*There are affiliate links in this blog post.
*There are affiliate links in this blog post.
When I visited a regular family doctor the day after my first seizure, he had recommended that I get a sleep deprived EEG done. I had a second seizure just two days later, and was started on medication. I was also referred to a neurologist, so I expected to get in with a neurologist who would probably order a sleep deprived EEG at his hospital, and then my plan was to cancel the first sleep deprived EEG that I had scheduled.
Well, even though my sleep deprived EEG was scheduled for 3 weeks after my first seizure, I hadn’t yet been able to get ahold of anyone at the neurologists office that I was referred to. The machine would always pick up no matter what time I called, and they’d never call back. So I decided to just keep the original appointment for the sleep deprived EEG.
I arrived at Oaklawn hospital without having had any sleep for something like 26 hours. I’ve pulled all-nighters before without it being too painful, so I was surprised how hard it was to force myself to stay awake. It’s weird how hard it is to stay wake when you have to instead of just when you want to.
I had read that the reason doctors schedule sleep deprived EEGs is becuase sleep deprivation increases the odds that your brain will “misbehave”. EEGs capture your brain activity that occurs during the test, so for seizure activity to show on an EEG you have to have abnormal brain activity during the test. This is why many people with epilepsy will have normal EEG results.
Anyway, I was scared that this would trigger a seizure because I knew the goal was to trigger abnormal activity. I was a bit nervous but not overly-so because Ryan had told me that while in the hospital he was able to stay in the room with me during the EEG (which was a normal one, not a sleep deprived one).
When I got called back, Ryan stood up to come with me and they said there wasn’t enough space in the room for him to stay with me, so he had to stay in the waiting room. My anxiety spiked immediately. She tried reassuring me that it would be OK because I would be watched via video the whole time, but this only make me feel more uncomfortable because I didn’t want to think about anyone staring at me (Even though its via video) while i’m sleeping.
When we got back into the room I got a little irritated because the room was PLENTY big enough for Ryan to have stayed in there. There was even an extra chair designed for someone to wait there in. I am guessing it’s probably just their polciy to only allow a ‘visitor’ if the patient is a child but it annoyed me that she just lied to me instead of telling me the truth.
The bed was a regular hospital bed, and the room was really cold. The mattress was laid completely flat and she had me lay down. She brought in some rolled up towels that she put under my neck – they were super scratchy and dry, and she stacked them up so high that my head couldn’t touch the mattress.
She used a cloth measuring tape to measure my head in several different angles and marked spots with a marker. She put some goo in my hair that had a lot of grit to it – almost like a sugar scrub. Then she attached these wires to the goo spots.
While getting me hooked up she was trying to make small talk – asking me about my age, my seizure, etc. I appreciated that she was trying to be friendly but I had no interest in going over my seizure detail by detail because doing so is stressful and I was already pretty anxious. She told me a story tha tsomeone else had told her, about how she had a seizure and her husband had panic attacks while she was at the hospital. I said something like “Yeah, I think its almost worse for the family members because the person having the seizure is unconscious so you just wake up and everyone else is freaking out. You might have a headache or a cut on your tongue but that’s nothing compared to the panic that anyone who saw it must feel. I feel like it was harder on my boyfriend than it was on me.”
Her response – word for word was “Wow that does sound tough on him. It’s cool that he didn’t leave you.”
I was so dumbfounded that I just paused struggling to come up with anything to say. I felt awkward so I just went with “Yeah. He was great – he rode in the ambulance and stayed with me at the hospital the whole time I was there.” To which she basically repeats herself “Wow that’s really cool that he didn’t leave you. A lot of people can’t handle the stress.”
So here I am, wires stuck to my head, sleep deprived, anxious, frustrated and now i’m being made to think about how some men in my boyfriend’s situation would have left me high and dry. On one hand, this makes me so thankful for how loyal and committed he is to me. It never occurred to me that he would leave – and I know that the reason it didn’t occur to me is because it didn’t even occur to him. On the other hand, this makes me feel like this woman thinks I am enough of a burden that breaking up with me based on this medical situation that I have NO control over would be a reasonable option.
She brought in a scratchy blanket to cover up with, but it was really thin and I was still cold. She had me to a breathing test that I think was 60 seconds long, where I had to continuously puff air out – kind of like a woman does on TV while having birth except instead of it being in “waves” of puffing and waves of deep breathing, its just constant puffing instead. She said the goal is to make you out of breath – it worked well.
She then put this light near my face and she told me itw as going to flash light at a variety of speeds and that she’d tell me to open and close my eyes every few seconds. The test was only a minute or a minute and a half long, and the lights flashed slowly at first and got quicker as time went on.
Once that was over it as time for the main EEG to start. She told me to try to sleep. The room was really cold, I was anxious, depressed, stuck on the thought that my boyfriend could have left me, and after a few minutes my neck started hurting because my head wasn’t supported at all. The towels were forcing my head to dangle just above the mattress which put a lot of stress on my neck.
After about an hour she came in saying the test was finished. I told her that I hadn’t slept and she said based on my brainwaves I had just drifted off slightly for about 30 seconds. She said it’s fairly common for people to not be able to sleep so she’d still send my results to my doctor for analysis anyway.
I knew that I didn’t have a seizure (At least not a grand-mal) during the test so I didn’t epect any results and kind of forgot about it. A couple months later I asked my doctor what the results said and she told me they had never sent them over. So she requested them, a week or so later they finally sent them and the results were ‘normal’.
I’ve decided that a very necessary part of my series on seizures/epilepsy will be about emotions. That will be coming up at some point in the future.
I’ve been putting off this blog post for quite a while. Part of why I have put is off has been because I don’t want to re-hash the situation in my mind. Another reason is the fact that my memory of the whole 10 day period from about a day before my first seizure until 7-ish days after my second seizure are such a blur in my memory. If I start talking about any part of what happened, it’s common for my boyfriend to jump in saying oh no you’re thinking of the first seizure, not the second (or vise versa). It’s possible that part of what I said for part 1 (my first adult epileptic seizure) actually happened after part 2. Anyway, my biggest reason for this delay has been that I don’t want to go back and read that first blog post, but without reading it I can’t know what I have already said. So I’m going to take the easy way out and basically give you my boyfriends explanation of what the second seizure was like and then discuss my hospital stay.
Ryan has said that my second seizure wasn’t as long or “dramatic” as the first. He estimates that it was only a couple of minutes long. However, I bit my tongue pretty significantly. He had been told to roll me onto my side if I were to have seizures, but I was facing a wall (while laying on my side) when it started so he rolled me over towards him when he first suspected that I was convulsing. I didn’t scream like I did before the first one. He said I was making a gagging, light growling or choking type of noise. He realized that I was in fact having another seizure so he rolled me back onto my side which allowed my mouth to open up and some blood and spit/saliva came out. He called 9-1-1 again and this time we opted to go to a hospital that was further away but that has a great reputation for quality of care.
Since this was my second seizure, the doctors decided that I should start medication. I was started on Keppra, 500 MG twice a day. They ran bloodwork and my CPK level was around 800. They ordered tests like an EEG, MRI and cat scan. All of the tests were read as normal. The hospital stay was 5.5 days in total, but I could have left after day two or three (once the tests were finished) except my CPK level kept rising and they wanted it to start trending downward before they released me. My CPK peaked at day 4 at 6000. I remember the nurses kept asking me if I was in pain or wanted/needed any medication I was having some headaches so occasionally I’d say yes to tylenol. At some point a nurse asked me if I needed pain medication and I said no thanks, my headache is gone and she said “I’m just so surprised that you aren’t in pain. Most people with a CPK significantly lower than 6000 experience body aches, cramps or just general body pain.” I left the hospital without ever having body pains.
Once I got home we made an appointment with my family doctor to discuss my seizures and to get a neurology referral. She said that for the most part she wouldn’t really be treating me for my seizures because that would be left up to my neurologists judgement for the most part. She said that my neurologist may want to run additional tests, but that it’s common for people who have seizures to never find a cause and just be labeled as having epilepsy (which isn’t really a specific condition but is instead just a label for a tendency to have seizures).
After we got back from that appointment I remember hanging up my coat on our coat rack while saying “So I guess I should mentally prepare for a neurologist to tell me that I simply have epilepsy and that there is no apparent reason why these seizures happened but they may happen again. I may have to be on seizure medication for the rest of my life.”
Looking back at it, I can’t really understand why I felt this way. But when I said this I was feeling a bit disappointed or frustrated with my doctor, thinking she was being lazy. I guess I had it in my mind that there had to be some cause because I wasn’t drinking, my brain shows no physical abnormalities, etc.
When I turned around from hanging up my coat Ryan had this almost frozen expression on his face. His eyebrows and forehead were a little creased with some sadness mixed with concern, but most of his face also showed this shock or surprise. I immediately felt this heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach because I could tell exactly what he was thinking and feeling. He was surprised that I had just “woken up” to the fact that something was probably “wrong “with my brain. & that if something was wrong with my brain two different days in the past week, the odds of it still being wrong (or at least occasionally “getting out of whack” in the future is probably high.
I consider us both to be really practical people. We are both “prepare for the worst, but hope for the best” type people. We try to avoid sugarcoating things too much, and we both believe in living life in reality instead of in denial or avoidance. It’s very unlike me to take a week after a traumatic event to accept the reality of something. Yet, when I had said it I wasn’t even accepting it yet – it had just then even OCCURRED to me that that was a possibility.
It’s still bizarre to me how much the seizures really messed with my ability to use logic and reason. While they did make me live in la-la land for a while, I’m somewhat thankful that they also seemed to make me a little numb to life. I’m a pretty anxious person in general, so I’m still surprised that I wasn’t having panic attacks during this whole journey. I’ll go into all of that more in my “the feelings that come as a result of seizures” which will come later.
*Influenster provided me with a Bella VoxBox. All opinions are my own.
I’ve been a member of influenster for over a year now. You don’t have to be a blogger to sign up, you just have to have social media accounts. You can apply for various “VoxBox” offers. If you get approved they’ll send you a box with some products to try out – completely free. The boxes usually have a theme, and once you test out the items you’ll be able to unlock badges for tweeting, reviewing or otherwise promoting the brands included in the box. Some of the requested acts to unlock the badges are a lot (like review a sample size product in a youtube video) which in my opinion isn’t worth the effort. Others are simple tweets or facebook posts, and it’s up to you what actions you choose to do and which ones you choose not to. The only true requirements are that you let them know when your box has arrived and that you take a survey at the end. Though I assume that doing the tasks like tweeting or making a youtube video will help your chances of being accepted for future boxes.
Anyway, my Bella VoxBox had six physical items in it, plus two electric offers or coupons.
The EcoTools Complexion Collection mattifying finish brush has a suggested value of $8.99. It can be used with loose or fresh powder and the bristles are made with cruelty-free fibers. The aluminum that attaches the brush-head to the bamboo handle is made out of recycled aluminum.
DOVE fruit are real fruit pieces that are covered in dark chocolate. We were sent the blueberry variety. I don’t like blueberries or chocolate (yeah I’m weird). Ryan likes blueberries and milk chocolate, but not usually dark chocolate. He really enjoyed them, though. They are also available in cranberry and cherry varieties. They have a suggested retail price of $1.88 to $2.69.
I have used (and enjoyed) other Not Your Mother’s brand products so I was happy that my box included the Not Your Mother’s Deja Vu ‘Do Style Extender. It has a similar purpose to dry shampoo in that it lets you go longer between washes without your hair getting greasy or dirty. However, you use it after you wash your hair instead of once it starts getting greasy (which is when you would use dry shampoo). I haven’t tested this product yet but I plan to soon. I’ve always been an every-other-day hair washer but I have been considering dyeing my hair an unnatural color. The downside of using unnaturally colored hair dye is the color fades with each wash, so its’ recommended that you don’t wash more than once or twice a week. If I were to do that, I’d definitely need a style extender to prevent it from looking and feeling disgusting. The full size has a retail value of $9 but the box included a sample size.
Rimmel Scandaleyes Mascara by kate moss, with a retail value of $6.99. It has a really unique broken-heart shaped brush that is designed to give voluminous lift to enhance your lashes without creating lumps. I haven’t tested this mascara yet.
The second Rimmel product was the Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick in 28 Rosetto which is also by Kate Moss. The color I was sent is VERY pink and is not a shade I would wear. However, it has a $5.49 suggested retail value and claims to last up to 8 hours.
The last physical item was Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. I have to confess that i’ve never used something like this before. It’s designed to give you gorgeous, healthy looking skin and is available in five shades to match any skintone. I was sent medium which is just a hair darker than my arms are right now, but significantly darker than my legs currently are. I decided to try it on my arms to see how it would blend and I was really happy with it. It didn’t feel greasy or oily, a tiny bit goes a LONG ways and it created a slightly-tanned look that wasn’t streaky so it’s better than any sunless-tanning products I have used (even though it wasn’t created for that purpose). Suggested retail value is $13.99.
The electronic offers included a physical coupon for $1.00 off any EcoTools brush, a $25 ebay gift card and a coupon for a bottle of wine from Club W. The $25 ebay gift card can only be “won” after you write two ebay guides which are basically two blog posts. The coupon for the bottle of wine is only good if you purchase two bottles (so basically buy one get one free).
Have you tried Influenster? Which product was your favorite?
When you’re considering moving into an apartment or rental house, whether its your first apartment or if you’re a renting pro, there are several aspects of moving that you could consider. I’ve separated them into three main categories – budgeting, red flags and to-dos.
Making sure that you can afford the apartment is important. Many budgeting experts suggest having your rent or mortgage payment be 30% or less of your monthly budget. So if your monthly take home pay is 3,000, you should look to find a place that is $1000 a month or less. However, this is just a general guideline, as your bills in combination with your rent will determine if you can really afford it or not. Seeing two apartments listed at the same price in a newspaper or on craigslist doesn’t mean they will both cost you the same out of pocket, as one might include your water bill, snow removal and garbage removal while the other does not. Of course, leaning on the cheaper side is always a safer bet.
Be sure to pay attention to whether or not the following bills/fees are included in your rent or not:
To-dos and questions to ask:
What factors do you consider when moving into an apartment? If you’ve had negative experiences with apartments in the past, please share your experiences below so we can all benefit. Were there any red flags that you missed?
*There is an affiliate link in this blog post.
When I adopted my two pugs about two years ago, they were used to getting rawhide chews. I researched online and quickly learned that rawhide chews are dangerous for dogs because they aren’t easy for dogs to digest. If dogs don’t chew their rawhide into tiny pieces before swallowing, the larger pieces can cause blockages in their digestive track and require surgery. So, I started researching alternatives. You can see my Types Of Dog Chews Comparrison blog post on my other blog to see all the types we’ve tried.
One of my favorite places to order chews from is Petflow.com. Local pet stores and supermarkets charge an arm and a leg for chews – My local meijer charges $7 and change for two SUPER skinny bully sticks – that my dogs would consume in 20 minutes or less.
Petflow.com always has 6″ bully sticks for .99, sometimes from more than one brand. They also often run cheap deals on chews to get you to try them – I’ve even gotten chews for just .01 each in the past, though those super-bargains are usually limited to two or three per household.
I recently placed a Petflow order and thought I’d share with you guys the details of what we got.
Petflow requires that your order is $17 or more, which is the biggest downside to the site. Shipping is usually 4.95 but at least a couple of times per month they offer free shipping on all orders. On Easter they offered free shipping so I ordered just above the $17 minimum and got free shipping.
My order included:
20 Bingo Free Range Buffalo Ears for Dogs at .59 each, total = 11.80
2 Bingo Smoked Buffalo Ears Dog Treats at .59 each = 1.18.
3 canine caviar Gourmet Natural Bully Sticks, .99 each = 2.97 total
1 Butchers Block Butcher Bone The Tail Wagger Dog Bone 1.49
Total order: 17.44 with free shipping.
The original buffalo ears are really thin on the 3 main edges (though thicker on the portion where it would connect to the head) but REALLY big – bigger than my hand. I had ordered these before and was happy with how long they last my dogs (30+ minutes of chewing) for the price.
I expected the smoked buffalo ears to basically be the same but with a smoked flavor. I was surprised that they are quite a bit thicker (though roughly the same size). They seem to be “puffed” a little, they kind of reminded me of the puffed pig ears that Merrick offers in their chew variety bags, except thinner.
I had ordered the .99 bully sticks from Petflow before, and I loved how they were pretty stanard in thickness but they weren’t very stinky and my dogs didn’t get as excited about them as they do bully sticks in other brands. So this time I ordered 3 canine caviar bully sticks becuase they were .99 each. Two that we got were really similar in thickness to the non-branded petflow bully sticks, and the regular bestbullysticks.com bully sticks in thickness, but the third one was only about 1/2 as thick as the others. I hope that the thin one was just a fluke but it’s hard to know with a sample size of 3 bully sticks.
I also ordered a rib bone that was 1.49. My dogs recently have taken to bones where in the past they’d chew the meat/marrow off and then would show no interest. The reviews said the rib bones were really meaty so I decided to give them a try. I haven’t given the bone to my dogs yet but it does have a lot of meat/skin on the outside so even if it only lasts for a single chew session it won’t be a bad deal at $1.50.
If you decide to give Petflow a try please click on my link here before you order. If your first order is $40 or more, this link will give you $10 off your order AND it will give me a $10 credit to use the next time I place an order, so we both benefit.
If you know a pug lover (or even someone with a pug obsession) there are tons of unique pug-themed gifts out there, if you know how to search them out. I am pug obsessed myself so I’ve been keeping track of pug stuff that I want to someday own and decided I’d compile a list of gift ideas for anyone out there who might need some gift ideas for pug lovers.
5. Pug Slippers
11. Pug yoga pants
14. Pug wallet
Are you a pug lover? What items are on your wish list?
A few years ago I heard that my half-sister had been diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Snydrome, which is a genetic condition. She believed that it came from our father’s side of the family instead of her mother’s. I did a quick google search and saw that it included symptoms that I had such as “double jointed” fingers and stretchy skin.
I wondered if it was possible that I had the condition, but I was healthy overall and my stretchy skin and “double jointed” hands didn’t cause me any problems so I didn’t seek out a diagnosis.
Back in October I had two tonic clonic seizures (previously called grand mal) and since then I’ve had a handful of different doctors and have been asked more questions about my health than ever before. At some point it was brought up that my sister has been diagnosed with Ehlers danlos syndrome (EDS) and that I showed symptoms. My primary care doctor said she had heard of EDS but couldn’t recall the details of it offhand so she had me set up an appointment for a few days later so she could research it.
When I went in for that appointment she had me run through the Beightson scale test and she thought I was an 8 out of 9 so she referred me to a geneticist at the university of Michigan in Ann Arbor. My appointment was with Dr. Stern.
I had no idea what to expect from the EDS geneticist appointment. I read online that it would mainly be about diagnosing me and not treating. I was mailed a big questionnaire packet that asked about my health history and details about my family members’ health conditions as well.
During my appointment with Dr Stern he started off by showing me a family tree that included health conditions that I listed for each member. He mainly had me verify that everything listed was accurate and he asked a few questions as well. For example, my grandma had cervical cancer and lung cancer and he was curious if the lung cancer resulted after the cervical cancer or if they were separate from each other. He asked if I knew details about the type of EDS that my sister had (I didn’t really know anything other than she was diagnosed with EDS by a geneticist).
After we went over the family details he asked me about my own health history including asking about my pain level, whether I had experienced dislocations or subluxations, how my body handles bruises and scaring.
Once that was over he gave me a hospital gown to put on. When he came back into the room he thumped around on my back, felt my chest, looked over my legs, teeth, mouth and tongue. He turned the lights off and looked into my eyes with a light. He gave me a blanket to put over my legs, and then asked me to raise the hospital gown up under my chest to bare my stomach while he pushed on various spots. Then he went through the beighton scale “test” with me – having me bend back each pinky, put each thumb to my wrist, hold my arms out straight, stand up (to check my knees) and then he had me bend over and touch the floor with my hands flat on the floor. When I bent over he also checked my back for signs of scoliosis.
Once he was finished he had me change back into my regular clothes. When he came back in he explained that I scored a 5/9 (one point for each pinky, one for each thumb and one for putting my hands flat on the ground without bending my knees). Based on the 5/9 score he said he believed I had EDS and because I didn’t show any signs of classical or vascular types that he felt it was type 3 or hypermobile type.
He gave me some papers with recommended books and websites to check out with more information about EDS and the appointment was over.
I didn’t get any referrals or recommended for any additional testing, though I’ve read that most people are told to have heart-related tests done. Most days I am pain free which is rare for EDS so I assume that is the main reason why I wasn’t referred elsewhere.
I’m sure other geneticists may do things slightly differently, and Dr Stern may have had me do other things if I had other symptoms, but I thought I would share my experience because I wanted to know what to expect at my EDS geneticist appointment before I went and wasn’t able to find very many detailed experiences on the net.
If you’ve seen a geneticist for EDS testing let me know in the comments below how yours was similar or different from my visit.
If you are considering getting a hedgehog it’s important to know how much work hedgehogs are and what their day-to-day care needs are. There are several items mentioned below that you may be unfamiliar with. If that’s the case, I recommend checking out my Must Have Products For Pet Hedgehogs blog post first.
1. Feed & water & clean water & food dishes.
2. Hold for at least 20 minutes (to keep them friendly with you and humans in general).
3. Check cage temperature to make sure thermometer and heater are working properly.
4. Many hedgehog owners recommend weighing your hedgehog daily. Watching their weight will let you know if your hedgehog is losing which is usually the first symptom of an illness.
Every few (2-4 days) days:
1. Clean cage (replace pee-pad or cage liner, lean litter pan if litter trained, wipe down wheel).
2. Put cuddlesack/bed through washer and dryer.
1. Give your hedgehog a bath. I did this about every 4 weeks when my hedgehog was a baby but after he hit puberty he got a lot stinkier so I would bathe him more like every 2 weeks. I did this by filling a bathroom or kitchen sink, putting a hand towel or thick dishcloth on the bottom (so he could walk without slipping around) and then dropping a little bit of Aveeno oatmeal body wash into the water to moisturize him a little bit and prevent his skin from getting dried out.
2. Take your hedgehog to the vet anytime he’s acting lethargic, not eating or otherwise behaving oddly.
Do you have a pet hedgehog? Does it require more or less care than you originally anticipated?