EMU: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Long and Unpleasant Hospital Stay!

It looks like I have a tentative date—or date range, anyway—for an admission to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at a hospital here in Toronto. Yay! Yay. Yay? Ugh.

I have, as I’ve probably made evident, conflicted emotions about this. On the one hand, it has to happen eventually, and I’ve waited a long time for it. It’s a necessary diagnostic step that will provide the clinicians in charge of my care with crucial information. Blah blah blah.

On the other, I’m afraid of what’ll happen and what they’ll find. If it turns out that there isn’t a clear focus for my seizures after all, then surgery will be off the table, and as much as my hippie parents taught me that I should love myself just the way I am, I don’t love this particular part of myself all that much. If there is a clear focus, though, I’ll have to begin making some real, adult decisions re removing a portion of my brain and stop continuing to think about surgery in abstract terms.

On a more practical note, I anticipate my hospital stay being excruciatingly boring and unpleasant. I know that I should practice positive thinking or whatever, but the last time I was in the EMU, it was for almost two weeks, and it felt like even longer. No positive thinking here. Since the whole point of this “mini-vacay” is to have a video EEG, I won’t be allowed to leave bed, or the chair next to my bed, for more than a very short period each day; even then, I won’t be able to leave the unit unaccompanied. Which, it turns out, makes sense since you’re taken off all of your anticonvulsants while you’re admitted, which renders you a ticking seizure time bomb. So yes, wandering around the gift shop alone while deciding what trashy magazines and waxy chocolate to buy yourself would just maybe be a horrible idea.

Related to the no-meds point, knowing that medical professionals are creating the conditions for you to have a seizure that they can record—i.e., that they’re hoping that you’ll have one—is kind of anxiety-provoking: for all you non-epilepsy people, imagine a doctor calling you up and being like, “we need to see how you’ll bounce back from food poisoning, so come to the hospital and eat all of this salmonella-infested steak then lounge around in this uncomfortable bed so that we can take note of your traumatizing reaction before treating you!”

OK, not a great comparison, but there’s a slight chance that you understand what I’m so unintelligently trying to express. And just as I avoid the temptation of the heavily discounted meat in the a-little-too-warm cooler at my neighbourhood No Frills, I usually expend a ton of energy warding off the demons that cause my seizures, and now I’ll be expected to welcome them into my stupid ’ol head. (I hate you, head.)

It’s one thing being in the hospital when you’re actually sick. There’ve been times that I’ve been happy to be there because I wouldn’t have felt safe being anywhere else and/or because I felt so crappy and exhausted that all I wanted to do was be fed medicine and sleep. It’s another when you’d rather be out in the real world doing your thing, whatever your thing happens to be. I don’t know what mine is, but that’s beside the point.

The purpose of my rambling, as I’m sure you’re wondering, is to say that there are many complicated thoughts swirling around my incredibly complicated and disobedient brain. And also that I expect my Toronto friends to visit. Frequently. Or else I’ll disown you. (Kidding?)

Fair warning: I’ll be grumpy and demand to be entertained.

I learned how to edit photos with one of those photo editor things that the young people of today use expressly so that I could add some negative text to this picture from my last EMU stay.
I learned how to edit photos with one of those photo editor things that the young people of today use for the sole reason that I wanted to add some negative text to this picture from my last EMU stay.

4 thoughts on “EMU: It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a Long and Unpleasant Hospital Stay!

  1. We love your head—just not the parts that make you sick or sad. I’m gonna say it again, though: We love your head! And I will visit… and bring stickers.

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