sort of a blog of postictal experiences and cogitations
My favorite fact about the medication I’m on is that is it an ingredient in the Anti-Psychotic Sundae. This is a recipe invented by the creator of the Crazy Meds! web site. Apparently Topamax is powerful stuff, and when combined with Lithium and Depakote it must keep the voices in your head from telling you what to do. So here’s that recipe, in case you need it:
• Two scoops ice cream, sherbet or sorbet, of your favorite flavor, but something that mixes well with an orange-flavored syrup.
Pour lithium syrup over scoops of ice cream (or whatever). Top with Topamax and Depakote sprinkles. Place one of each type of cherry on top of each scoop of ice cream. Mellow-out and enjoy.
My next week ended up like a layer cake of depression and anxiety, with thin fillings of rage. I would wake up feeling depressed, and worried that I may have had night seizures. There would always be some ache in some muscle, which of course could be evidence that I had been having convulsions in my sleep. How could I know for sure?
Then, during the day, there was a good chance something would royally piss me off. Usually it involved software on my computer not working properly. I use Windows XP. Enough said.
I found myself playing my Mr. Bungle CD a lot. This was probably a bad idea. But that twisted and cynical music fit my mood perfectly. It was the right disc for that week of my life.
Just as an example, on Thursday I needed to find the financial aid form I had received in the hospital from those nice blue zone ladies. I was supposed to mail it in with a copy of my tax statements. I might be eligible for assistance from the government, since I had no insurance. This was good, because that hospital bill was steep.
I searched everywhere for the damn thing. I hunted through all my files, which are very well organized. I looked in the folders where I keep my tax forms for every year since I started paying taxes; I might have put it in there. Nothing.
I remembered taking the tax statement itself to the apartment complex management office and having it photocopied; maybe I had left the aid form there. I called them but they didn’t have it.
I was livid with rage. Thursday was my day to go up in my dose, from 50 to 75 mg. I was screwed up on drugs. I started screaming. My upstairs neighbor must have been phoning in a complaint.
Then I realized what was going on. I had already mailed the form, but had never made a copy for myself. I stuck out my middle finger at the bottle of tablets on my desk. “Fuck you, Topamax,” I yelled. “You won’t defeat me!”
I was having no luck getting hold of the officer who had responded to my wreck. The wrecker service said they had no record of exactly where they had picked up my Jeep; all I knew was it was on Wade Avenue.
On Friday I convinced a friend to retrace the day of my seizure, in an effort to jog my memory and maybe find the scene of the crash. I wore exactly the clothes I had been wearing that day – the same jeans, shirt, and sweatshirt, and even my seizure shoes. We went to the coffee shop, stayed for a bit, and then took the route I usually take home, up Dixie, then right on Wade toward Wake Forest.
I had absolutely no memory of when or where I had gone unconscious, and we had no luck. There were some spots where people had obviously smacked their vehicles into things, and we pulled over and checked them out, but there was no evidence that my Jeep had been the culprit. A plastic piece had broken off from my fog light covers, but we never found it anywhere. Eventually we gave up and got some hot dogs at a great grill in town.
Eventually I got a clue, figured out that my accident report was online, and downloaded it. There was a drawing of my vehicle crossing over the median of Wade Avenue, two lanes of oncoming traffic, and then an exit ramp and a grassy area before hitting a stone wall.
The text of the report denoted my Jeep as “Unit 1,” stating that I had hit the wall at low velocity, causing “minor damage to unit 1 and no damage to stone wall.” That just irked me. The text also said that the driver had suffered a seizure, which did not jive with what the doctor had told me, or with what I remembered the doctor telling me, way back in post #3 of this diary.
There was a witness listed on the report, along with a phone number. I called the number and left a message, explaining that I was the driver he had witnessed and that I had no memory of what had happened and wanted to talk to him.
I’m not drinking any more, since my meds interact very badly with alcohol. All I ever drank before was beer, which tastes horrible now. And now after just one beer I feel like Wile E. Coyote after an anvil falls on his head from all the way up at the top of the Grand Canyon while he’s standing in the river bed, so no more of that.
I also have decided not to partake of the good stuff. Partly this is because two of my fainting spells happened while under the influence. Partly this is because of research evidence that self-medication might be seizure inducing, despite many folks understandably believing the opposite.
I actually have a theory about this. In marijuana there are two active ingredients. One expands the mind, producing that rush of creative thought and imagination. It gets the neurons all buzzing with activity and thus raises the threshold of risk for seizure. This is the stuff stoners are after when they take catch-up hits to get in their zones again for their gaming or whatever.
Then there is the ingredient that mellows you out, making you sleepy and lazy. It gets the neurons all chilled out and cozy and thus lowers the threshold of risk for seizure. This is what is actually promising in treating epilepsy, but when administered orally so it sticks with you over time and also has less buzz-inducing factor.
I won’t say I’m off it for good, but I’m going to eliminate it as a factor for now. But it is safe to say anxiety is now a strong new element in my life, probably in part because of quitting. The way I cope is to call someone on the phone and gripe. I’m glad there are people willing to let me do that.
This is all copyright Steve Barrera 2004-2014. All rights reserved.