To those that have recently come across my blog, you will note that I pointed out in my first proper post that I am epileptic.
I have known this for quite some time – it was confirmed to me in November 2001 that I was epileptic.
My first fit was in the family home in the first half of 2001 (I think somewhere between March and May). I believe I was talking to someone on ICQ (doesn’t that send people back to the days of Instant Messaging) and the next thing I knew I was in Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital – I had no idea how I had gotten there, no idea what had caused it.
The second one was while I was working in hospitality at the WACA – I’d gotten up on a chair to change the channel of one of the TVs in a function room and the next thing I knew I was in an ambulance on the way to Royal Perth Hospital. In a somewhat spectacular fit, I’d apparently stepped down from the chair and then gone over backwards, where a nurse looked after me until the paramedics turned up to take me to hospital. I’d worked a second job the night before and then hadn’t been able to sleep well, getting maybe 4 hours sleep in that night.
At that point, my neurologist sent me off for a MRI and a sleep-deprived EEG which showed that I had epilepsy. I was put on medication and told not to drive anywhere for 6 weeks.
I kept up with my medication well for the first few years, but was getting less and less consistent with it by the middle of the decade. In 2008, my prescription ran out and I never got around to sorting it out (I know that’s stupid, and I know that now, but at the time, I figured that since I hadn’t had another fit, I had pretty much gotten through it all).
Then, 10 weeks ago today, I was on a train from Central to Gosford. I had been feeling stressed and miserable about a number of things with my life, I’d gone out the night before with the boss for a lot of drinks, I hadn’t eaten properly the night before and I hadn’t slept a whole lot (as you would probably know, a big night out is not conducive to healthy sleep). I was sitting with some fellow Glory fans as we headed up to Gosford for the Hyundai A-League Preliminary Final between Perth Glory and the Central Coast Mariners.
The last train stop I remember passing was probably Strathfield. I then found myself being looked at by two paramedics on the train, who told me I had an epileptic fit on the train and that they were taking me to hospital. I didn’t want to go but they insisted, so I had to go. I walked off the train at Epping Train Station with the two paramedics, who loaded me into the ambulance and took me to Ryde Hospital. I was there for 3 hours slowly draining my phone battery while informing others that I was in hospital and would get up there as soon as possible, as well as making arrangements for tickets.
I regularly asked to be discharged from hospital, as I had spent about $1300 in airfares and accommodation to come to Sydney for the game, and quite frankly, I didn’t want to stay in hospital a moment longer – I was more than ready to head back up to Gosford. By 3:30pm, I was discharged against doctor’s recommendations (finally) and was promised by the higher ups at work that they would cover my taxi fare up to the ground.
At just before 4pm, a taxi arrived to take me from the hospital to where I wanted to go – it’s fair to say he was stunned when I said I wanted to go to Bluetongue Stadium, about an hour away. I negotiated a $200 taxi fare up to the stadium, and promptly tried to nap in the taxi on the way up to the game (unsuccessfully). We got to the ground just in time for the kick off where I was met with incredulity and happiness that I was alright.
Glory were 1-1 with Central Coast heading into half time, where I went and saw mates in the away bays. The word had gotten around the group as to what had happened to me and all were thrilled to see me there – similarly, the other group of fans were happy to see me too. The game went to penalties and Glory won, which meant a trip to Brisbane.
What’s actually important is what’s happened to me since that fit on the train. I met with my GP about 4-6 weeks ago (that was the earliest I could get in) and we dealt with the following:
- I wrenched my shoulder, so requested something to fix that. He organised for an X-ray and MRI, which resulted in a cortisone injection into my shoulder. I need to get that looked at again because my shoulder is still sore.
- He sent me off to get a variety of blood tests
- He organised a referral for a psychologist because the fit has really put me in a bad place mentally and emotionally. I’ve been in an ordinary state of mind recently but the epileptic fit has made me feel broken in so many ways.
- He gave me a referral for my neurologist, who I hadn’t seen since 2002 before I went to the US.
My neurologist organised for me to have an EEG (which I had on Wednesday morning) and a MRI which the hospital contacted me about yesterday, so I can expect to receive a letter from them next week.
One of the other consequences of my fit is my decision to give up the consumption of alcohol. While this has immediate health benefits, it has other, lesser known, results – I will be blogging about that on another date.
Another consequence is that I cannot give blood until 2015 – this seems odd to me and I’ve never had it explained it to me.
This is a challenging time for me, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this soon.