Sleep Deprivation for a Cause

There was a new epileptologist doctor on duty today, and she suggested that I try sleep deprivation to get the seizure train rolling. This means staying up until four in the morning, sleeping until nine, then making it through the day without naps—which, to be honest, is an only slightly shifted and shortened version of my normal sleep schedule.

Sleep-deprivation party in my room!
Sleep-deprivation party in my room!

So, it’s 1 a.m. and I’m sittin’ pretty in my hospital bed reflecting on life, love, and the past seventy-two hours in the EMU. Mostly on the past seventy-two hours in the EMU, and also on the fact that I’d really like to doze off. Which is funny, actually, since at home I’m often up at this hour covertly editing (or watching The Mindy Project) while my husband tries to convince me to come to bed.

It’s weird to be in a situation in which I’m going to significant lengths to have a seizure, a neurological event that I usually go to significant lengths to avoid. It’s also weird that I haven’t had one yet, although they’ve been less frequent lately, and I’ve only been here a few days. I guess I should be patient. Man, do I hate that word.

I’m especially fatigued because I spent most of today doing neuropsychology tests, which ranged from simple memory tests to copying pictures to evaluations of my motor skills to vocabulary tests. I found the experience interesting but also immensely frustrating, at times, since it highlighted the cognitive “issues” that I have, and who likes to be reminded that their brain doesn’t function flawlessly? I mean, don’t get me wrong: my brain functions close to flawlessly, besides its frequent malfunctions etc. In other news, it seems that the seizures have not yet defeated my competitive spirit.

In the later afternoon, I met with the neuropsychologist himself. I really liked him. Not only does he seem like a legitimately nice/cool/disconcertingly young (bordering on Doogie Howser, M.D.–territory) dude, but he had gone over some of my results and told me that I scored in the 99.9th percentile on the verbal portions of my assessments. (I’m allowing myself to brag, on this occasion, because I feel generally stupid these days due to seizure-and medication-related cognitive slowing and need the boost. Also, I’m shameless.) He didn’t specify which verbal portions, so I’ll assume all of them. He also didn’t mention specifics about the results of the other tests, which are obviously less important anyway.

In any case, he’ll tabulate all of the results and write up a full report, but for now, he said that we should hope for seizures from the right hemisphere of my brain—which is also where my abnormality is, which is great. Hurrah! Every little bit of information counts, and every bit of information that points to my seizures being linked to my lesion, which is the working hypothesis, is extra good.

I’ll admit that I was little ambivalent about the idea of surgery coming into the EMU but figured that going through the evaluations to see if I’m a candidate was the responsible thing to do. After being here a few days, I notice that I’m more pro–”cut it out” than I thought I was. If it turns out that I’m not a candidate after all, I’ll live, but if I am, I’d say there’s a 80/20 chance I’ll go ahead with with. Well, 90/10. Successful surgery would mean eventually getting off my meds, and y’all know how much I hate Topamax.


One thought on “Sleep Deprivation for a Cause

  1. Congratulations on getting through the wee hours! How was it? Thanks for keeping us in the loop. I will refrain from using the word “patient” in any of my interactions with you, unless I’m talking about a patient (noun). *hugs* See you soon!

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