Father passes on his knowledge after years of epilepsy seizures
Around one in 200 people in the UK are affected by epilepsy.
It is a condition Nick Hooley, from Longton, has lived and dealt with for the past 30 years.
Epilepsy is a common condition which causes seizures, some mild and some very serious, which are due to excess electrical activity in the brain disrupting communication between cells.
And for Nick, aged 42, the scale of his seizures can change every day, from mild 'absences' to what are known as 'tonic-clonic' seizures.
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"For me, it can change on a daily basis," he said,
"After a big seizure, I can be out of action so to speak for up to five days afterwards. It gives me massive throbbing headaches and it takes a lot out of you.
"I wouldn't be able to get out of bed or do anything really. My wife takes care of me, feeds me and clothes me."
With no warning of impending seizures, Nick has no idea how bad the seizure will be.
And while the worst seizures will drain his energy, he says the absences can also be dangerous depending on where he is at the time.
He said: "I suffer absences or blackouts for two or three seconds.
"I suddenly stop what I am doing or saying, then when I come round, I am disorientated and forget what I was doing momentarily.
"Most days, it can be just a bit embarrassing, but if I'm in a daze it can be dangerous crossing the road or being at the cash point. Thankfully nothing like that has happened, but I've got to be wary.
"You have got be more aware, that's for sure. Dangers multiply for people with disabilities."
Since being diagnosed at the age of 12, the regularity of his seizures has changed yearly depending on which medication he is taking and the dosage.
Nick said: "Sometimes I can go six months without a big seizure but then I could have two or three a week."
Living with epilepsy has obviously had an effect on Nick, who has come to terms with the limits his condition imposes, such as not being able to drive. But he also admits it has had an effect on his wife, Liz, and their two girls, Helena, aged nine, and Gabriella, aged four.
"It affects us all. Physically it takes a toll on my wife, as she has to spend her time caring for me after a seizure, but it affects the children mentally, as they don't fully understand," he says.
"My wife helps me out so much. She has even taken time off work to take care of me after a big seizure. Thankfully her employers are very understanding.
"It is scary for the children, especially for Gabriella. "Helena is coming to terms with it and she knows what to do if I have a seizure, for example ringing for an ambulance and moving things away from my head. "
Nick says it is hard for someone with his condition to hold down work.
But it hasn't stopped the 42-year-old volunteering.
"It can be very difficult at times, especially for someone who likes to work. Actually getting a job can be doubly difficult," he said.
"I did shift work in my 20s, but I had to give that up after a while.
"A lack of sleep or a change in your regular sleeping pattern can trigger a seizure.
"I had to take it on the chin and accept I couldn't work. But if I wasn't working, I was volunteering. It is really enjoyable.
"It keeps you occupied. I am a qualified teaching assistant so I visit the local primary school to do some reading with the children."
He also volunteers through the Epilepsy Society, working with people suffering from the condition, and Nick wants to take that even further.
"I want to progress that and go into more schools to talk to them about living and coping with epilepsy, to pass on the knowledge I have gathered over the past 30 years and bring more attention to the condition," he said.
"Hopefully it will help a lot of people, but even if you just help one family it is enough."
The Epilepsy Society is the UK's leading medical epilepsy charity, which provides expert care and information and pioneering research into the condition.
Amanda Cleaver, the communications and campaigns manager for the organisation, says the condition affects people in different ways and while there is no cure, drugs or even surgery can help.
" There is currently no cure for epilepsy but seizures are controlled by anti-epileptic drugs which are effective in around 70 per cent of people," she said.
"Knowing what triggers your seizures, such as stress or tiredness, and avoiding those situations can help to reduce seizures.
"For some people, where the cause of their epilepsy can be identified, surgery can be an option."
For more information about epilepsy, visit www.epilepsysociety.org.uk or call the helpline on 01494 601400.