National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Telephone Leads to Seizures


It all started one summer day June 1999. That year we were having terrible thunderstorms. I was at WalMart when the storm came up and my daughter and I started home because my husband was putting a swimming pool in for someone and I wanted to warn him. As I was driving, the lightning was coming straight down and it had started hailing along with the rain.

When I made it into the house, I got on the phone and called my husband. All I had time to say was a thunderstorm was headed his way and about that time lightning hit the house ran in on the phone line when my daughter, who was 13 years old at the time, heard a big boom. She came running into the living room. I told her not to touch me because I know electrical current can travel from one person to another and by this time the current from the lightning hit me in my right ear ran across my chest and out my left arm.

I was worried my heart would go into an abnormal rhythm because I'm a nurse and know what electrical shock can do. I was walking, talking seemed OK so I didn't go to the emergency room. My phone was now out as were all my electrical outlets in the kitchen. I didn't want an emergency room bill to go along with all of that (smile).

A few weeks after that happened, I started having petit mal seizures which I'll probably have for the rest of my life. I just thank God I'm still here and have a life because it could've been worse. Now everyone I meet I try to do a little education about lightning and what it can do.

I have been to Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital where determined the lightning strike had caused Traumatic Brain Injury, which, in turn, caused my seizures. I'm going in for brain surgery which should fix my problem since all the meds didn't stop the seizures.