30 Years Later, My Epileptic Seizures Return with a Vengeance
August 30, 2011 10 Comments
The last time I had a grand mal seizure I was 12 years old. Wednesday night I had a pair of them that hospitalized me for three days.
Wednesday night after work I took the girls to soccer practice. At the park we spotted their grandmother/my mother-in-law and I leaned into the window of her minivan to chat. Then I went back to my car and got the gear bag, laid it out on the sidewalk, and told the girls to sit down so I could get them ready for practice.
They sat on the sidewalk and I leaned over them and put on their shoes, socks, and shinguards. Once five year old Natalie was ready I sent her on to the practice field. Then I got six year old Katie in uniform.
Once Katie was dressed I stood up straight. That’s when I passed out cold. My mother-in-law tells me I didn’t even put my hands out in front of me the way a falling person normally would – I telephonepoled face first into the ground. It’s a miracle I fractured my nose instead of breaking it.
It was after I hit the ground that I started seizing. Two of the parents were a nurse and an EMT. The coach recognized what was happening and kept the girls on the field practicing soccer; Natalie never knew what happened. My mother-in-law called 911 and handed the phone to my wife since she didn’t know that part of Maryville.
An ambulance took me to the ER, where I had another grand mal seizure a few hour later. My poor wife must have have been going out of her mind. She saw me with blood streaming out of my eyes, like the tears of a vampire.
Why now after all these years?
One of the first things I learned about epilepsy when I was a kid was that my older brother – 13 years my senior – starting having spells at the same age as me. He eventually outgrew them. I always assumed I would, too. I quit taking my phenobarbital some time in my late teens. My brother is in his mid-fifties now and has never had a relapse. So why did I?
Being bent over for a prolonged period as I was and then standing up could have caused me to lose consciousness. That in turn could have caused me to hit my head which could have caused the seizure.
There’s another possible explanation. It turns out that a medication I started 10 days previously lowers the seizure threshold and so does a medicine I’ve been on for a couple of years. It had been so long since I had seized I no longer thought of myself as epileptic and didn’t mention such things to my doctors. I’m off both medicines now and on anti-seizure medicine my doctor wants me to take for a couple of years.
I’ll probably never know if the fall called the seizure, or if the seizure caused the fall. An MRI, EEG, and blood work all came back normal. That is in fact great news. Another one of my doctor’s recent patients who had seizures out of the blue had a brain tumor.
In Tennessee you can’t drive for six months after you’ve had a seizure. The doctors tell me I might be able to shorten that with a note from a neurologist and an appeal. Until then I’m going to stay close to home and get back to basics for a while.