Sunday, 24 October 2010

Seizures and Auras

Had another seizure yesterday. Honestly, this is turning into more of an online seizure diary than anything else. It's depressing. I mean, I knew when I started that I wanted to communicate the challenges of balancing epilepsy with my role as a mother, but this is utterly ridiculous. In the last few days I have gone from having a seizure once a fortnight or so to a cluster of three in four days. To be perfectly blunt, I can put this particular cluster down to only one thing. Money worries. Great.

I had an aura before this seizure, which makes the world of difference, I can tell you. I knew something was wrong, but the sensation is actually harder to describe in words than the seizure itself. Still, I'll try, because auras, when they occur, are a significant aspect of epilepsy. It can be the difference between safety and a serious injury.

So, for me, an aura can take several forms, which don't really have a bearing on the type or duration of the seizure (which may or may not follow - sometimes I get an aura and then no seizure, which is both a relief and somewhat frustrating). Sometimes, I suddenly feel very tired, or depressed. These are the easiest for me to miss, despite being obvious enough in their effect, because sometimes I feel either of those things anyway. I have two small children, so tiredness is something I am very familiar with, and the nature of feeling down or depressed is not to question it very much, or start to analyse why you feel that way. This means that, quite often, I don't recognise my auras for what they are until after the seizure they forewarn.

The auras I can recognise usually take a form which is far more ambiguous, and much harder to describe, which is quite frustrating when neurologists and other doctors ask me about my epilepsy. The best I have come up with so far is to say that they are a sensation that something is "wrong". It's a tingle in the centre of my back which both is and isn't there, and a nagging sensation in my mind, either that I should be elsewhere doing something very important, or that I've just been saying something and can't remember what it is. Oddly, I've had the occasional sensation of something being "all wrong" as I used to call it, long before I started having seizures. Or perhaps not. There are lots of warning signs of the type of epilepsy I was diagnosed with which only really make sense as warnings after a diagnosis, because they can also just be typical of humanity. Things like daydreaming, for example.

As it happens, daydreaming can also be an aura for me, although I never realise it, for obvious reasons. This is one which W notices rather than me, and to give him credit, he often knows when I am going to have a seizure before I do, and is able to tell me to sit down, now.

Yesterday's seizure was fairly convulsive, and throughout I was breathing very shallowly, enough that W thought I had stopped altogether once or twice, and nudged me very hard in the ribs to make sure I was okay. (This is an arangement we have agreed upon between us, as it does usually seem to kickstart my lungs if they freeze up, and obviously you should never do this to someone while they are having a fit as you could injure them. If you encounter someone having a fit and they stop breathing, definitely call an ambulance.)

Today has been better. No seizures, no auras. Clusters always worry me, but I'm going to try and calm down, because in the end, they usually calm down and settle back to "normal", and really, I just have to take each day as it comes. On a more bittersweet note, my son has now learned the word "seizure".

No comments:

Post a Comment