Last Thursday, I had a life-changing event…
And I slept through it.
Thursday was a relatively normal day, followed by a relatively normal drive home. I was hungry so I decided to make a little white cheddar mac & cheese (don’t judge me). I remember stirring the noodles and then sampling a noodle to check for doneness.
And then I woke up in my bed. I was instantly confused. I didn’t remember deciding to have a nap. Then I looked at my arm and my favourite black sweater had melted holes in it, and my arm below was burned. I carefully peeled off the sweater and tried to figure out what was going on. I went downstairs to see the state of my mac & cheese. The pot was off the burner but the burner was still on. I sent G a very confused text and then phoned him. He was just leaving the Safeway with our dinner fixin’s so he drove straight to get me. Based on everything I told him, he told me we were going to go to the hospital, which I didn’t want to do.
For all the negativity I hear about our medical care, I certain had a positive experience. I was admitted almost immediately upon arrival in the University of Alberta Emergency room. Things to monitor what-seemed-like every bodily function were attached to me, and I spent the next 8 hours in a bed there. They made it clear in almost the first hour that I would have to spend the night, so I eventually (like, 3 a.m.) made it into a neuro ward where I got a few hours of sleep, though it was difficult with an IV in one arm and a large uncomfortable burn on the other.
The history behind all of this – and something many people didn’t know – is that I actually was having seizures before Thursday’s blackout. I lovingly called them “episodes” like some quirky old aunt in a PBS miniseries set in the 1930’s, but these were actually called “simple partial seizures”. The first one was in January 2011, and they feel like I’m trying to remember something familiar, like a dream. And as I chase these memories, I fall deeper into them until I just snap out of it. I saw a neurologist about them but they were so infrequent, and I never lost consciousness, so I didn’t want to take pills for them.
On Wednesday night as I was falling asleep, I had one of my partial seizures, and during the day at work on Thursday I had another one. I believe that due to being both mentally and physically rundown, my brain just wasn’t able to contain the seizure to one side and when it spread, I had the full seizure.
Thursday’s seizure – known as a tonic (gin??)-clonic seizure or, if you watched ER, a “grand-mal” seizure – was obviously more intense but I don’t remember it. I think the burn on my arm happened as I fell in the kitchen, knocking the pot off the burner. I landed on one side of my face, hence the black eye and other bruises. The back of my neck is also bruised but if I was jerking around (basing this on my extensive ER-watching) I could have easily thwacked my neck into an appliance or my table. Some of my muscles are sore, presumably from being clenched up. At some point, the physical neurons fired up in my brain and told my body to go to bed, so it got me up off the kitchen floor and zombie-walked me up a flight of stairs and put me to bed for about an hour – I have no memory of doing this. The Walking Dead will never be the same to me again; no wonder my cats were terrified and hiding under the bed when I woke up.
So what does this mean for me now? Well, it means that I cannot drive for 6 months. There’s no one enforcing that, but if I had a blackout seizure behind the wheel and hurt or even killed someone, that would be a helluva lot harder to come to terms with than my lack of vehicular mobility.
And if I take the anti-seizure medication it means that I’ll need to limit my alcohol intake to one, max two, drinks an evening. Which frankly sucks, as I enjoy drinking. Wine with mid-week dinners. G&T’s on the weekends. Margaritas on patios on hot summer days…sigh.
Probably the craziest part, at most infuriating to my friends and family, is that I’m still deciding about the medication. I don’t believe that just because something’s wrong, it means you should start popping pills. Before my tonic-clonic seizure, I had absolutely no intentions of taking medication for my partial seizures; they happened so infrequently. Is that a reason to spend the rest of my life on medication? And in the research (Googling) I’ve done about this, shows that you’re more prone to seizures after taking the medication. Even after all of this, I believe my tonic-clonic seizure was a one-off based on a perfect storm situation of weakened health and a taxed mental state. It’s almost like I’m waiting for one more tonic-clonic seizure to confirm that my partial seizures have escalated (which I’m sure makes my loved ones feel terrified), before I’ll accept my new diagnosis and start taking pills.
So I guess I’m still digesting everything that has happened and what this means for me, and you know I’ll be blogging along the way. I wanted to share this information with people so that in the very unlikely chance I have another grand-mal seizure while I’m out, you’ll know about it.
One final thing I have to talk about is G. He has been absolutely incredible this entire time. From staying calm while I described what happened, forcing me to go to the hospital, staying with me until 3 a.m., spending the night with my freaked out cats, coming back to the hospital early, bringing me coffee from transcend, taking time off work to be with me, letting me move in with him, helping me run errands now that I can’t drive…he’s been so wonderful and amazing, I hardly feel like I deserve him. I’m just so grateful for him in my life.
(My blog titles are song titles. This one is “The Pills WON’T Help You Now” by the Chemical Brothers, I just tweaked the title slightly to make it fit.)