nothing that will stop it. It has to run its course. All one can do is keep an epileptic person from hurting himself. About all we knew to do was keep him from banging his head on his furniture. And we did that. Roger apparently dealt with the doctorís diagnosis better than I did initially. He talked openly about the seizure and his medication with his friends. When a well-meaning friend called me one day and asked, "Kid, does Roger have epilepsy?" I lied. My mind was still being battered by the impact of the diagnosis. I remembered how a schoolmateís seizure after a basketball game and how she had thrashed all over a dressing room while we just stood and gawked. I just wanted my son to be normal and be treated normally.
That fall, Roger entered his twelfth year of school; he was a senior. At night, I was a nervous wreck; the least sound disturbed my sleep. Roger enjoyed golf and kept his clubs in his bedroom. One night, we heard a thud from his room, and I begged Elmer to please go check on Roger. When he opened the door, He found Roger just fineóbut he had been practicing his putting and somehow had knocked a mirror off the wall. "Roger, get to bed so your mother can get some rest!" his father demanded. Then on Christmas Eve, Roger had a second grand mal seizure. We were scared but didnít panic, and we put him back in bed as soon as we could and reminded him of the importance of taking his medication. We didnít enjoy it, but we were slowly learning to deal with this new phase in Rogerís life.
In the spring of 1980, Roger graduated
from high school. He was offered a partial scholarship to OCU but chose
to attend Rogers State College at Claremore on a golf scholarship. After
Life seemed to be going well enough. I was working at my career, and Roger worked long hours at the golf course. We didnít realize it, but he was having several petit mal (light) seizures daily. He had been at Forest Ridge for eight years, but one day they told him they wouldnít need him anymore. His friend Wayne Morris suggested he apply for a job at the Tulsa Auto Collection where he worked. Roger was hired as a salesman, and he held down this job for over a year. One day when he showed up for work, he learned that they wouldnít need him anymore either. Roger was convinced that the seizures cost him both jobs. The medicine just wasnít working anymore: Phenobarbital, Dilantin, and Tegritol, just to name a few.
Roger learned through a doctor friend,
Steve Mareburger, that he might be eligible for a
temporal lobectomy. Rogerís health insurance
was to expire on February 28, so everyone worked to expedite the process.
Roger went to
I took Roger to
Roger is a person of faith, and his faith in God has been strengthened by the ordeal. He had prayed for a miracle, and he feels that the miracle came through the hands of his surgeon, Dr. Paul Francel. Story written April 23, 2002.