The Day My Life Changed – Part 13: Possible Causes? And, The End

Life does go on. I wrote about that a little yesterday in Part 12.

Some days, I’ve felt exhausted. Some days, I feel that “nauseated but not nauseated.” On rare occasion, I’ve had that nasty cough with the gag at the end of it. Do you know what that sounds like though? Asphyxia. Lack of oxygen to the brain can be a seizure trigger (because, of course it can). I’ve had an awful habit of holding my breath under stress. I wrote at the beginning of this that I’d had a tooth pulled. My dad’s cousin was my orthodontist. He kept reminding me to breath the nitrous oxide, because I’d stop breathing and my mouth would hurt. On those days that I start feeling that ‘aura,’ it helps immensely if I will simply control my breathing.

A few days after the event, Jennifer reminded me that I’d said my McDonald’s Coke ‘tasted funny.’ True. She suggested to me the possibility that they’d mistakenly filled my order with a Diet Coke. When she was younger, she was diagnosed with migraines. When we started dating, she’d have a debilitating migraine weekly. When I was younger, I often had debilitating headaches that I now have reason to suspect were undiagnosed migraines. We had not been married very long when Jennifer cut all aspartame out of our life; gum, toothpaste, drinks. Things got frustrating for a while. But, the headaches went away. Her weekly migraines went down to annual, and then dried up from there. I stopped getting headaches as well. The only time my head hurts anymore is if I’m actually sick, or I have sinus congestion, that apparently my neurologist can help with, because my aunt’s MRI is too powerful, because the world is weird. But, I digress. Again. A freaking stick of gum can give me a migraine. If I drank a 32oz Diet Coke on an empty stomach, sleep deprived, I don’t know how that would NOT cause a seizure.

It was scary and totally unexpected. Nobody really knows why I had a seizure. But, it’s been over six months now, and I’m driving again. As I wrote earlier, I’m not completely out of the woods yet, but the six-month mark is a hugely important milestone. More towards the beginning of recovery, I’d count down the days.

People would ask, “so, when do you get to drive again?”

“October 28,” I’d quickly answer without a moment’s hesitation.

Earlier, I mentioned the bicycle that my dad gave me. It’s a 20-year-old Schwinn 21-speed. I ordered a cargo rack for the back of it. That felt so freeing, and I’ve been able to make quite a few critical around-town grocery trips. You know that phrase, “it’s just like riding a bicycle?” LIES! When I first got on that thing, I was wobbling all over the place. In fairness, it only took a little practice for me to start getting comfortable with the Schwinn. We’ve had some good times, strapping a bluetooth speaker to the cargo rack, clamping my phone into the handlebar mount I got for it, and pedaling around town with the music going. Some days, the bike is even more pleasant than the car or truck.

Honestly, I was a little unsure whether I could legally drive on the day of the six-month mark, or after that. Just to play it safe, I put it off until the 29th. This was the longest I’d gone without driving since I got my license when I was sixteen. I was honestly a little concerned as to whether I would be a little rusty, kind of like with the bicycle. But, we got in the truck, I fired her up, and we drove around town. It felt awesome. I took the long way around, hitting several detours in our route. I actually stalled the truck right out of the driveway, but beyond that one ‘oopsie’ I was like a fish in water.

My sleep schedule has become far more normal. My sense of balance is actually better than I was before. Another surprise is that I hear music more fully than I ever did before. I’ve always had an ear for music, but I’m hearing more fullness in the actual complexity to it now. Through several changes like that, I’m feeling phoenix-like, like I’ve emerged from the fire as a new creature. So, anyway, that’s where I am now. One day at a time.

The whole thing has been a nearly spiritual experience one I would advise avoiding, but spiritual no less. I have more firm belief now than ever before that my body is not me, and my brain is not my mind. My brain was doing its own thing during the event, and I had no part in the matter. Regaining my sense of balance, my vocabulary, my strength; that’s been through determination and a fight against the flesh. My spirit and mind may be attached to my body and brain, but this has driven home the point for me that your body and your brain are not who you are. I don’t want to be known as ‘the guy who had a seizure,’ but I do feel like a there’s a lot that other people could get out of the story, so that’s why I chose to share it.

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