Thursday, March 06, 2008

Now What Am I Going To Do For A Living?

Well, that my worst nightmare, the most embarrassing moment, the thing I've dreaded for years has actually I'm ready to change my name (What do you think of Evie-Lou Cummins-Goins? Too much?), move away and become an alpaca herder in Wyoming.

Last night I had a temporal lobe seizure at work. And let's remind ourselves of what that involves, shall we? Uncontrollable weeping, hallucinations, paranoia. Sort of a cross between schizophrenia and a panic attack. It's awful on the inside, and it looks awful on the outside.

This is how Wikipedia describes temporal lobe seizures:

Simple Partial Seizures (SPS) involve small areas of the temporal lobe and do not affect consciousness. These are seizures which primarily cause sensations. These sensations may be mnestic such as déjà vu (a feeling of familiarity), jamais vu (a feeling of unfamiliarity), a specific single or set of memories, or amnesia. The sensations may be auditory such as a sound or tune, or gustatory such as a taste, or olfactory such as a smell that is not truly present. Sensations can also be visual or involve feelings on the skin or in the internal organs. The latter feelings may seem to move over the body. Dysphoric or euphoric feelings, fear, anger, and other sensations can also occur during SPS. Often, it is hard for persons with SPS of TLE to describe the feeling. SPS are often called "auras," and are sometimes thought to be preludes to more severe seizures.

So what does that mean to our Evie? It means that I start with a small headache, and quickly progress to a kind of weeping, fearful confusion in which I hear whispering voices, smell odd and inappropriate things, and see strangers lurking in the periphery of my vision. I'm completely overwhelmed: nothing looks familiar or safe, the lights are too bright, the analyzers are too loud, people keep moving erratically, and I have to fight the impulse to curl up in a ball under the bench and hide. All of this, while unpleasant at home, is truly mortifying at work. It feels insane, it looks insane, and I'm sure it does considerable damage to my credibility as a Laboratory Professional.

So after an hour or so of weeping, Lori came to get me and we dropped by the E.R. We actually spent so long waiting there that I felt pretty much back to normal by the time I was seen and released. I went back to the lab, gathered my stuff, and went home.

But the worst of all? I'll have to go back today.

On the bright side, TLE is supposed to be associated with creativity :

As Eve LaPlante discusses in her book, "Seized," the intense emotions, sensory experience including vibrancy of colors, and particular mental state provoked by temporal lobe abnormalities may have contributed to the creation of significant works of art. A number of well-known writers and artists are known, or in many cases suspected to have had temporal lobe epilepsy, aggravated, in some cases, by alcoholism. They include Charles Dodgson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll), Edgar Allan Poe, Fyodor Dostoevsky (whose novel The Idiot features an epileptic protagonist, Prince Myshkin), Gustave Flaubert, Philip K. Dick, Sylvia Plath and the contemporary author Thom Jones. Peter O'Leary also discusses this in his book "Gnostic Contagion: Robert Duncan and the Poetry of Illness."

Unfortunately, I've never shown any inclination in that direction. Nor, sadly in this one:

In some modes of presentation women can feel orgasms when suffering a temporal lobe epilepsy episode. No cases have so far been reported for men.


Kwach said...

But your kids and I love you fiercely, I'm starting to learn how to help you ride these things out ... and we'd all (collectively or individually) be more than willing to kick the ass of any of those snotty bitches you work with who, on their BEST day, can't hold a candle to you on a personal OR professional level, even on your WORST day. How many of them would go around the lab warning people they were about to look crazy? Hell, no. They just start throwing phones and urine specimens at unsuspecting co-workers.

You've got an intermittent broken brain condition. They're just flat nuts.

: )

XUP said...

Pah! You work in a medical place --they should understand medical stuff like this. In any case, you have absolutely no need to be embarassed. Shit happens. And it's wonderful that you have such an awesome support system!

Anonymous said...

I am glad you have people around you who love and support you.Treasure that!!! I have had amnesia twice and all my wonderful mother talks about is the day I went "stupid" and she tried to take my kids away from me. I didnt go to hospital the 2nd time because i was afraid of what she might do. My doctor were really ticked the next time i saw them. and told them.The people at work who found me the 1st time dont even bring it up. They go on to the next drama pretty quick.

Anonymous said...

Do you really want to be curled up in a ball crying on the floor and orgasming at the same time? Talk about confusing! And I agree w/all the other comments! Robin

Jazz said...

There's no need to be embarassed, it's not like you're drunk at the office party and dancing around with a lampshade over your head.

However, I'd try to get the seizures to go towards the orgasm thing. That could make them ever so much more interesting.

Suzanne said...

I'd think it would be even more mortifying to have an orgasm at work, but maybe that is just because I am uptight about these things. If your co-workers have a problem with what happened, then I'd say they don't belong in the medical profession. Hope it went OK yesterday.

SP said...

Slight confusion here. Did you lose your job because of this?

And who is being a bitch to Ev? Give me names, I'll take 'em out!

Kwach said...

No jobs were lost. But she did have to spend the day fending off all the well-meaning folks who wanted to lend their support and empathy ... and ask if she was getting help for her "depression."

We've decided to print up brochures about TLE she can hand out at the hospital. It's easier than explaining it over and over.