Here’s a two-parter to start 2015 right. Also because I figured I should balance the horrible negativity of the first section with some positivity in the second since it’s a new year and all.
I was about to write that I had a seizure on Tuesday, but it was actually four nights ago. The near slip of my fingers wasn’t due to one of my normal Topamax-induced memory lapses, though I’m more than happy to pin a little of the blame on my favourite scapegoat, but rather to the fact that I slept for a cumulative thirty-four or so of the thirty-six hours following the seizure, thus losing an entire day. This, my friends, is postictal on crack, to use a saying popular among the kids of today (or so I’ve observed).
Warning: if you’re really queasy, you might want to stop reading. Things are about to get a little graphic.
I know, obviously, what it’s like to be postictal. Sleeping after a seizure is normal for me, as are headaches, nausea, and vomiting. But I’d never experienced anything like this. Painkillers wouldn’t appease my pounding head, I felt so nauseated that curling up in fetal position was the only way I could achieve any degree of comfort, and I threw up fifteen or so times over the course of the night and the next day despite the fact that I hadn’t eaten anything (gross, I know). I tried getting up a few times, but it was just too hard to keep my eyes open. For a while I harboured the delusion that I’d be OK to go for dinner with friends—after all, in all my years with epilepsy, the postictal period had never lasted this long, and I really really really wanted to see them. At a certain point, however, I had to admit defeat, sending my husband and promptly falling back asleep as soon as he had left. It was only after twenty-four hours that I felt well enough to go to the living room for a bit, and a few hours later, I went back to bed and slept until morning. I woke up feeling miraculously normal-ish.
I’m not sure why I’m opting to post a blog entry about this postictal episode, which, while an anomaly in many respects, was nonetheless simply an extreme version of what I experience after every tonic-clonic seizure. Epilepsy awareness, I guess? A weird need to be brutally honest?
I recently had a conversation with a friend about how especially in “real life” but even in my blog, I tend to gloss over the worst aspects of living with epilepsy. Not always, but often. Who wants to talk or read about vomiting and headaches and confusion and hours and hours of sleeping (especially the first item in this list) in any amount of detail? If someone asks how things are going, who expects to hear, even from a close friend, “Actually, I had a seizure last night and threw up several times. My muscles are still sore from all that convulsing, and I have a residual headache. So yeah, things kinda suck right now”?
Of course, the vast majority of the time, that’s not how I want to reply: social conventions exist for a reason, and putting it all out there in every casual interaction wouldn’t be good for me or for my relationships. But there’s also something to be said for openness, in the right circumstances. The tricky thing, I suppose, is determining what these right circumstances are.
Given that I emerged from my epic slumber on Wednesday morning, which happened to be New Year’s Eve Day (yes, this is a thing), I wasn’t sure if we’d make it out that night. However, I felt better and better as the day went on, I’m incredibly stubborn, and I was determined to celebrate this year. We thus made our way to a relatively small gathering with friends.
Though I decided in advance not to drink (not a big deal—I never consume more than half a beer these days anyways) and we vowed to leave on the early side in the interest of energy-preservation, I was still a little hesitant, mostly because after such a terrible seizure only a few days previous, I couldn’t quite shake that little voice in the back of my head reminding me that it could happen again, this time in someone else’s home in front of other people, potentially ruining New Year’s Eve and, by logical extension, all of 2015 for everyone in attendance.
It didn’t. We had a great time. I rang in the New Year with MADD-branded no-alcohol sparkling wine. We got home later than we meant to, but what can you do.
Happy New Year, y’all. Thanks for making 2014 such a successful year for my blog, and I hope that 2015 brings all good things for you and your loved ones.