When I was a kid, I had an adorable teddy bear hamster. His cage was on the desk across from my bed. Back in those days, I slept through earthquakes--literally--so Charley's frenzied nocturnal workouts on the running wheel never bothered me. By the time Iman was old enough to want a pet of her own and to be given the care of a hamster, the old saying that squeaky wheels get the oil had taken on a whole new meaning to me. It was then that I began to wish that I could experience the joy of running around on a wheel, joyfully going in circles and getting nowhere without a care in the world. Life with Chiari often leaves me feeling like a hamster on a wheel except that where the hamster enjoys the ride and doesn't care that there's no destination to reach at the end, I find running in circles quite frustrating and know that the more I run toward feeling better, the further away from that elusive goal I get.

I'm still not quite okay after the seizures and headaches of a few days ago. I stayed at home on Friday, thinking that I would get some things done around the house before beginning the grading fest looming on the horizon. Armed with a neatly organized To Do list, I tackled the chores: cleaning the cat boxes, dusting the ceiling fans, washing the curtains, scrubbing the bathroom fixtures. With each item that I crossed off the list, the more empowered and able to complete the next task I felt. It's been a while since I managed to maintain such focus without feeling like I needed to nap between jobs, so it was with a sense of exhiliration that I unloaded the dishwasher and made it ready for another load. And then, like some great cosmic joke with me as the punchline, something pulled the rug right out from underneath me!

With no warning ahead of time, my legs buckled, the kitchen rug slid across the floor, and I landed in a heap with a seizure well under way. Chiari patients sometimes have drop attacks during which muscle tone weakens suddenly and significantly enough that they drop things they are holding or fall if standing. I've had a few drop attacks, but they occur so rarely that I seldom think about them. I'm sure that what happened on Friday was a drop attack followed by, not precipitated by, a seizure. The whole event lasted 45 seconds or so, and I never lost consciousness. My dignity, on the other hand, didn't fare quite so well. :)

The seizure was intense enough that fighting off the need to sleep afterward was impossible, and I gave in to the need for a nap. For a few hours after the event, I felt weak, shaky, and a bit disoriented. I guess that my right leg must have been the one to bear the brunt of the drop attack because it still aches (it's currently 2:16 am on Sunday). I've had a couple of small electrical shortages, with headaches and stiffness in the neck thrown in for good measure, since the attack. Still, I haven't felt the need to bring out the big guns (Cafergot) yet, as I have an incredibly high tolerance for pain and the prescription strength Ibuprofen makes it bearable.

For now, my inner hamster has joined me on the pity pot and together, we're running like the wind on the Chiari wheel of life. Oh, how I wish I could be like Willie Nelson and sing about how good it is to be "on the road again."

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2 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Glad to hear you weren't hurt badly when you fell. Sounds like you got a lot done before. I have days when I get a burst of energy and get a lot done. It's a good feeling to get chores crossed off the "to do" list!! Hope you're feeling better today!

  2. Carleen Says:

    The leg is feeling better today, so I'm left to assume that I probably just strained the muscle. No biggie -- God knows I've experienced much worse, LOL!

    Usually, I avoid making lists of things to do because if I can't get everything crossed off, I feel guilty. Lately, though, they are becoming more and more necessary for me to use if for no other reason than to help me remember what the heck I was supposed to get done.

    Life is beautiful. . .

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