Last night, my husband found me unconscious on our kitchen floor. When I didn’t become reactive in a timely manner, he called 911.
A dramatic opening for a blog post, I know, but it’s the simple truth, and epilepsy is a drama queen of a chronic illness when it wants to be.
I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details of the ordeal for several reasons, not least of which being that I don’t remember much of what happened. The gist is that I was unresponsive for longer than I’ve ever been following a seizure, then non-verbal for longer than is typical for me. Though we were originally told that I’d be admitted for monitoring and for my medication to be adjusted under the direct supervision of a professional, in a safe environment, they eventually (at 5 AM) decided to discharge me.
I of course hate going to the ER, even when I’m later able to acknowledge that it was the right thing to do. We’ve never really had a bad experience—the doctors and nurses are, generally speaking, exceptionally friendly and respectful—but who wants to be poked and prodded, reminded of one’s neurological deficits? And on this occasion there were, as is inevitable, uncomfortable negatives that I shouldn’t complain about but will: for example, the nurse who had trouble finding a vein for an IV (I have a clear memory of her saying “that one blew; I’m going to have to try the other arm”) and my bruised and painful chest/sternum, the result of some paramedic-performed procedure.
What felt a little different this time may seem a bit weird, but bear with me. In short, the doctor, a resident, in charge of my case was unequivocal about the fact that the number of seizures I’ve been having lately is not OK, dangerous, even, and that a better solution is needed. That validation that what I’m going through isn’t easy, which also functioned as a sort of reality check—you mean, this isn’t how most people live?!?!?!?—was more important to me than I might’ve predicted it would be.
My husband and I arrived home around 5:15 in the morning and were greeted by evidence of the paramedics’ earlier presence: discarded medical packaging on the kitchen floor; shoes strewn everywhere at the bottom of the stairs, clumsily thrown back after they had been removed to make way for a stretcher. But six hours after the initial crisis, things had returned to close to this week’s baseline. It was time for sleep, thankfully in our own bed.