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A&E, nice staff & negligence

I’ve been having an awful time for seizures.

Ever since autumn hit, and the days are mostly grey and the sun sets earlier, I’ve been having 10+ seizures MORE a day than I usually do.

Saturday was awful. Mid afternoon I was out of it for over an hour, with back to back seizures and being unable to respond or understand anything between them. I was having seizures regularly all day.

At about 8pm we called 111, making it clear they were NOT tonic clonic seizures and I was not in non-convulsive status epilepticus right now. We said we were just concerned abs didn’t know what’s to go four help. The guy said he wanted to call an ambulance to bring me in, and when we said we could get the train there so as not to waste their time, he said he wanted us to travel in am ambulance.

We arrived at A&E at 9.30pm. The paramedics were lovely – asking us about our pets and really putting me at ease. They turned the lights off in the ambulance and put the blue lights on so add to be nicer on my brain. I had four seizures on the way to the hospital.

We waited about four hours at A&E then were seen by a Doctor. He did some examinations, then turned the light off in the cubicle so he could do exams where I’d need to remove my goggles. He did this himself and I didn’t ask him to do so.

He did a pupil reflex test where he shone a light in my eyes, which immediately triggered a seizure. He timed the seizure (45 seconds) and asked my partner if how I was behaving was typical – staring, unresponsive, picking at things.

When I came round he said the light was clearly a trigger, and that these were obviously absence seizures. We told him how I feel before, during, and after, and he said it was all very typical of seizures.

It was so nice to be listened to and understood!

He wanted me seen by a neurologist, but there was no way to do that right now, so he said he’d admit me to a ward and I’d spend the night there.

We were waiting in that room about three hours. Within the first hour I had a blood test, ECG, gave urine, and had blood pressure & temp taken for the 4th time. 

At about 4am we were moved into the hallway. Here the fluorescent lights were extremely bright, and I’d already had 45+ seizures that day so my brain was mush. I began to feel very out of it,  had seizures, felt awful and was panicky. I got a really bad headache and my partner got me some paracetamol. The hospital was full of noisy drunk people which was not being my head. I remember tearfully begging staff to put me somewhere dark.

Just before 5am I was moved to the ward. A consultant Dr came and did reflex tests – no lights, just tapping my joints, getting me to squeeze his fingers etc – he asked for an overview of why I was there and looked at my notes. He commented that a temp reading said I’d had a fever earlier, which was ‘weird’ but ‘probably nothing to worry about’, although he wanted to do a chest xray the next day.

At 5.25am I was left to go to sleep, although it took a long time. I was next to the brightly lit hallway which didn’t help, and the nurses walked about singing, shouting to each other and patients etc.

At 7.15am a male nurse said “turning the lights on ladies”, and fluorescent light flooded the room. I’d slept with my face under a jacket, so I emerged and grabbed my wide brimmed hat and goggles. Almost immediately I started having seizures – the lighting was an obvious trigger, along with only getting one hours sleep, stress, the heavy seizure day the day before, and I hadn’t eaten in 20 hours.

I spent the next 45ish minutes out of it, seizing, and feeling terrible physically – trembling, exhausted, nauseous. I deliberately wanted to ask for help from one of the nurses walking past, but wasn’t aware enough and couldn’t manage words. I finally tearfully stammered to one “the lights are really getting to me”. He turned the light directly above me off.

At another point the nurse who had been assigned to me for the day said “welcome back” as I came around from a seizure. Otherwise I was ignored.

At 9am a Dr and someone else came to see me. He asked how I was, and all I could think to respond was “okay…”. He asked where I lived, and it took me about 10 seconds to work it out and reply. He asked what I did for a living, and I couldn’t work out what to say so said I receive PIP. He then said something truly disgusting: “You’re too young for PIP, no? You should be out and about in the world”.

I was unfortunately too ill to respond and tell him that disability has no age limit. And don’t you think I would truly love to be able to get out in the world, rather than living a life of misery?

He finished with “you want to go home today, yes?”, and I confusedly said yes. Because I did, after I’d Breen seen by a neurologist and gotten help. He then said I was released to go.

The nurse assigned to me came and asked if I had someone who could come pick me up. I was still confused, but said my partner. I called my partner and didn’t know what to say other than come to me haha.

I sat there for a while, not understanding at all what was going on, then gathered my things and tried to find someone to ask if I could leave and wait outside. I just wanted out. I stood in the hallway for several minutes, but was too out of it to understand how to catch anyone’s eye and ask, and everyone just walked past me. I had a seizure, then walked further up the corridor and finally said to a passing woman “excuse me, if I’m being discharged can I go wait outside?” She checked with a nurse and said yes.

I left the ward and walked down a few corridors before having to stop, very confused, and have a seizure. Once I’d come around I started walking, stumbled across an exit sign, and left.

I called my partner to let him know where I was heading, then called my parents. They were furious about how I’d been treated, and my mum insisted on calling the hospital. Staff were happy to speak to her about confidential information to do with me without asking for my consent.

My mum was told several HUGE lies.

  1. That I’d had a CT scan, and the results showed I wasn’t having seizures. This didn’t happen. I never had a CT scan. I didn’t have ANY examinations that could identify seizures. When my mum called back to confirm this, she was told it was a ‘mistake’ and that they can’t be expected to know details of 43 patients at once!
  2. They said that no staff had witnessed seizures in 12 hours of observation, and the reason I was released from the ward was because I hadn’t had seizures that morning. I was able to tell my mum I’d been having many seizures since 7.15am, and one staff member actually referred to them by saying “welcome back”. There were also the paramedics, two A&E nurses, and the A&E Dr who had witnessed seizures.

My mum was furious.

She’s filing a formal complaint for us, so we can rest and recover from the experience. I’m still having a ton of seizures and feel awful everyday, and medical professionals are still refusing to help. 

And I’ve learnt to never go to A&E for my seizures again!!!

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Nervous – my first BIG day in years!

Today my parents are up for a visit to belatedly celebrate my dad’s birthday, and we have a big day out planned.

We’re going to a zoo. Not just our teeny-but-lovely local zoo that’s a 15 minute drive away, but a BIG zoo a 50 minute drive away. That’s a huge journey for me (travel being my biggest trigger) and the zoo will most likely be packed with visitors, as it’s free admission until the end of this month.

After that, we’re hoping I’ll be well enough to look around a few shops and handle a meal out at a pub.

This is the sort of day out I haven’t been able to do in years, and so obviously I am nervous. I’m also aware that MANY people will stare at the zoo, due to my goggles. But I need them, so fuck ’em πŸ˜‰

With my wide-brimmed hat and my polarized goggles, I’m hoping we can enjoy a really good day out with not too many seizures. Nervous but excited!

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This bad day got busted!

Today started off with my depressive episode feeling the heaviest yet, but the day got completely overturned with a succession of awesome things happening πŸ˜€

This normally never happens, we have the worst luck haha, so yay!

First thing…Halifax got in touch about my complaint

I complained about the way they treated me in terms of my title, that they don’t have anything outside of Ms, Mrs or Mr on their system, and also that the staff member had no sympathy for me having seizures / brain fog.

Well, they gave me a monetary compensation and far FAR cooler – THEY ARE ADDING THE TITLE MX TO ALL THEIR BANKS, NATIONWIDE!!! πŸ˜€

They said it might take some time, but they are actually doing it! And I got the first Mx card from a Halifax ever, which my mum pointed out haha, and how cool is that?!

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Woohoo! Thank you Halifax for being so good πŸ™‚

On top of that, when I text my mum the outcome she was amazingly wonderfully supportive and impressed. We then had a really, really awesome conversation about the name change, me being non-binary, how I felt etc etc.

My parents haven’t seemed particularly supportive throughout this, so this came out of left field and made me so hugely happy!! She said she’s gonna start trying to call me Dally too haha, which will be weird but awesome XD

Happy me’s from today!

To celebrate monies, we went out and explored somewhere we’d never been before.

I’m trying to push myself for further and further train journeys now my polarized ski goggles are helping so much with seizures. This was my longest journey yet at 35 minutes. Great day, and I got to go around four different pet shops – something I haven’t been able to do in YEARS!!

We found a fab new herp shop, and guess what? WE RESERVED A ROYAL PYTHON!

I’ve wanted a Royal for almost a decade haha, but have always opted for other snakes when we’ve been looking for one. The pet shop guy was showing us loads of herps though, and this Royal was for sale and it was so tame and he said it was a great feeder…and it just happened πŸ˜€

I’m collecting it this weekend when my parents come visit us, so we have a few days to sort the viv out. If you don’t like snakes, look away now and scroll to the red word SAFE!

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The snake in the middle is mine! ❀

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SAFE!

We also got a bite to eat at a Costa, and I found some new walking boots in a charity shop. Hells yea!

 

I only had four seizures whilst out, and we were out about 3.5/4 hours too πŸ˜€

Also check out this pic from the train on the way there…LOOK HOW NORMAL I LOOK!! I couldn’t ride trains for so long, and there I am just chilling reading a book!!

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Train back wasn’t quite as fun, as there were some obnoxious teenage girls sat opposite blatantly laughing at my goggles, but for a depressive episode I dealt with it really well, so I guess I can be chuffed with that πŸ˜›

Hope y’all have had as good a day as I have!

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Difficult days

Depression has been suffocating me for a few weeks now, and then yesterday I had one of the worst days for seizures I’ve had in a long time.

Things are pretty stressful atm and stress is one of my top 5 seizure triggers. Yesterday this really showed!

I had three big clusters of seizures, lasting over an hour each time. About 20 minutes of back-to-back seizures (each seizure lasting 2-3 minutes, with a 20 second break of me being somewhat lucid, then another rolling in), then 40-60 minutes afterwards where I act messed up…laughing spontaneously, shouting, repeating words for minutes on end, talking nonsense, swearing etc.

After each cluster I feel incredibly spacey and it takes me a long time to recover. So three of them in one day leaves me with little time to feel well, as I feel off before them too!

I finally came around late evening, so we were able to get the dogs out right at the end of the day and enjoy a takeaway. I hope today is better for seizures, although my depression is already making me feel terrible…better days had better be ahead!

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Spoons, disability, stares

We had some friends stay recently, and boy did it take it’s toll on my body!!

I actually had a really fun time, and the friend who was here longest (four days) was so fantastically great about not putting pressure on us to do things, or on me to recover faster after seizures, but doing basically anything uses way too many of my spoons, so the trip was always gonna leave me knackered XD

Here are some photos of our adventures though!

On the final day I woke after five hours sleep to an awful migraine. I swallowed codeine and paracetamol throughout the day, whilst also trying to force my way through a drastically increased number of seizures…the first four hours of the day (walking our dogs, traveling into town and eating) were awful, but finally I started feeling better and was able to enjoy some museums πŸ™‚

Our friend really was wonderful, and we noticed him doing several adorable things to help and put us at ease. This ranged from joking about brains being weird, to reminding us he could go off alone if we needed him to, and even catching me as I was falling during a seizure. Having that extra support was really appreciated!

I got a lot of stares one day, a really posh town where when I wore my goggles there last time (this was before we’d written EPILEPSY on the side) we got a lot of stares and rude comments. Well the same thing happened this time…wtf is it with that place?!?

The only comment came from kids, but there were plenty of people (generally older people) who gawked at me unapologetically. One man I stood in front of and stared back until he finally looked away, and my partner also told Β a group of old woman that it was rude to stare.

We also had an old woman who, after I’d left my partner at the counter to pay, asked him “Are they those glasses for dyslexia? Do they have dyslexia?” UUUUGH, MIND YOUR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS!!

It gets exhausting -_-

Today my partner phoned up a helpline to try apply for a disabled person’s bus pass, as we realised we hadn’t tried since I started having seizures. We were told immediately that now I will qualify.

In order to prove that I would be refused a driving license (which is the bracket I fall under for all my disabilities – the others are legally blind, have no arms, can’t walk far, or have a severe learning disability), I first have to apply for a provisional driving license. So that I can be refused.

WHERE IS THE LOGIC THERE?!?

Haha!! So today we went into town and I got a passport-style photo ready to send off for my provisional. The owner of the photo shop was wonderful, we phoned in advance to ask if they could avoid using flash as I have epilepsy, and he said they don’t use flash but there are several lights / machines that are bright or flicker, so to send my partner in and notify him when we got there.

We did just that. When he saw me in my goggles he smiled and said “Wow, you really do have it bad don’t you?!” This wasn’t derisive at all, and made me feel understood. I do have it way worse than 98% of people with epilepsy in regards to how sensitive to lighting I am, and I’d rather that was acknowledged than he gave me some BS positivity!

He turned some things off and took the photos as quickly as possible, and I didn’t have any seizures! πŸ™‚

I also tried to legally change my name for my bank account today, but the woman assisting us was an a-hole. She said that because our ‘witness’ wasn’t a solicitor it wouldn’t count for anything (this isn’t true, we checked when we were choosing our witness!), and when she got to my title of Mx, she turned to me and said “So you’ve just made that up, have you?”

No, Mx is a title just the same as Ms, Mr or Mrs. It is accepted to stand for Mix, so perfect for a non-binary person like me, and is legally accepted in the UK.

Ugh.

She sent off the forms regardless, but said head office may not approve it as “it has to be witnessed by a solicitor”. Bleh.

Also, my littlest turned one a few days ago! πŸ˜€

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3

Smashing stigma: shitty GP!

Oh we had a funny appt today πŸ˜€

I had blood tests done about a week ago, so I can finally be put on the waiting list to see a neurologist in regards to my seizures. If they are epileptic seizures I can then be put on medication to try stop them; if they’re non-epileptic seizures at least I know they’re not fucking with my brain, and we can try find ways to manage them.

The GP today was a HUGE bitch. So much so it was funny!

The appt started with her asking if I could take my goggles off, to which I replied I could, but the polarized lenses help prevent seizures. Strike one against me, she didn’t know what polarized lenses were and obviously hated feeling less superior.

I began telling her about the seizures (telling her about my auras, symptoms during and after). Β I told her about CBD oil, and that we’ve identified several seizure triggers (she didn’t ask what they were or give me time to tell her them).

I showed her a recording of a seizure, and she responded with “Well what’s supposed to be going on here, because it looks like you’re just watching telly”.

OMG hahaha, what an idiot!! When I’ve just told you all the symptoms, and wow well done for showing you have no knowledge of seizures as anything other than tonic clonics / grand mals!!

This was the video btw

She spent ten minutes (meaning the appt ran over) talking about my MH. She kept trying to belittle or insult me, using my MH as a weapon, and got increasingly angry when I refused to be belittled or ashamed.

Some of the questions include

  • When was I last on medication
  • When was I last seen for my mental health
  • Why aren’t I receiving help now
  • What is my mental health like now
  • Why do I think my MH is better now
  • (weirdly) Did I go to a public school
  • (after staring VERY pointedly at the scars on my arm) Do I have a history of self-harming? Why? For how long?

I was able to answer these questions extremely confidently, and this also annoyed her. Me and my partner joined as a team to explain the stress of appointments were extremely detrimental to my MH, and the fact they never helped anyway meant all they did was make me worse. I am doing better now, mentally, than I have in almost a decade.

She then asked me if I worked and when I last worked, and did not approve of the fact I hadn’t been able to work due to disability for so long.

After this she began talking about my seizures, but obviously referring to them as “episodes”. She began telling me that they may not be “true seizures”, and I interrupted to say we were very well aware about non-epileptic seizures, but obviously it’s worth seeing a neurologist because if I do have epilepsy, I can get treatment.

Everytime she spoke about epileptic and non-epileptic seizures, she referred to them as ‘true’ and ‘not true’ seizures. Well done for perpetuating the stigma against PNES!!

She said we might want to collect more video footage before the neurologist, and we said we had about a dozen videos spanning a year. She began to say we might want to record how many seizures I have a day, and we interrupted her to say we use a seizure tracking app to record how many I have, triggers, auras etc.

By the end of the appt she hated us, because I wouldn’t be embarrassed about my history of MH, and we were so knowledgeable about all my conditions. We (my partner and I) came out laughing, and feeling like a really solid team πŸ™‚

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A scary day turned good

I woke up this morning and realised immediately something was not right.

I figured I was about to have a seizure (I have a lot of seizures just before and after waking), but when I got out of bed I didn’t have the balance to walk. I had to crawl to and up the stairs to go the loo, because I was literally tipping sideways when I tried to walk.

I had a few seizures but was still just totally spaced, out of it, and scared. I was having lots of seizure warnings (auras) and some seizures, but I wasn’t feeling better at all between them. I didn’t know if I should be heading to hospital or what.

I wondered if maybe I was about to have a really bad migraine, as in the past I’ve had similar auras to seizures for that, and the left side of my face felt numb. That also happened during a migraine aura in my teens. I took some extra strong pain pills just in case.

After an hour and a half of this scary ‘offness’, I finally began coming out of it. My brain began to clear, and although I was still spacey, it was different.

My final seizure was a very odd seizure where I wasn’t responding and was twitching, talking repeatedly about tadpoles – tadpoles?!?

My partner said I was lying staring blankly, alternating between saying “TADPOLES – TADPOLES – TADPOLES” and saying another phrase involving tadpoles.

I also had one of the seizures where I rubbed my eyes ferociously during – idk what that’s about. Afterwards I had huge red rings around my eyes!!

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And hey, who knew it – some disabilities are INVISIBLE!! This is *such* an important message to me, because so many chronically ill people with hidden disabilities constantly hear “but you don’t look sick!”

This could be from friends, family, or people who are being rude (intentionally or not) when you’re out in the world. Maybe you asked for a key to the disabled toilet at a library, maybe you have an assistance dog, whatever – to all the non-spoonies out there, you should never EVERΒ EVER say to someone “you don’t look sick”. Looking sick has shit to do with it, if you’re sick, you’re sick.

For the last 90 minutes before the photo above, I was having seizures and scared I would end up in hospital. Looking at this photo, you wouldn’t know that.

‘Looking sick’ has no meaning on how much a disability affects your life.

(</rant>)

Once I’d recovered from the morning, we *had* to get out to a bank.

My partner’s bank card is broken (we have money in the account and can see our account on a machine, but for some reason the stupid bank aren’t letting us withdraw ANY money?!), and because my partner hasn’t had a phone for over a month due to his dad not sorting it, we had no way to ring the bank…my phone had no credit, and we couldn’t get money to top up with!!

So today we had to get to a bank before it shut at 4pm, to get money out of a savings account so we could live until his account is sorted.

The bus journey’s weren’t the hell I was imagining, thankfully, and neither was the trip out. I actually only had one or two seizures, and we were able to go in a few shops, eat a meal, etc πŸ™‚

He was hiding the bubbles in his drink, because I have a tendency to accidentally fixate on them and trigger seizures!

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Afterwards we found this crazy ice cream booth in the market – flavours included salted liquorice, cheeky monkey, blue banana, and turkish delight! My partner got a turkish delight flavoured ice cream and now says it’s his favourite flavour!!

When we got back I was even able to clean parts of the house and join my partner walking two of our dogs.

So all in all today has been good…it just had a really awful start πŸ˜›