The WHAT'S NEW! page contains the latest medical updates. If you're wondering how I'm going as far as health is concerned, this is the place to start. Latest: Wed 27 Nov 2013. 7.20AM

Friday, July 22, 2011

Seizing up again....

Last night, at about 7.30 pm, I wrote to family:

Everything seems to be going reasonably well with me. There are on and off times but my leg feels freer today. I've been working my arm and it's freer also. I can use a knife and fork nearly normally except the arm drops and I bang the knife on the plate, but it's good to feel that's improving. No more seizures since that first one for the cycle ten days ago. Fingers crossed that it remains that way.

It really does tempt fate, doesn’t it? Apparently, too much this time. I went to bed before 1 AM and settled quickly into a pre-sleep pattern. Now that I’ve built strength in the right shoulder, I have the luxury of choosing which side to sleep on, so I chose the right. I usually go to sleep within ten minutes, and this morning was starting out to be no different.

  Just as I was on the point of drifting off, I was snapped wide-awake very suddenly by the right hand fingers flexing hard, and the arm in spasm. Never before has a seizure struck as I was about to drop off to sleep. Because I was lying on that side, I couldn’t really turn to a prone position flat on my back, as the conscious brain doesn’t quite work normally when a seizure is happening.

  The seizure was about 2 mins at most, but it did travel down and back up the right side in the way I have described before. Its immediate effects were not very severe, though as always, the problem remains that I never know if and when another seizure is on its way. It would be nice to be able to say confidently to myself, ‘That’s over for now. Go to sleep.’ Then I could settle down and get back into sleep mode, but I’ve had aftershocks before over a three-hour period, so the thought of that isn’t conducive to sleep.

  Anyway, I composed my mind (thanks to years of yoga and meditative techniques), fell asleep and didn’t wake till about 6.30 AM.

  It’s only then, on getting up, can I really survey the ‘earthquake’ damage. Lying on that side during the seizure wasn’t the best of poses. I found it necessary to realign a few shoulder bones and stretch out some ligaments before getting up, they had been strained and were sore. Strength and coordination of the arm on that side has gone backwards but if I don’t get any more seizures for a while I’ll recover as much ground as possible.

  The same applies pretty much to the right leg. Walking and exercising it, I can work to get that back a bit, and to recover balance, which is a bit wonkier than it was.

  There you go, hey? Maybe it’s had its fun with me for the week. I’ll rest up and look forward rather than back. Day by day. The good news is that it could have been more severe or lasted longer, and I feel in my heart that I’ll win most of the ground back - till next time, anyway.

  The pattern over the last weeks and months says that next time will come. There’s no pretending it won’t.

  It’s a matter of when, and that’s clearly totally and absolutely unpredictable. Forget what I said in that other posting about brain and sleep. These seizures, like earthquakes, hit when the time is right for them, and there’s truly no discernable pattern.

  That doubly confirms the view that we just push on, and take it as it comes. The seizure itself is not that significant. Of course, what it means in the longer term is far more so.


  1. Keep well as best you can, Denis. And keep writing! Jim

  2. Thanks, Jim.

    Am I imagining it, or has your output and response to your blog grown? Anyone else interested, Jim Belshaw is an old colleague of mine and has a great knowledge of many areas, especially our own New England.

    His blog is at

  3. Hi Denis and thanks. I'm not sure that the response has grown after a biggish spurt a while back. I try to post daily both here and on my New England blog.

    I do get a great deal of satisfaction from the interaction.


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