Friday, November 5, 2010

Partial WHAT?

The majority of my seizures are partial complex seizures. In my case, they live in the right temporal lobe. Left temporal lobe are more common, but I always did have to be difficult.

What that means is that a part of my temporal lobe says "hey, I'm bored! let's change it up!" and starts in with the unregulated activity. All of the unregulated discharges stay in the temporal lobe, rather than spreading to the entire brain (which causes generalized seizures, which are what most people think of when they hear the word "epilepsy").

Partial complex seizures can happen in any part of the brain, and each location looks different. Common seizure manifestations, depending on location, include hearing or seeing things that aren't there, random out of nowhere feelings and emotions, wandering, movements called automatisms (things like chewing air, lip smacking, picking at clothes), tingling in the extremities, and generally acting strange.

My seizures tend to involve language problems-no matter what is said to or around me, I respond with "I dunno". Apparently I sound disconnected, even by my standards. I stop what I'm doing, or half-ass keep going & chew on air and do...this THING...with my hands. Like my thumb and forefinger are drawing circles around each other. I do something very similar under stress, but not identical. Apparently there's a "lights are on, nobody's home" facial nonexpression going on, and if I was standing when it hit I tend to wander around aimlessly (as contrasted with after, but that's another post).

Everyone thinks of tonic clonic seizures as the real thing, but partial complex have caused me more problems. Police (and for that matter, pretty much everyone else) assume drugs rather than a medical issue if someone is standing there chewing on air and wandering vaguely with a vacant expression. That's just not the case. It's written on my medicalert, but who reads that? And since grabbing my arm is a good way to freak me out-even in a seizure, it's absolutely possible to trigger an automatic NO GO AWAY reaction-I live with the knowledge that something I cannot help may get me killed or injured at the hands of those who are supposed to help.

Since partial onset seizures are the most common, contrary to what Red Cross first aid training implies, that's kind of scary.

No comments: