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David W.


Surprise! It’s Not Over Yet

So there I was, in the place where I was most happy, at the city library, with an arm-load of books, both borrowed from the library and selected from the used books pile (which intended to buy, something,  which makes very happy!). When, out of nowhere, my right arm started randomly trembling; I had time to think “oh no, here we go again.” I had no warming other than that, except for feeling of light-headiness, and thinking I should sit down, and I took one step toward the door then my knees buckled, just before I black out I remember my head hitting the floor (hard) and books flew everywhere.

What was it? I knew when I came to, it was an epileptic seizure. I was third such seizure I have had. Why? It relates to my ischemic stroke 18 months ago. The part my brain that was damaged, was left with scar tissue (i.e. a “lesion”); the neuronal wiring that runs through my brain it was essential “shorted-circuited ”; hence, it causing an electric “storm” in my brain.  Epilepsy is common in stroke survivors, and since November Epilepsy awareness month (http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/getinvolved/neam/ ), I though take this opportunity to update on my rehabilitation from my stroke and to discuss Epilepsy.

First, what is Epilepsy? According to Mayo Clinic

Is a central nervous system disorder (neurological disorder) in which the nerve cell activity in your brain is disturbed, causing a seizure during which you experience abnormal behavior, symptoms and sensations, including loss of consciousness.

First let’s not confuse having a stroke with an Epileptic seizure here is a video which will explain it:

In fact, a starting 1 in 26 Americans will have to cope with Epilepsy in their lifetime
(http://www.epilepsyfoundation.org/livingwithepilepsy/onein26/ )

What causes it?  A wide variety of things: in infants and children; birth defects, infections; in adults, especially the elderly, brain tumors, and strokes. (Again from the Mayo Clinic):  Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs. About 1 in 100 will have an unexplained seizure, which does not mean the person has Epilepsy.  Epilepsy by definition means having more than one seizure. Fortunately, children often outgrow it for unexplained reasons.

Obviously, unpredictable seizure activity represents a danger to the person, and a real hindrance to daily life.  Anti-seizure medication is making possible a more normal life for many (e.g.  doctors, lawyers, scientists and professionals, teachers, etc.; so there is hope for those who diagnosed with this disorder).

Never did I imagine I would have to deal with have deal with Epilepsy.  Alas, here I am.  Anywhere between 10% of stoke patients will experience Epilepsy
(http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=781335), depending on
location of lesion within brain.

Make no mistake--I was lucky! I had a seizure in a public place.  (Of course I would be luckier still, if had been wearing a football helmet!). There was a nurse present in the library and she took charge, lucky for me she knew what to do.  I never got to thank her (I was no shape to ask her, but perhaps she will see this).  Basically you should nterfere with a person who is having a seizure, don’t try restraint him/her. Thankfully, I didn’t bite my tongue or wet my pants (both of which I have experienced in the past). The EMS was there too, apparently the library staff called them.  As turn out I didn’t an ambulance (although the doctor told me when you crack as hard I did better to check a concussion or brain bleeding). I had a note in my wallet indicting that I had epilepsy, and what prescription drug I take; but I had to wake up, before I could tell anyone
it about it. 

So I resolved, I going to wear a Medic–Alert bracelet it has a tiny note folded up inside with the same information had in my wallet.  Simple you say, wear the bracelet, right?  No not so, you feel conspicuous, like, “hey look it at me, I’m weak!” Oh well, as they say Pride goes before a fall. (literally!)

So, how is my recovery/rehabilitation from stroke going?  Still weak on the left side, still can’t type with the left hand. Still a bit dyslexic. Still can’t work, still can’t drive.  Those the adjustments that I simply must make.  Still Dysrathric in my speech, still not able to carry on a conversation. But it is okay, when I go to sleep I can speak, and drive, and run, all the things I can’t do now.  I am thankful for that.  And honestly I am grateful to have these challenges.  Why?

Because get to wake up every morning and my family I that love them.



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