From Seizures to Brain Surgery and Beyond...
If someone ever says you need this just like you need another hole in the head feel free to relay this story to them.
Its amazing how many times you see something and ignore it.
Or say that will never happen to me.
What if it does happen to you.
Will you wonder why me?
Why did I not see this coming?
What could I have done so that this would not have happened?
Its amazing how many things happen to us that just slip by.
It is also amazing the things that happened that we can not let slip by.
With that said I will now relay how something I was seeing stopped passing me by.
(When I saw this posted at a local HSBC I almost wanted to walk out with it.)
Have you ever had a seizure?
Do you know anyone that has had a seizure?
A little bit of history.
Or my life before seizures - or so I thought.
When I was ten months old I fall out of my highchair. Unlike today there were no straps to help hold a child in place. At that point I was in the hospital for ten weeks. My understanding was I was temporary blind. My Grandfather would use his lighter and move it around to see if I would follow. The answer is no I wouldn't. I would just continue to stare off. There was also a possibility that I soul have go have brain surgery as there was a large build up of fluids. Turns out the fluids drained on there own. And my vision soon came back.
Going forward a few years I had to wear a patch over my right eye to force the left eve to work harder and help restore vision. Pirate Paig is here. The hard part was taking it off. These were the kind that had adhesive all the way around the border. At times I am surprised that I still have the eyebrow and eye lashes on the right side. I finally was able to use the kind of patch that had the strap that went around the head. No more sticky stuff.
Again a few years later it was time for an eye exam. There were two light dots in the wall. What's supposed to have happen was with one eye covered there would be one color seen. Each eye had its own color. But with booth eyes used the dots should combine to form one dot of a different color. Guess who was seeing all three dots? The optometrists wondered if I was a chameleon.
What I thought was my first seizure.
It was 1998 some time in the summer. The company that I work for was having a picnic and I agreed to help cover their help desk. I called the other person on support with me to let him know I was going to lunch. This was a short walk across the street to a Taco Bell where they knew me by name. The next thing I know I am looking up at two large men in orange outfits. It seams that I had a seizure. I did not feel it coming on. It turns our that one of my co-workers that was not scheduled to work that day had to come in and get something off of his desk. Which just happened to be outside my office. It also turns out he was a paramedic. Hmm someone was looking out for me you say. But wait it gets better. There was a hospital just 5 minutes away. They did some scans of my brain and did not spot anything. When my wife looked at the x-rays she said what is that and pointed? Turns out that is what the doctors were looking for. They had found some scar tissue that appeared to be causing the seizures. So at this point they new the cause. Fixing it was the next step. They ran a few testes and placed me on daily meds. This took a little while for my body to adjust to. And a little time for my family to also adjust to. I was not able to drive but luckily a friend from church was a fellow employee and I was able to get rides from him.
Time to get my head examened.
Or a ten day testing to bring on seizures.
The old saying - "You should get your head examined" could not have been any more true for me.
Actually after a few years of changing meds and still having seizures my doctors had me check into the hospital for ten days of testing. What this entailed was having wires strapped to my head 24/7 for ten days. They took me off of my medications to induce seizures. This was fuuunnn. I am glad they said to shower before coming in. Forget washing my hair. From my windows I was able to see an air show at a local airport that helped take up my time for a couple of days. But most of the time was waiting. When I though I felt a seizure coming on I pressed the call button and the lights would come on and in would come the nurse. She would mark the print out and make sure I was ok. I also had to call them when I wanted to plug in a laptop otherwise the print out of my scan would go completely black not just lines. Let me tell you when those connections came off a shower was much appreciated. Not to mention being able to walk around without wires strapped to me.
There was another test that they did. This was showing me several pictures. I had to run through them several times and identify them. This was in preparation for brain surgery. These same pictures would be used for testing purposes during surgery. There will be more on this later.
At this point I should also mention that I am appreciative to my church family for their visits.
About six years after the first seizure...
About six years later. And what I though was my first seizure the doctors said, "We think that brain surgery might help remove those seizures." So I got ready for surgery. Top of the list - lots of prayer. When I checked into the hospital the first thing was preparation. Yes you guessed it they shaved me bald. The person knew what they were doing as there were no nicks or scratches that I could see or feel. Side note I have always tended to prefer my hair longer. (The wife met me when it was halfway down my back.) OK the ping pong ball was then taken into surgery. I let them know to not knock me out do not use gas. I remember seeing the needle on my arm and that was it. The next thing I know I am awake again and my head's strapped into what feels like a vice.Actually ,it was a sort of vice. Its designed to keep the patients from moving their heads. At this point they brought out the pictures again and ran through them with me. As they were asking me what the pictures were the doctor was testing my brain to see how it changed my responses. I remember one picture that I had an answer for in my had but I could not get my mouth to say the answer. After the picture testing I was out again.7 hours later and the surgery was over. To me it only felt like a few minutes. To my family it was an eternity. As a side note the doctor said I was one of the best patients for staying still. With some of the other patients they had to hold them still during the testing process. Any way I was still bald and now had 43 staples in my head. While in recovery I had a new kind of seizure that only went on for a couple of days than was gone. The medical staff had said that they wanted me to get up and walk at least three times a day. It turns out that they had to tell me to stop. It also happened that they threw me out early because I was recovering so well.
After the brain surgery.
Its interesting how many people will reach out and pray for you during a time such as this. To my knowledge there were at least seven different churches doing so. Its also interesting walking around with something on your head to cover up the staples. There maybe a different name for those but I am unsure what that would be. I just know the doctors wanted me to get out and walk. And walk I did. To the point of having people tell me to sit down and take a break. Of course I didn't always tell them that I'm tired. Falling asleep on the couch gave that away.
Getting the staples taken out was interesting. My dad was there as were my two oldest kids and an intern who was learning about removing the staples. Dad was the driver, the kids showed an interest to see dad get the metal removed from his head. And the intern was there to learn about taking those things out. The intern was able to remove 40 of the 43 staples. The last three were hurting so I had the doctor take them out.
As I had mentioned earlier, a couple of times I had thought that my first seizure was at work. I found out, if I am correct, it was when the staples came out, that I had a seizure shortly after falling out of my high chair. This was when I was ten months old. There were no others until that day at work.
Going further into the future my neurologist said you are doing much better. Go and get a job. So I went back to my former place of employment. Its amazing how people will treat you. I walked in the door and the receptionist stood up, came around the desk and gave me a hug. See she had been with the company when I had to stop working and was glad to see me back. I then filled out some paper work and had taken three steps out the door when she ran out and called me back in for an interview. (If you look at my posting on ties you will see the one I was waring when I had gotten hired back.) I had been with the same company for the next eight years.
After about a year of no seizures the neurologist said talk to the state and see if you can get your license back. When one has seizures it is best not to be driving. To prove this several years before I had ridden my bicycle to the local DMV and said, "Hi I am having seizures, do you need me to turn in my license?" It took them a few minutes to respond after their jaws dropped. They're surprised that someone would come in and voluntary turn in their license. I let them know that while growing up a family across the street from me lost their dad / husband because he had seizures. He had not turned in his license. I did not want my family to go through the same thing. Bring it back now to the you can have your license back. I went to the state and they gave me approval to get my license. I once again went into a local DMV and let them know what the situation was and what I had just told you about turning in my license. I though that I would have to get my permit again and take the drivers test again. Much to my surprise the lady smiled at me and said go over there and get your picture taken. This time my jaw dropped. They were going to just renew my license. At that point my friend who had been driving me to work gave me the keys and said your turn to drive. (Another side note I will soon be teaching our second child how to drive.)
OK I am working and can drive. I have also not had any seizures for many years now. But having gone through this I am still using my experiences with seizures. How you ask? I have been able to work with others that are having seizures and their families. They look at me and don't see the staple marks. They look at me and say we didn't know you had seizures. But living through the different steps listed here I am able to share with those around me. Its interesting how when we go through something we wonder why? Then out of the blue something will happen and pow right in the kisser you know why. It goes from something negative to something positive.