Epilepsy or 'Madness' Petit Mal - How Manage the Malady
What is Petit Mal
This is one of those Neurological "disorders" that occur in a vast majority of people. You can Google it, and find out exactly what it is and medical discussions about it.
That is not what I am writing about, as it is only about my particular experiences, and how it has affected me and my daily life.
If some of the hypothesis about Vincent Van Gogh is true, then he suffered from Grand Mal, which debilitated him and eventually had him in an insane asylum. If you have ever read or studied some of the artist and their contemporaries, both Petit and Grand Mall, was very common, probably brought on by the abuse of Absinthe, a "tipple" of choice in those quarters of Gay Paree.
His art which now sells for vasts sums of money, did not bring him a cent while he lived. So genius is oft only recognised long after his/her demise.
How it Came about
Well I a year ago I was diagnosed with "Little Madness".
Fathersday 2010, having a late breakfast with Cecilia, my wife, in one my favourite "Brunchfest" type of place, and to put it mildly I spaced out, hands trembling, eyes looking upwards, then realised that Cee was actually talking to me some stranger was holding me upright in my chair, I still had my knife and fork in my hands.
Well not to labour on those embarassing moments, suffice to say I was bundled off and taken to the nearby Hospital.
At the hospital, the took the BP and all that preamble, ECG, etc. Then they trundled me off to have a CAT scan. The bundled me off to the ward dumped me in the bed, and ran the usual batteries of medical data height weight dentures allegies et al. Then came the nurse with those dinky little wrist strap bangles telling who you are and what ward you are in, then out comes another one of these in a dayglo colour, with the word "Epilepsy" emblazoned on it.
I went into denial, stating that I am Not an Epiletic, nor had I ever suffered from it.
Not to bore you with the details of my sojourn and tests that I had, the Neurosurgeon stated that I was PETIT MAL.
On the lighter side, this did not come as shock, as quite a lot of friends, family both current and former associates would have suspected, guessed as much a long time ago. That this actual diagnosis from the Medical Specialist, confirmed there suspicions.
I was still in denial did not accept the verdict of the first Specialist.
Hey I was not convulsing! Foaming at the mouth. Biting my tongue off or anything like that. No they had it all wrong, THEY HAD IT ALL WRONG. The Neurologist, the technicians handling the CAT scans, as well as MRI equipment was faulty, the technician, that wired up my head with electrodes and connected me to a laptop, strobed my shut eyes, they and the phycologist's half hour gentle interrogation, all of them had it all wrong.
When the the Specialist, started to explain what I cannot do, the limitations imposed was like steel bars encircling me. I became a prisoner in my own home.
The Neurosurgeon/Neurologist, that gave me a second opinion.
Stated what I could and could not do,
The nice part, he told that I should be in bed early, as my body needs, not eight but 9 hours sleep, cool I could live with that, except the best TV is only after ten at night.
Now for the fun parts, No hitting the discos and show bars every other night, as the strobe effects that are used there do something or other to the brain sensors and can trip off another episode.
So that sort of includes staying away from the Casinos as most othe newer machines flash away and flicker, as well as being under neon tubes as backlights.
My Bottles of wine, gather even more dust and cobwebs, the levels in my Kilbeggan, Jameson's and Bush mills have not altered, as I cannot drink. It seems that alcohol causes a bit of problem with the meds, personally I think they are being a bit of a killjoy.
Mobility becomes a problem, under South African law, im Not allowed to drive or operate a motor vehicle during this period. Now what can a person do without a car, especially a sixty year old, walk hey that is a bit risky as our neighbourhood is quiet in the day and there is a fair crime rate, especialy when the see a grey haired individual.
No handling any machinery. The joke i that I found that my camera, is heavy machinery. I now have such camera shake with the 55mm lens, so now I use a tripod to do any photographs. Bang goes my street photography and quick grab shots.
The above is how I viewed my life after I had stabilised, then two years incident free. It was as if I was imprisoned. I had Epilepsy.
A Whole New World
As the medicines started to do there work, and my mood swings, lessened, I calmed down to a certain extent.
I srumbled upon a Facebook Site which was peopled by former colleges, mostly my peers and some younger than me some older.
I remember some of my skills, lectures and man management tools that had stood in me in good stead while manageing tasks, peoplesand projects.
It was no longer a perimeter, but rather a different set of parameters that I had to realise, develope harness and master.
How Do I Get To Paris
Standing in the middle of the Sahar, I asked that question of a passing Bedion.
His reply was,"You are on the wrong road entirely"!
What I needed to do was get onto the right road, with a negative, woe is me attitude, I would not get to Dakar, let alone anywhere near Paris.
So I looked at and listened to the Specialist.
I slowed down, I avoided the known trigger points, flashing lights . By minimising the time on the computer to several stretches of an hour.
Do a bit of photography, you will be amazed what photo opportunities are in your back yard. play around for short periods with Photoshop.
Cook the meals feed the dogs etc.
Rake in a bit of exercise, using my own body as weights.
As For Driving
Before the onset of epilepsy, I was already startiing to find that I was slowing down a tad bit. My peripheral visionwas not what it was.
Reaction time, well that is an off and on situation,if I am driving, it is slow! If I am a passangerit is a whole lot faster.
So it is not such a drag, besides which, the cost of driving around without having a specific destination in mind is a bit futile, the costs mount up!
I Am Not Caged - I am Free
I am alive and well, I have a controllable malady, which, with proper medication, will be corrected.
If I follow the regime', it will be sooner, if I fight against it, rant and rave! It will also get better - only a lot further down the road.