There were reasons I was going to write about a grand mal seizure. Heck, I still have the reasons: I feel like it and it's on my mind. I say "it" because I only had one and it was some time ago. But they say I did a bang-up job of it.
My sister told me, "I woke you up to tell you it was time to go to the horse show, and you stood there and said you had a headache and wouldn't make it. Made me mad, actually. Then you keeled over and it's good my husband was there to catch you."
I remember the headache. Worst one I've ever had, truly crippling. I didn't want to disappoint my sister and her husband though. After all, my daughter and I were staying with them for an unspecified length of time. I'd even grown fond of the friggin horse shows.
The memory that's most embarrassing is a big sign the seizure isn't a small one -- loss of control of the bladder. Check. Tremors. Check. And I guess you stick out your tongue and your eyes go kinda googly, at least that happened to me. Check.
Later, much later, my sister told me more about it.
"We put you in our bed and called an ambulance," she said. "You just stayed there, staring at the ceiling like nobody was around you, and we all were. Except I took the kids out pretty quick. Took 'em to another room and said you'd be okay. I was scared by then."
Her husband said, "When the ambulance showed up, the medics came in and asked you two questions and you got them both wrong. They said, 'What day of the week is it?' and you said 'Tuesday.' It was Saturday. They said, 'Where are you?' and you said, 'Your house,' like the man was crazy 'cause he didn't know that already."
I still don't recall all that. Not the ambulance nor the hospital, not at first.
They gave me a CAT scan and that's when I sorta came around. Damned uncomfortable. And I guess I got spaced out again, 'cause I don't remember anything else but being told to go to a neurologist, that the CAT scan showed nothing very abnormal. Just a little scar on my brain. Ha! Nothing to worry about. They asked me a lotta questions I don't recall and released me.
There were two neurologists, or a teacher and a student. One sat behind a big desk and the other stood. The desk doc talked.
"I'm going to go down a list of drugs that may cause this reaction if used improperly. Just answer 'yes' or 'no.'" And he ran down the list like a mouse in a maze.
When he got to valium, I said, "Yes, that one."
He steepled his fingers and asked, "What kind did you take and for how long?"
"Seriously? A coupla weeks I guess. I took the blue ones."
"Oh, about ten a day, I think."
The doctors both looked at each other as if I'd farted really loud.
The desk doc said, "That's it. How did you stop taking them...or have you?"
"Oh yeah. I quit taking those six months ago. I realized they were having a bad effect on me taking care of my kid so I dumped the whole bottle of 'em in the toilet."
More doctor eye contact. And I wasn't farting. Really.
Then the desk doc said, "Stopping that dose of valium so suddenly will cause a grand mal seizure. That's what caused yours. You can expect...."
"Wait. Six months later?!" I said.
"Yes, definitely. You won't be able to drive for six months now, that's the law. But the good news is, if you stay away from drugs like that you'll probably never have a seizure again." He stood. "Take care of yourself now. And your child."
I was dismissed.
But the event stays with me when I hear about others' troubles or feel everything is rotten and will always be that way. I cleaned up my act and can truly say all is well now, even when everything seems rotten. It really isn't. All it takes is a reality check, if you know what I mean. Hope you do.