If anyone has ever suffered seizures, or knows someone that has, I have shared my observations from a journal I am keeping...
Time, date, and duration are close estimates
I had been feeling unwell for several days. A general malaise, muscle aches, fatigue, headache (up to a 3) on the right side of my head. While I did not take my temperature, I felt like I might have been slightly feverish. Just a general feeling of being unwell. I was taking aspirin which would help. I assumed I had a minor flu-like condition. Over the past 21 days, I had a Mohs surgery performed on the vertex of my scalp. It was large enough to require a small skin flap. The work was all done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. There was a small donor site used nearby. The stitches and staples were removed October 21. While the main defect was freely draining clear fluid, my dermatologist looked at this on November 1 and advised that it appeared to be healing with no sign of infection. I was given instructions to keep clean. I don’t remember the date but when I was a baby, I was in a car accident. I was approximately 6 months old. I had to undergo a procedure to relieve a subdural hematoma. 2 burr holes were drilled into my scalp on the left and right frontal areas approximately 1/3 of the way back from the front of my head. Both sites are covered with skin/hair and present as dented areas. The incidents began on 2NOV2019.
I woke up feeling somewhat unwell as explained above. I took aspirin for relief. While my appetite was poor, I ate a normal breakfast. I drink black coffee daily and had my usual quantity of 2 cups. My son, Tim, needed some help with errands. I helped him and there would be nothing remarkable to report. I came home and considered riding my bicycle. I was feeling tired, however, and decided to lay down and nap a bit. I napped about 45 minutes. When I woke up, I decided to get some take-out lunch and do a little shopping.
Saturday, 2NOV2019 11AM
I was driving to Longs. Shortly before I got there, I experienced a feeling of anxiety. While it was not particularly strong or frightening, I would describe it as a feeling of unreasonable fear. Within 10 seconds my left leg was lightly, rhythmically, and involuntarily, twitching. While it was not severe enough to affect my ability to drive, I parked the car as soon as I safely could. The episode passed in less than 5 minutes. I thought I might have had a mini stroke and was moving my limbs, smiled ok, and felt normal. I was parked close enough to Longs and determined to try and do my shopping. I went into the store, I felt normal, and did my shopping with no further incident. Perhaps, foolishly, I thought I just had a bit of a glitch.
Saturday, 2NOV2019 1145AM
I was in Target. I had completed my shopping and was in the self-checkout scanning items. The way the machine works at Target, an associate must scan quantities of loose tomatoes. It is easier to just ask for help. Right before I got to the tomatoes, I had a feeling of anxiety similar to the one previously described. When I tried to speak, I stuttered. I have never had any appreciable impediment with speech in my life. I knew what I wanted to say but I could not get the words out. It was a repeated fragment. I wanted to say, “Can you please help me scan tomatoes?” It came out as “Ca- ca- can you- you”. The clerk knew what I wanted and completed my thought for me.
I knew at this point I needed help. I felt my leg begin to twitch. I was able to stutter out, “Call 911”. A bystander helped me sit down, and eventually lie down. My arm became involved. Both limbs were twitching quite vigorously. I had no voluntary motor control over them. I was conscious, able to comprehend. I could answer simple questions with difficulty because of the stuttering. A security associate with Target came over. Told everyone that he had some medic training. He explained that it looked like I was having a seizure. There was nothing they could do except keep things away from me. People were instructed not to touch me or approach me. He reassured me. He explained that it looked like I was having a seizure and that I just had to ride it out. It would likely last about 5 minutes. He was obviously a veteran and I really respected the “ride it out” statement. The episode gradually eased and stopped after about 5 minutes. I had a feeling of numbness in my left foot and could not move my left leg or left arm. I was able to talk without stuttering but it was with difficulty. I was able to respond appropriately to questions regarding who I was, where I was, what happened and so on. My leg and arm functions began to slowly return within a few minutes.
The ambulance came and I was, again, able to respond appropriately to questions about my personal and medical history. The ride to the hospital was uneventful. In the ER, I went over medical history and was able to understand and respond appropriately to questions. I was able to move my left limbs and a quick neurological assessment showed nothing remarkable. I had full strength and mobility on both sides. I believe they began an IV with antibiotics and anti-seizure medication at this time.
The ER doctor came in and explained that he was confident I did not have a stroke but, rather, seizures. He further explained that because the symptoms were focal to the left side of my body, they would be looking at the right hemisphere of my brain. Lab work came back and there were indications of an infection due to blood work. Based upon my explanation of symptoms the doctor suspected meningitis. I was going to get a CT scan to help further the diagnosis. I was wheeled into CT. On the way there, I had an anxiety attack similar to what had been experienced. I was able to stutter out that I was going to have an incident. My leg and arm began twitching. This was the most violent episode yet. The twitching was painful and lifting the left side of my body. I tried grabbing my left arm with my right arm to stop it and pulled myself on my side. I was conscious throughout the episode. I remembered that all I could do was ride it out and I was now convinced. The episode subsided after about 5 minutes. Once again, after a few more minutes, I had full mobility and voluntary control of my left limbs. The ER doctor explained that the process of seizing can be compared to rebooting a computer and it takes a few minutes for everything to get back to normal.
The CT scan presented nothing remarkable. I underwent an MRI and there was no incident. I was in the ER room talking with my daughter and I felt an anxiety attack, once again, similar to previous experience. My daughter asked, “Dad?” and I did not respond because I was trying to will myself not to have an episode in front of her. She asked “Dad?” again and then pressed the call button when I did not respond. When I did talk, I stuttered. My leg began to twitch. The incident lasted about 30 seconds. The leg twitching was not particularly violent and I had full feeling and function after the incident. My daughter explained that right before the seizure my face went blank like turning off a screen.
I was feeling much better. The meningitis was looking to be viral in nature after cultures started coming back negative. The opinion was that scar tissue from the burr hole was pressing upon my brain. No incidents until this one. The nurse came in and was demonstrating some Flamenco rhythms to me via clapping hands. I was particularly interested and following along. I felt excitement and stuttered when I talked. I became frustrated with myself because of the stuttering. I remembered ride it out. I stopped trying to talk, organized my thoughts in my head, and tried talking again when I felt like it might work. My speech was normal after this effort. The incident lasted approximately 15 seconds and there was no limbic involvement. I distinctly remember attempting, and being able, to operate my left arm and leg while stuttering.
As of this writing, I have come home. I ran a few errands and have interacted with family and friends both online and in person. I have been out in public. No incidents so far. I return to work today. If there are further incidents, I will journal them.
Reading this article really made me realize the dramatic change that has occurred here on the Big island. I have lived in Hawaii since 1989 and Kilauea was always erupting. The air indeed is much clearer than it has been in years. Particularly in Kona on the Big Island.
I ride my bike down here frequently and the changes are indeed dramatic. Many of the spots mentioned, I have visited and have seen things no one will ever see like the hot ponds. There are now new places and landscapes to explore which is also exciting to me.
I would like to comment on a product that is based in the USA, OttoLock. http://ottodesignworks.com
First pleasant surprise is that they are based in the United States and claim to manufacture their products in the United States. I was looking for a bike lock that didn't weigh a lot to lock up when I stop for coffee, lunch, and so on. Fiare has a Kryptonite U-Lock that I can mount on the frame. While it is a solid lock and I can leave unattended for a short period, it is heavy...
With Kokopelli, I am working on travelling light. I know that any lock I get that compromises on weight will simply not be as secure. One quote I found is that "I can offer cheap, light, or strong, pick two" to be apt.
I came upon the Cinchlock which is just some stainless steel bands wrapped in kevlar, coated in a cut resistant plastic and set up as an oversized zip-tie. There is a combination lock that allows you to open the band. It is very light and the idea is to stop an opportunity theft like grab and go. If someone has a few minutes alone, it can be cut with snips or a hacksaw. Really just for cafe stops.
I ordered mine and received it. It was less than I expected as far as the lock mechanism seemed flimsy. The combo wheels were loose and it just did not have a good feel. I managed to lock it (not on my bike, just testing) and then found it would not unlock.
In frustration, I beat the mechanism with a hammer, threw it away, wrote a bad review, and was ready to move on.
I did like the idea of the lock and decided to communicate my experience with the manufacturer. I left feedback and quickly received the automatic "we will be in touch with you email".
The next day, Tammy emailed me, and we began a correspondence. I was, as expected, asked to return the lock so they could determine what was wrong with it. I had to admit my dumb action and fully expected, "Sorry we can't help you". I would not be disappointed in that.
To my surprise she sent an email that showed her belief in the product and empathizing with my frustration. She insisted on sending me a new lock, the latest model. She explained that earlier production models did have some problems with the mechanism and they were using different and better components. It was possible I received some overstock or simply a defective one.
I then felt bad because they did not have a fair opportunity to correct this and offered to buy a new lock or to donate to a charity that they would support.
That offer was declined, she wanted to send me a new lock at no further charge. You don't often find service like that anymore. I am interested to see if I have a better experience with the new lock.
To make this right, I plan to donate the purchase price of the lock to my Rotary club.
Two families join. Will the Father in laws like each other? Will Nana like Dad? Will the lovebirds have all the right paperwork?
Thursday, September 27, 2018:
For Kala and I the day to leave Hilo has finally arrived. Work and school projects caught up as best as they can be. House as ready as it is going to get. Packed. Documents in hand like birth certificate and Social Security card for the bride, tickets, hotel, and rental car set!
We flew out of Kona since we save over $200 for some odd reason. This means a 90 minute drive from Hilo to start the trip. I offer to take Tim and Kala out to dinner before we leave. We go to our first restaurant, get seated, get water, are told the server will be right with us, then get ignored. I declared I would leave if I finish my water and no one serves us. No offer for drinks or anything. I finish my water and we leave. They thank us as we leave!
Off to Hilo Burger Joint. We are seated and have drinks in under 2 minutes. Unbeknownst to me, trouble has been brewing on the horizon. Nick's parent's decided today (right before they have to leave too) would be a perfect time to look for Nick's birth certificate and can't find it. Kala is near tears. I then get asked what will we do? My answer is that we still make the trip and you go see Nick and have the best time you can. Sometimes things happen. She is not satisfied with this but soldiers on. We get our dinner and the certificate gets found so all is back on track.
The flights are uneventful. We land, get the rental car, get settled in the hotel and have the "in-laws meet" dinner which I will save for another article.
The big day arrives and we get down to the courthouse. The pastor is a pro and all goes off without a hitch. Kala and Nick are married and we are all one big family. We then go to the County Line BBQ House which is also another good (short) article.
The chapel was nice but I swear someone was cutting onions in the room. I even had a few tears.
Here are some pics.
San Antonio has a beautiful river going through the downtown area. It is cool (temperature and cool wise) and one can meander for hours exploring shops and other things or take the river taxi. In the area of the chapel, they have the locks on the fence much like Paris used to do. When Dean (Nick's Father) and I saw this we looked at each other and said we needed to find a lock. There was a store that made a killing selling locks to fools like us and we gladly paid.
Since getting married is a legal process, there is paperwork to be done. Dean is in the background. He has an article dedicated to him but he doesn't know that yet.
Exchanging the rings...
You may now kiss the bride...
The lock ceremony. After they close the lock, they throw the keys into the river. The city dredges them up daily.
In the first picture is my new found Mexican Grandmother (abuela),Nana who will also have an article dedicated to her.
And that is it, in the space of one-half an hour my daughter and I are part of the Hernandez family and they are part of ours.
Kala then proclaims, "I'm hungry!" and we are off to find the BBQ place the pastor recommended for lunch.
I just felt like writing some random thoughts about music. I am a little over 6 months into actually learning how music works. I have been working to understand theory and apply it. I find music in things that one might not even associate with music and I now wonder if our language arts are governed by music rather than speech. I have come to believe we are all musically driven. Music is in our souls. We had music before we had speech or writing. We are a musical species. Perhaps other species are too, in their own manner.
Amazingly, my bicycle helped me unlock the eight note. The simplest concept. 4 beats. 1, 2 , 3 , 4. Now count 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. The "ands" are eighth notes. A simple explanation, but I commonly miss eighth notes. I was marching and realized that when I ride, there is an up, down, up, down and associated that with those notes. When that happened, I stopped missing them.
Good literature has a beat. I don't understand it enough to explain it but I recognize it is there. Music brings out the beauty of things to where it can be understood. It would not surprise me at all to find that music could express creation if we ever come to understand it.
Our director is always emphasizing that everything we do in performance has a beat. Dance, music, and surprisingly, dialogue. I am starting to see that properly delivered dialogue has a beat and brings depth to a play or conversation. We are told to deliver lines accurately when possible. If not, then the gist of the idea will work but I have seen that accurate dialogue really brings a play to life.
I am so happy that I have stuck with music theory. It has provided insight into things that I would never have anticipated.