Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What is a seizure?

The best definition that I can find on the web is located HERE if you don't want a full out explanation basically it is when your brain misfires.

Every second your brain is sending electrical messages back and forth throughout your brain. When someone has a seizure it misfires or jumbles signals. As if your brain were one of the old telephones, like in Little House on the Prairie where you shared a line. All day the switch board would ring and the operator would connect you to an open line. It would go smoothly until something made every housewife in the prairie pick up their phone all at once and then lots of anxious women were excitedly talking on the same line trying to connect to someone else. The operator lady would go crazy...

In our household we explain it to our little kids as a brain being silly. Her brain is so active that it just gets silly sometimes. She can't control it and so she has to take medicine to help the brain do what it is suppose to do. Right now she is on her 7th try of medicine combinations/dosages. The downfall is that she is a slave to her meds. She must take them every day at the same time or it will not work. The medicines are also very strong and they control your pathways in your brain. Dramatic stuff. The side effects are what is so trying. Her current meds have made her forget and regress. One day she actually forgot her name for 45 minutes! She knows she is not remembering stuff that she once knew and to her that is the most difficult. To my mama's heart, seeing her struggle is also difficult. She will not be in remission until she has been seizure free and medication free for one or more years (it differs by state/hospital/doctor/epilepsy group). She will not be considered in control until she has been seizure free on meds for at least 6 months and up to two years depending on the 'group.'

For now we take it one day at a time. Tomorrow I will tell you about different seizures and in a few days I will tell you about lifestyle changes. If there is anything you want to know please leave a message and I will gladly add it to my list of topics! I will also have some special guest interviews later in the month so check back and check back often.

Now for my story as to why knowing the protocol is so important!

I was in an off base nationally known pharmacy picking up meds for Avagrace when a gentleman taller and much larger than me fell backwards into a seizure. A man sitting in the chairs behind us jumped up and grabbed something from his pocket and started to shove it into the guys mouth. At which point myself and the pharmacist were yelling "no, stop!" Fortunately the pharmacist jumped over the counter and stopped the man from inserting his...get this....'un-opened pocket knife' into the guys mouth. The man thought he was doing a good thing. He thought he was controlling his tongue so he wouldn't choke on it. He was so embarrassed. The man's seizure lasted 8 long minutes and when he came out of the seizure and saw the medics he was so mad. "I am fine" he insisted. "I have been dealing with this my whole life, I am here to pick up my medication. I couldn't afford it last week!" At which point the police then became involved and the man lost his license to drive and now he probably won't be able to afford his medicine again because he will now loose his job. He was yelling that at the chops because he has been fired from several jobs because of his epilepsy and is now in construction. He said without his car and without his job he had nothing. The cops offered him a ride home as they towed his car away and he cried. He told them that he had been turned down for Social Security and had spent the maximum amount of time on food stamps and TANF (welfare). He was at a total loss and so was I. Hearing him, a grown man old enough to be my dad, sob as he sat in the middle of the pharmacy floor, over the same issue that was facing us in a very different way, broke me. So many people will say "epilepsy doesn't change your life, you can live a normal life with epilepsy" this frustrates me. Yes, of course this is the goal and yes of course it is possible. However, it is rarely the norm. Epilepsy needs your help. People suffering from this silent terror need your help too!

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