Day 15: Epilepsy on camera

Having epilepsy has made my life more difficult at times, but not unbearable. It didn’t stop me from going through all of the interviews, all of the tests and all of the paperwork to end up being on Beauty and the Geek back in 2005.

For making the final decision about who to put in front of the cameras, they flew a bunch of potential participants to L.A. and locked us in our hotel rooms. During that time, along with interviews with producers and doctors testing me for cooties, I got a visit from a psychiatrist.

One of the forms I sent them during an earlier part of the process was a big “YES or NO” test. “Are you single? Have you been in an adult film? Do you have cooties?” And so on. She wanted to ask me about all of the YES answers on my sheet and there was one that stuck out.

(You’ll have to forgive me for not remembering the exact wording, but things get fuzzy after close to 13 years.) The question was along the lines of “Have you ever experienced something odd or unusual?” You know, like seeing aliens or Bigfoot or the new Godzilla movie in the theater.

She asked me why I checked yes and I couldn’t remember. I had filled it out a few months prior, so… “Well, I mean, we all have different experiences, we all experience the world in different ways, right?” I felt a little ridiculous, but she was satisfied. We went through the rest of the interview without any problems.

It wasn’t until maybe an hour after she left that it occurred to me: “Experiencing unusual things… oh yeah, seizures.”

(In case you’re wondering, they were aware of my having epilepsy. I brought my medication and I was taking it twice a day on my usual schedule, so no seizures. Unfortunately, there was vomiting later in the season, but that wasn’t epilepsy-related.)

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