This is what happened to me about three weeks ago. I was hanging around, procrastinating about picking up the dishes from supper because I was really tired. I had slept only three hours the night before, and not at all the night before that. Anyway, as I picked up a plate, my right arm began to jerk as if I were throwing a Frisbee. The plate flew right out of my hand. My arm was jerking all by itself, out of my control. I told my husband that I was jerking. He told me to sit down, and so I did. That is the last thing I remember. My husband said that I tried to stand back up, and then I grabbed my head and screamed. Then I fell to the floor. My daughter came in from her room; she said that my eyes were rolled back in my head. My husband told her to call 911, so she did. I asked some questions later, like what were the dogs doing when this happened? What did the scream sound like? Bonnie said I sounded like the way people scream when they step on something. Wayne said he had to put Melvin in the bathroom, that both of the dogs were trying to see what was wrong.
The next thing I remember is that I woke up in the ambulance. One of my former students was in there. He said, “Do you remember me?” They always say that! I couldn’t think of his name, though. I said, “You had a brother…”(For 29 years I taught with a gentleman who taught social studies. He and I used to joke that we were afraid we’d wake up in the ambulance and find a former student who failed our class. I think this student passed, but I can’t swear to it.) I don’t remember much else about the ride. It’s so weird not to remember time that passed by.
Eventually, I became aware of being in the emergency room, and finally, that my family was there. Much later, my husband told me that a nurse asked him if I were his mother. That did not please me, needless to say. Then we began waiting and waiting. We got there about 11:00 P.M., and finally I was admitted at around 4 A.M. We finally got into a room at 6:00 A.M.
Wayne took the girls home so they could get some sleep. He came back later on with my younger daughter. Luckily, I made it into a room just in time for some bad hospital food (oatmeal without salt and then because my arm was still jerking a little, I spilled the sugar). Eggs without salt, yuck. I had a number of tests that day, including an EEG and an MRI. During the brain scan, a very nice girl who looked like the blonde on 90210 (Now, what was her name? Tori Spelling) was putting dabs of cold glop on my scalp so that the little sensors could be placed on it. I said, “Don’t I have a big head?” She said, “Well, no bigger than usual…” I said, “Well, I guess you’d be in a position to know.” After all, she apparently does brain scans for a living, right? I finally told her that it is kind of a family joke about my huge skull that few hats will fit. She didn’t know if I were being humorous or not, poor girl. After getting my head set up for the test, she went into the next room and told me through the window to be very still and quiet, lying there in the dark, so naturally I went to sleep. I woke up in a few minutes to hear “Tori Spelling” talking to another girl about what she was seeing on the screen about my brain. This is not a wise method, to talk about the patients within their hearing. One of them said, “Look what I’m seeing!” The other one said, “It’s just on one side!” The one who put the glop on my head said, “That’s epilepsy!” After some further discussion, they decided to call a particular doctor down there, who turned out to be a neurologist. The neurologist was aware that I was awake, but agreed that it looked like epilepsy.
Back in the room, I talked to some of my family on the phone. My mother was somewhat surprised to hear that I had developed epilepsy at the age of 52. Later that afternoon, the neurologist came to the room. He asked me if I knew who he was. I did, of course, having eavesdropped on his conversation that morning. He asked me if I had ever had a seizure before, several times in different ways. I never have. He seemed quite intrigued by all of this.
Finally, they let me go home the next morning, after giving me pills to prevent me from having any more seizures, telling me not to drive for six months, and referring me to a neurologist who doesn’t work in the hospital.
So, I called and made an appointment with this doctor for the following Tuesday.
After being driven to the doctor’s office by my husband, I went into the office. A young man who resembled Palmer, the guy who helps Ducky on NCIS, gave me an examination. I had to follow his finger with my eyes, walk a straight line, have my reflexes checked, etc. I never have had very good balance…Oh, well. I told him all about my hospital experience. Then his boss showed up, a doctor about 32, maybe. He said, “Hello!” So I had to go through the whole thing again. Finally, he said, “There is no doubt that you had a seizure. You have an abnormal brain.” (Allow me to insert here that most of my friends and family will not be surprised to hear this.) “Well, not an abnormal brain, but the fluid that surrounds your brain. You have some extra fluid that is pooling at your temporal lobes. This can cause a seizure. It might be triggered by being really tired. So what I want you to do is to take two of your pills in the morning and two at night, don’t climb on ladders, don’t take baths instead of showers, don’t drive for six months. No heavy lifting. I want to see you here again in about a month.”
As one of my friends says, “Stay off the roof!” I’m trying. People are beginning to ease up; they are no longer watching me to see if I’m going to do anything unusual or go off like a bomb. The pills make me a little groggy, but I already was half asleep normally, because of my insomnia. My mother says she can’t tell the difference.
Wow. Abnormal brain sacs. How weird is that? My older daughter who has a sicko sense of humor (inherited from heaven-only-knows where) says that I should name my brain sacs, giving them their own identities. I might. I am not happy about any of this, especially not being able to drive for six months. Thank God for the internet.
It’s really a good thing I’m not still trying to teach English!