I indulged in some good old-fashioned sulking on Wednesday. My (truly lovely) in-laws were visiting from North Carolina, and we drove to Muskoka for a few nights, staying in a delightfully kitschy motel, exploring the surrounding area, and spending a day in Algonquin Park.
The plan was to go canoeing. As we approached the portage store, it suddenly occurred to my husband that it might not be safe for me to be out on the lake. You know, because of seizures and stuff. So the decision was made that I’d stay behind while everyone else went out for a few hours.
I thought I was OK with being excluded—who wants to canoe in one of Canada’s most beautiful tracts of wilderness, anyway? But as soon as they paddled away, an unexpected wave of emotion swept over me. Grief, anger. Dejection. To put it rather inelegantly, sitting on the shore, unable to participate in an activity I had been looking forward to, particularly when the rest of the group was partaking, sucked. So I did what any reasonable person would: went on a passive-aggressive solo hike and bought an over-priced t-shirt, carefully avoiding any garment bearing a stylized canoe.
I realize that my reaction was unwarranted. I had encouraged the others not to let me spoil their fun. I should have anticipated that my uncharacteristically positive attitude was bound to take a one-eighty. Yet as the boating incident was followed by a swimming one, this piercing feeling of injustice grew to unmanageable proportions. I held things together until we got back to the motel, at which point I collapsed on the pilled duvet and cried.
And my memory of what followed is first a black gap, then spotty. I remember the blurry faces of the paramedics. I remember being pleased that one of them looked a little like Ryan Gosling. I remember the doctor assuring me that whatever he was putting in my IV would prevent any further seizures, that I’d experienced status epilepticus, and that I should rest until my husband came back. I remember being relieved that I happened to be wearing my nice sweatpants.
They let me go the next morning on the condition I contact my neurologist as soon as I got back to Toronto and go to the ER if I couldn’t reach him. I couldn’t reach him. I didn’t go to the ER. Instead, I slept on and off for the rest of the day, and the next one.
I’ve felt kind of weird ever since. Physically drained, a little fuzzy, very frustrated, and, to be honest, scared. Freaking myself out by obsessively reading about status epilepticus mortality rates and the potential for brain damage hasn’t been an incredibly productive means of inching towards full recovery. So I’m trying to take it easy and lay off the medical journal articles. Sometimes my academic instincts work against me.