Guest Post: Chris Morris – I am Afraid of Waterslides

I am a forty-year-old, seventy-nine inch tall man. And I am afraid of waterslides. But not for the reason you might imagine. Maybe I do have a (ironic) fear of heights, but my fear runs deeper than that.

If I wanted to be cruel, I could say it’s my daughter’s fault that I am afraid of waterslides. But that is unfair and not entirely accurate. It is the memory of a seizure that makes me fear waterslides.

We purchased season tickets to the local waterslide park two summers ago, and it was so worth it. We could spend a Saturday or just an afternoon having loads of fun. Nothing is quite as refreshing in the middle of a Phoenix summer as hours of fun water.

Except for the Water Bowl slide. More specifically, the stairs going up to the Water Bowl slide.

As Cynthia leaned back into my chest, I was having a typical summer conversation with her.

    Are you having fun Cynthia?

    [Grinning] This is amazing Daddy! I can’t wait for this slide!

    Do you think it’s your favorite slide, sweetie?

    Oh I don’t know. They are all so fun, Da…

Mid-sentence, she just stopped talked and slumped back against me. Before I could do anything else, she fell to the ground and started seizing. Thankfully, her head was pressed against my legs, so she wasn’t injured.

I stooped down and held her through her seizure. Then I scooped her up in my arms and sprinted down the two stories of stairs. I couldn’t get the idea of her falling down the concrete stairs out of my head. We sat in the grass and waited for her to recover. Then we headed home, because nobody much felt like water fun anymore.

Ever since then, I have this gut-twisting paranoia almost overwhelm me whenever I see a waterslide. I know the waterslide didn’t cause Cynthia’s seizure, but I still feel the paranoia.

After I beat down the irrational fear, I am lambasted with the second round of attacks on my psyche.

Why are you afraid of a waterslide? What’s wrong with you?

It’s that second question that trips me up every time. What IS wrong with me? What rational person is afraid of every waterslide in existence because his epileptic daughter once had a seizure on one? I should be afraid of bedrooms and bathrooms and stairs and Chick-Fil-A’s and Tahoes and hospitals and living rooms and couches by this logic.

I eventually pull myself through this volley against my sanity as well. But not before I come face to face with this stark reality – I cannot protect my daughter from her epilepsy. I do my best, but it’s never enough.

Everyone with a loved one who suffers from a chronic condition is familiar with this helplessness. This feeling that we cannot do anything to help.

But that is not the truth.

We can do something to help. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we can save the day. Every single day. What would have happened if I wasn’t right there with my daughter so she could lean back into me and seize? She might have fallen on the stairs, sustained a concussion. Maybe even fallen down the stairs or over the edge. Who knows?

The point is – I saved the day by being there. By loving her enough to take precautions. It was no accident she was leaning against me. I was taking precautions just in case she went into a seizure. And those precautions saved the day.

Every day won’t be as dramatic when we care for someone with a chronic illness. It sure isn’t for me. But I keep in mind that I save the day, every day, by being there. By paying attention. By taking precautions.

What I do matters. What you do matters too.

But we need help. We need support. We cannot do this on our own. Sadly, not many resources are devoted to the emotional aspect of chronic illnesses.

Believe me, I have looked. Resources to coach on protocol are prevalent. Foundations to raise money for research can be found. But very little for the social and emotional components can be

So I created one. Perfectly Abnormal: Uncovering the Image of God in Chronic Illness walks through eight myths about chronic illnesses that can paralyze us, if we aren’t careful. My book dissects eight of these myths, counteracts them with truth, and offers pointed questions to get us moving again.

If you or a loved one suffer from a chronic illness, I hope you will you will pick up this book. Because not only you are enough, you are NOT alone.

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Chris Morris is the author of the new book Perfectly Abnormal: Uncovering the Image of God in Chronic Illness. He writes to give encouragement and strategies to people who are dealing with circumstances that feel overwhelming. He believes in redefining normal and rebuilding hope.

He writes at at his web site. You can also follow him on Twitter and find him on Facebook.

Published in: on September 19, 2017 at 5:00 pm  Comments (10)  
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