Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What is Sick?

 First off, I appreciate everyone's good wishes regarding last week's event, including the fact that those  wishes often came in the form of, "Enough already!" outrage. It's nice to know everyone else is is as tired of my drama as we are.

This afternoon I did have a good seizure-follow-up appointment with my neurologist, which helped clarify the nature and origin of my electrical malfunction – he felt it was merely an indicator of ongoing healing in my brain (i.e. a reaction to scarring caused by my surgery and stroke). He was also fairly confident that the increase in my anti-seizure medication has a good chance of preventing future events. He reassured us that additional seizures would be unlikely to cause permanent damage and that if they were to occur in my sleep (as last week's did), there would be little or no need for emergent medical intervention (though Jamie did the right thing by calling an ambulance, since it was a new development for me). Over all, he wasn't able to offer much that was definitive, aside from confirming that the CAT scan taken in the ER did not show any new damage or bleeding. Mostly, he cemented the fact that the brain remains a mystery, even for someone who specializes in studying it. That's one of the reasons I've always enjoyed him as a doctor. For instance, he was genuinely tickled today when I recounted that my left arm shakes reflexively when I rub my left eye."I guess there's some kind of connection there," he said, adjusting the bow tie he always wears.

As much as I'm glad to have some level of clearance to return to my status quo, it's also been hard not to ponder the meaning of any change in my condition, going so far as waking myself during the night, only to then offer consolatory amazement at my consciousness, as if that awareness alone could stave off future attacks.

It has been frightening for the past week, being reminded of illness or weakness or however one wants to do describe my condition. While my kids know more about aneurysms and strokes than I'd prefer, it's generally easiest to say I "was sick" (past tense) in answer to questions about why I'm so slow and need a cane. It's still strange for me to think of the aneurysm and stroke as an illness or ongoing condition (and have not felt it's been a degenerative condition for quite some time). They feel like historic events or waves which swept me up and deposited me in my current state. In the ER -- when relaying my medical history -- the nurses often said I'd previously suffered a CVA (cerebrovascular accident). It's an odd term but fitting -- like I was hit by a bus. My hemipalegia, muscle spasms, and seizures are merely after effects of that accident, some horrible mistake.

So the good news is that for now I remain stable. This turn of events may put my return to driving on hold for at least three months, but the adjustment to my medication should represent adequate intervention for continuing progress. There's no need for me to curb my return to work (now fulltime in the office) or slow physical efforts. Onward and slowly, carefully upward.

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