If you had epilepsy, you were institutionalized.

Clayton Cramer has been talking about inappropriate institutionalization. May I say that I know personally of three instances of this. Thankfully only one was long term.

1. The valedictorian of his class, a friend’s uncle had a grand mal seizure. He was institutionalized. It was 1930 something. I think they may have eventually overdosed him on so much medicine that he lost his mind. Or maybe they did a lobotomy. I know that he was still in there in 1975 and that he was no longer sane. (Would you or I be?)

2. A friend was given medicine for migraines. He hallucinated. He was put in a mental hospital. The doctors argued for permanent commitment. His 19 year old wife stood firm. “Take him off the medicine and he will get better.” He did. Some wives might not have found the strenghth.

3. A friend’s father started hallucinating. Again doctors recommended permanent institutionalization. His wife refused. She drove across the country with him, looking for treatment. It turns out he had experienced a weird and extremely severe allergy to coffee. He’d been drinking three or four Brazilian cups a day. It took about a year for the effects to wear off. He looks at coffee as you or I might an overdose of LSD. (He’ll never eat my molasses cookies. There’s a half a cup of coffee in the sixty cookies.)