On Shaky Ground

Love of my parents
May 14, 2009, 12:01 pm
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While we are discussing the craziness that went on with my seizure, I have to mention my wonderful parents.  They were the first people to hear about the seizure.  Imagine someone in front of you is having a seizure.  You go through the person’s purse.  Find their wallet so at least you know their name.  Find their cell and who do you call — MOM and DAD.  Of course, at least you know these people are related to them.  My parents were terrified and wanted to get to me immediately.  Problem: they live 8 hours away. 

My parents got the word at 5;05 and by 5:30 they were in the car headed this way.  Now to understand how amazing this is you have to understand my mom.  My mom is awesome, but she takes forever to pack for a trip.  She even makes lists of all of the things she will put in her suitcase before she packs so she won’t forget something.  Spur of the moment is not their thing. 

So, they hopped in the car and headed here arriving just in time for me to be released from the hospital.  All they wanted to do was see me and know that I was okay.  I was so happy they were here to take care of me.  They knew my medical history and had been with me through it all so far.  They drove me home and we all went to bed. 

The next day, my parents drove me to my doctor’s appointsments.  They were happy to hear what he had to say and offer any information they could.  The next day my dad drove me to the EEG and MRI while my mom cleaned the house (which it desperately needed – trust me).  After all of the testing, mom went to the grocery store to stock my cupboards knowing I wouldn’t be able to drive myself to do that.  They thought of everything.  Only when I got settled and I headed back to work did they go home. 

Where would I be without my parents?  I can’t put into words how much it meant to me that they came to my rescue.  They are my number one fans and the ones that tell me things I don’t always want to hear, but sometimes need to hear.  They are my friends and guide.  Thank you for your love.


Shaky Ground
May 13, 2009, 9:25 am
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While I titled my blog “On Shaky Ground” because of my seizures, I also titled it this because I my professional life has been on shaky ground this year.  I decided a few months ago to make a change to a different school.  I have been through many interviews and a lot of uncertainty.  But, I am pleased to say that I am going to be gainfully employed next year. 

I have accepted a position at a catholic school here in town and I am very excited.  I will be teaching something that I haven’t taught in a while, but I think it will be an exciting change for me.  I have gotten bored with my curriculum and my creativity has become rather stagnant.  So, hopefully it will be an awesome change.  My best friend also teaches the same course, so I am sure she will be able to help with the curriculum and ideas. 

Catholic school will be a great change for me.  I went to a catholic school and loved it.  The rules are clearcut and they expect you to enforce them.  Hooray, that doesn’t always happen in school where I am currently.  So, it is a welcomed change.  The school has mac laptops so Hubby is very excited to get to play with my new computer. 

So hopefully, the shaky ground will only apply to my seizures and not my profession.  Keep well reader.  I will be back soon.

EEGs Past and Present
May 12, 2009, 12:16 pm
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Now that you have the story of my seizure from my hubby’s point of view, I figured I would continue the story. 

The next day I went to my new neurologist’s appointment.  He believed the seizure was brought on by stress and a lowered seizure threshhold from the Cymbalta I was taking for depression.  (the depression is another story for another time – see Year from Hell for more info).  The neurologist wanted me to have an EEG and MRI the next day to make sure all was well.  So I scheduled the EEG for the next morning and luckily my husband works for a hospital and he pulled strings to get us in for an MRI the next day too. 

EEGs have come a long way over the years.  My first EEG in 1985 was done in a hospital.  Iwas in 3rd grade and terrified.  I had to stay up all night, sounds like fun, but I couldn’t have caffine or anychocolate.  My parents each took a shift and rented a bunch of fun movies.  When it finally came time for the test, they made me drink something horrible to help me sleep during the test.  They attached a bunch of stuff to my head with airplane glue and I laid there for an hour while an ancient printer fed out paper while pens moved back and forth over the paper.  Occasionally the person would circle a section on the page.  No clue what it meant.  aFter is was over, I slept like the dead (as I am sure my parents did from staying up all night).  The airplane glue took weeks to get out. 

Today’s EEGs are much better and way less scary since I am an adult.  They are typically done in a doctor’s office.  This time I didn’t have to stay up late and the electrodes were attached with an adhesive that is easily washed off with a washcloth in the doctor’s office.  It is all done on the computer and only takes 2o minutes.  Hooray for technology.  I haven’t gotten the results on that yet, but assume it was okay because I don’t go back for 2 more weeks.  Next we will look at MRIs and the next journey to stop the ground from shaky under me….

The Seizure – a husband’s perspective
This is the post my husband wrote on his blog right after my seizure.  It gives you the basics so the rest of the story will make sense. 
Hello to all! This is the hubby writing.  For those of you who don’t know us, this is a run down of what’s happened to our family during the seizure experience.

My wife had a seizure . Here is a basic run down of what happened on that day (4/27). Now, let me preface this by saying that it is from my perspective. 

Now, for the most part, my family and I had a pretty good day, but it just got a little weird. I was driving home after picking up something from my doctor when my phone rang. I saw my wife’s number on the caller ID and just answered. To my surprise, on the other end of the phone was someone working at Build-a-Bear in the mall. They told me that my wife had just had a seizure and that she was there with the paramedics.

As you can imagine, my mind was racing on all of the possibilities and being worried about her and the kids (who were with her at the time). I then talked to the paramedics, who got the typical history and brought me up to speed on the situation. She wasn’t completely oriented to where she was when she the paramedics arrived, and was going to need to go to the hospital. I was asked to make a couple of quick decisions, like what hospital to go to. The kids were safe, and they were being occupied by some firefighters that were there. Sometimes the good news about finding out about major things in the car, by yourself, is that you have your own personal breakdown time. It was my time to lose it, and when I got to the business I was pulled back together.

Then started the phone calls.

Lots of calls to friends and family, things to arrange, that kind of stuff. When I finally got to see her, there was a moment of relief for both of us. This kind of experience is one of the more frightening of my life. I rode with her in the ambulance to the hospital. Nothing quite like coming to a hospital on a busy night. We’ve had lots of experiences here that I’ll have to write about another time. During this time, my wife’s parents had been talking to the paramedics and giving her medical history (which included childhood epilepsy). They were even more amazing when they dropped everything and hopped in the car and drove to Memphis in the middle of the night. We’re talking about an eight to nine hour trip, at night, in a moment’s notice. Simply amazing, and tremendously needed.

We then spent the next seven hours at in the Emergency Department. On a side note, for folks that don’t work in a hospital, that’s what they’re really called and not “emergency rooms.” This is mostly to the fact that they are in fact made of multiple rooms. But, I digress…

My wife was a champ! She was nauseous, throwing up, had a sore jaw, nothing to eat or drink, covered in blood (by the way, I may not have mentioned that she had gashed her head when she fell), but she didn’t complain. She amazed me when our children were born, and she has never stopped amazing me since I first met her. She was put through the works. CAT Scan, blood work, waiting on a doctor (which should be an Olympic event), you name it. There were some rough moments, but for the most part it was waiting.

At 1:30 a.m., she was discharged from the hospital, which corresponded with the time that her parents got to the hospital. They took her home and put her to bed. I went to the pharmacy to fill a prescription, which is what I was picking up from the doctor’s office. So, I went to Taco Bell (hey, it’s open late), went to the pharmacy, and then went home. Bedtime for my wife and I ended up being about 2:30 a.m. and the kids got up about 5:30. Thankfully, my inlaws took the kids to school and I went off to work. Why did I go to work you ask? Well, I figured her parents could do a pretty good job taking care of her. I mean, they only raised her, and I don’t know if you’ve heard this or not, but the hospital falls apart when I’m not here (sarcasm).

Today she followed up with a neurologist and has meds to take and an EEG and MRI scheduled for tomorrow. On a side note, she can’t drive for the next six months. This will be a little bit of a challenge, but we’ll figure it out. If nothing else, we can say we’re being green for the next six months, but when Halloween roles around, just you wait, she’ll be tearing up the roads!

There were some truly fantastic people who came to our rescue when we most desperately needed it. My wife’s best friend had the dubious honor of being the first person I called. She came immediately to help me with the kids. She went one step further and took the kids home in our car (which has the car seats) and stayed with the at our house overnight. If her husband would have been in town, I would have asked him to bring me a beer, but that’s a totally different story. When we got to the hospital, we realized there were several things that we needed.  Two other good friends worked it out to bring us clothes, computers, medicine (for me), and cell phone chargers. Seriously, I cannot underplay the number of phone calls and text messages. Finally, more friends drove from the mall and brought my car from the hospital. This may not sound like that big of a deal, but it was halfway across town. We could not have gotten through the night without them, and will forever be grateful to them for rescuing us in our time of need. Needless to say, we needed a lot of help, and there were some really great people that came together to move mountains.

As I write this now, we are over 24 hours out from everything, and the world is a little calmer than it has been. It is filled with new challenges, but the most important part is that everyone is safe.

The Day After
May 4, 2009, 8:59 pm
Filed under: Et al.

So, what is the day after a grand mal seizure like – PAINFUL!!!  Imagine every muscle in your body is tense and then shaking at the same time.  Wow – what a workout.  The worst of the pain is in my jaw.  I was so happy to see my parents.  I was glad for them to go with me to the neurologist appt since this journey started when I was in 3rd grade.  I didn’t know the full story. 

Through connections at school and the ER, we got in to see a neurologist the next day.  We filled him in on my history.  Petit mal seizures were diagnosed in 1985 and I went off of the medicine in 1990 (so I could get a driver’s license).  Then I got mono in Nov. 1995 and had an allergic reaction to penicillin.  That led to a grand mal seizure in Dec. 1995.  College student who can’t drink and can’t drive – bummer.  I came off of the meds again in 2001 while I was in grad school.  No problems since then.

After hearing my history from my parents and the info that my childhood neurologist had to share, the new neurologist felt that the seizure was brought on by STRESS and a lowered seizure threshhold from the anti depressant I started back at the end of January.  I am taking Cymbalta for the depression and it has really worked for me.  I will have to spend some other posts explaining what led me to the Cymbalta.  The dr. did not think the Cymbalta was to blame.  It is so scary that stress could cause such a serious reaction in the body.  It gives me more reason to dislike my current employer. 

The neurologist also wanted me to have an EEG and MRI.  We scheduled those for the following day.  More on that post later.

First Post Coming Soon…
May 3, 2009, 7:08 pm
Filed under: Et al.

Still working on the first post.  Keep checking, it’ll be posted soon.