TESTIFY | If I Should Die Before I Wake – Pt. 2

By Pat L. Simmons

Witnessing the seizure was my family trial, the aftermath began mine. Awake and mostly alert, a nurse talked to me. What she said I forget by the next day. What I remember most of those coming into the examining room was the anguish that draped my husband’s tear streaked face. I panicked and lifted my arms to him. “What’s wrong?” Not realizing that I was what was wrong. I had never seen my husband cry, and the sight was frightened. I knew we loved each other, but I felt the depth of his fear. He thought he had lost me.

“Okay, you didn’t have a stroke, blood clot, or aneurysm,” the neurologist advised as he walked into the room. “We don’t know what caused your seizure, but you can go home.”

Fully alert, I answered what my husband was about to say, “I don’t think so. If you don’t know what caused me to have a seizure then I’m not going home.”

Without an argument he nodded. That night I had another seizure in my hospital bed. The next morning, it was my husband who told the doctor I wasn’t coming home until I was seizure free.

At home a few days later I recall a conversation with my mother-in-law. “Who am I that I’m not suppose to suffer? Even as a saint of God I know I have to go through just like Jesus suffered.” Although it was a private conversation, the devil was eavesdropping.

As a forty-six year old educated professional, I decided to take charge and get to the bottom calamity. I made up questions like, could this have contributed to seizure: lifestyle, medications, past illnesses, and work load. She politely listened before answering, “No, sometimes we never find a cause.”

“What!” Somebody is going to tell me something. All of a sudden with no family history, no provocation of my part I just up and experience a major seizure. This was unacceptable. Unfortunately almost six months later and caratoid duplex, MRI and Cat Sacns for stroke, brain tumors, and aneurysm. No cause. So suddenly I’m one of millions of epileptic and wear a medical bracelet.

All medicines list side effects as a precaution, but the fourth medicine, Zonegran, prescribed for control and prevention of my tonic-clonic (previously called Grand Mal) seizures proved almost deadly. A calm person by nature, I didn’t question when I began to feel anxious a month later. After all, my husband was hospitalized for emergency surgery for a gangrene-infect gall bladder. He landed in the same hospital room I had–eerie. Under Missouri’s law, I can’t drive for six months, so bumping rides to and from the hospital and worrying about Kerry’s first ever surgery.

I didn’t think much of my sleepless nights(a prerequisite for a seizure) and agitation. I told myself once he came home from the hospital, I’ll feel better. Then it happened. As customary, I watch the nightly news because I’m a television assignment editor and I need to know what’s going on in St. Louis before I get to work. Quietly sitting on the floor alone in my daughter’s room I experienced an overpowering feeling like I was about to be body-slammed against the wall any minute. The feeling didn’t subside as I sat still watching the news as a matter of fact the pressure to fling myself out the window was nagging. Something was wrong. I knew that if I yield to whatever, I wouldn’t be able to stop it and my demise was sure.

Deliberately standing up I concentrating on walking to our bedroom. One false move and I couldn’t be responsible for my next action. Laying in our bed recovering, my husband glanced from the television at me.

“Kerry, I’m freaking out,” I said softly.

He looked at me strangely because I spoke normal, looked normal, and ?. “Okay.”

“Kerry, I’m telling you, I’m freaking out.”

He sat up to the best of his ability and gave he his full attention. “What do yoy mean?”

When I explained what I just experienced, his brows knitted in concern.”C’mon, get in bed. Maybe you’ll feel better in the morning.”

Yeah right. I had to get past that night to make it to the morning. In bed, my body still wanted to leap up. I was afraid. Something was happening to me and only God could help me.

Praise God I woke the next morning. But the scare wasn’t over. I knew somehow the medicine was linked to the episode the previous night. I dreaded the repeat experience so I phoned our nurse hotline provided by our insurance. Not only did the nurse tell me the unusual thought were suicidall, but advised me that if I didn’t take my next dose I would endure a stat epileptic.

Treatment for Epilepsy

  • Tegretol
  • Klonopin
  • Dilantin*
  • Felbatol
  • Lamictal*
  • Topamax
  • Zonagran*
  • Keppra*
  • Hard to control seizures can be treated with diet, surgery or a vagus nerve stimulation
  • .

Facts about Seizures/Epilepsy

Epilepsy can develop at any age. Seizures are common among 18-25, but 61,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed in people 65 and older each year.

More than 2.7 million Americans have epilepsy. About 1 million of them are women and girls.**According to the Epilepsy Foundation, many years ago people with epilepsy weren’t allowed to marry. Today, a woman with epilepsy may be told not to have children. Seizures cause women to be more susceptible to complications during pregnancy.

Seizure Triggers

  • Failure to take medication as prescribed.
  • Lack of sleep increases the frequency of seizures
  • Withdrawal from alcohol, illegal drugs especially cocaine
  • Extreme stress
  • Hormonal changes during monthly cycles or menopausal
  • Setbacks

    • Up to one year driving restrictions depending on state
    • Avoid over night shifts and study sessions
    • No unsupervised swimming or baths



    Pat Simmons is the co-publicist at Midwest Publicity, a two-woman team, handling the media publicity for the Romantic Times BOOKlovers’ yearly conventions, and securing interviews for national bestselling authors such as L.A. Banks, Bobbi Smith, Christina Skye, and Heather Graham.

    She holds a B.S. in Mass Communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She is married and has a daughter and son attending college. Her hobbies/interests include conversations with dead people, whether it’s her own genealogy, or an incredible tale weaved by a stranger on a park bench. To Pat, both are equally captivating. Pat prides herself on dressing in the latest fashions created with her twenty year-old Kenmore sewing machine.

    Her novels include Guilty of Love (September 2007) and Talk To Me (November 2008).