Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Longest Seizure

 December, 2013

     That morning was even crazier than usual at my house. I drove my oldest son, Jimi, to get his wisdom teeth removed, hung out in the waiting room during the surgery and drove him home through a really nasty rainstorm.
     I felt a little feverish, but it was cold/flu season, and everyone seemed to have something. I wasn't concerned about it. We made it home, and I started playing nurse to Jimi, who was still out-of-it from the meds.
      There was a man installing a new front door for us that morning, and we put on quite a show for him.
     Jimi's mouth was packed with bloody gauze; I tried not to look at it. I'm not prissy about most things, but my first reaction when I see lots of blood is to look away and regain my composure, so that's what I did.
      The oral surgeon had suggested tea bags to soothe Jimi's gums when the meds started to wear off. I went into the kitchen and bent over to look for tea on the bottom shelf of the lazy Susan when suddenly, I felt faint....a little bit more than faint.
     But THAT hadn't happened in 15 years. It couldn't be. It only happened when I wasn't taking medicine, so what was going on?
     I had tunnel vision. Damn!
     Trying to reach the couch about 10 steps away, I headed for the living room but only made it halfway there. I woke up on the floor with ambulance lights shining through the window.
     It took a moment for me to recognize the man standing over me.
     I was too busy looking around for my children. Were they okay? Who was watching them while I was zoned out on the floor? Where were they?
In my mind, they were still little boys.

     I looked at the tall, young man who was trying to calm me down, the one calling me, "Mama." It was Jimi, of course, and when I realized who he was, a sense of pure bliss spread throughout me.
     That grown-up man was my son, my little Jimi! The feeling was incredible; he looked beautiful to me, perfect. I wanted to congratulate myself on a job well done.
     Panic set in again when I remembered the flashing red lights outside.
     Why was an ambulance here? It was only a seizure, right? How did the ambulance get to our house so fast? It didn't make sense.
     I kept asking the same questions over and over again, not remembering the answers, confused about why there was an ambulance in my driveway and people coming inside. Grown-up Jimi explained that I was out for longer than a few seconds this time.
     Evidently, I hit the floor with a loud thud and stayed there on my side, staring into space while Jimi and the guy installing our door discussed whether to call an ambulance. I was probably seizing for 10 minutes or so. It's hard to say. The longer you seize, the more it fries your brain.
    It felt to me like only a few seconds had passed between the time I was looking for those tea bags in the cabinet and waking up on the floor.
    Jimi's mouth was still packed with bloody cotton, so it wasn't easy to understand what he was saying. The guy working on our door probably thought we were both crazy, with me lying on the floor staring into space and Jimi calmly saying, "Oh, it's only a seizure. She does this sometimes."
    My brain tripped from past to present on Ambulance Ride #2. When someone asked a question, I had to "bring myself back" to answer. The seizure was over, but my mind was trying to find it's way back to now. That's the best way I can explain it. This state of mind is postictal confusion.
     I had not completely returned from there.
     This ambulance ride wasn't scary like the first one. There was no car accident this time. I didn't worry about why it happened or what it could mean; my body was tired, but my brain was in a happy place.
     The ambulance took me to one of those emergency places that isn't really a hospital and doctors did the usual blood tests. They covered me in a warm blanket, which made me want to curl up and sleep.
     People began calling and texting me, and I felt even better. My husband showed up, and I was released. They gave me a pregnancy test. I guess they have to do that, but still, it was funny.
     My neurologist said it was probably a fluke, a breakthrough seizure (when you are on meds but have a seizure anyway) caused by the fever and too many things stressing me out at once. I didn't need to increase my Depakote or contact the DMV. Another seizure, however, would mean no driving for six months.
     It didn't happen, and I didn't worry about it. Really, I didn't.
     My rose-tinted glasses stayed firmly in place.
     The ambulance had come in the middle of the day when most of my neighbors were at work, so my secret was safe.