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.