Normally Knit Night looks like this. Everyone is excited about what the others are working on. Hands moving quickly, sharing ideas, and inspiring each other. But on July 1st, it was different, very, very different!
My Faithful Sherpa had just sent me a text asking how I was doing. So I sent him this photo back.
Then two hours later, my poor Faithful Sherpa had to rush down to my office and talk with the EMT's. That right, I took a ride in the ambulance to Seneca Hospital in Chester, CA.
Let me back up a bit.
That Saturday, I hosted 30 of my Faithful Sherpa's friends and family to a sit down dinner at our house to celebrate his 60th birthday. I had worked for a month to plan this event. We were having steak for dinner that night and I wanted everyone to enjoy their meal from actual china instead of paper plates. So I spent days looking for plates at the second hand store. I worked with the Taylorsville Store to plan a delicious menu, met with Hanson's Homemade Pies for dessert and hired Sunday Iris, a duo from Chico, to come up and play. (www.sundayiris.net/)
We had so much fun that evening. But as with any event, both my Faithful Sherpa and I were tired the next day. But we still had house guests and had to clean up the garden. So we pushed on.
When Monday came around, I was super tired but I still had to work. At one point, I actually laid my head down on my desk and closed my eyes for a minute. But then I remembered all the things I had to accomplish at work, so I lifted my head and pushed on.
Sometimes during Knit Night we have lots of people here, sometimes we have a few. That night, Renee, Blanca and Rosaina joined me.
"How did the party go" they asked, while I walked out from behind my desk, over to the chair to join them.
Just then I had a hot flash (yes I'm of that age). My shoes were already off, so I put my feet up to relax a bit and that's the last thing I remember.
Thankfully Rosaina, a nurse, knew exactly what was happening. They called 911. "Whatever happens, don't let them take Eva to the hospital until her husband is here" she told Renee and Blanca. Then she jumped in her car and drove up to the house to get my Faithful Sherpa (she didn't know my Faithful Sherpa's cell number).
Rosaina had recognized that I was having a seizure. There's really not much a person can do when someone near them is having a seizure, other than protect the patient from hurting themselves. When I arrived at Seneca Hospital I had a second seizure.
Wow, that's hard to say outloud. Its something that I wanted to block out of my mind, but I know I can't.
Around midnight the hospital sent us home. I spent the rest of the week sleeping, mostly. I really couldn't remember anything from the event just bits and pieces, John Hunter's face (he's a first responder and owns the hardware store...small town!), the female EMT talking to me. The following week I went into the office for an hour or so here and there just to be sure all the essential tasks were taken care of.
When I was ready, Michael, Zuzu and I would take walks out in the woods. The fresh air and the beauty that surrounded me really made a difference.
It's easy to get swallowed up in misery when you're sick. And if I listened to the tape that played over and over in my mind, it would be hard to find joy in anything. "why did this happen to me. . .how am I ever going to get better. . .will I ever be able to knit?"
"I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery - air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "this is what it is to be happy." Sylvia Plath
My Faithful Sherpa had been a solid rock thru all of this. Doctor appointment after appointment, driving down to Chico, San Anselmo, or Redding each week. "I wouldn't be anywhere else" he would tell me. After the last appointment with neurologist in San Anselmo, she confirmed what happened.
Whaaa, epilepsy, at my age! I hear of children who have epilepsy, not a 57 year old women.
Epileptic seizures may be related to a brain injury or, as in my case, a family tendency, but most of the time the cause is completely unknown. Some researchers now believe that the chance of developing epilepsy is probably always genetic. ("Causes of Epilepsy" Epilepsy Society 2019 bit.ly/2qySwek). Both my aunt and cousin had epilepsy.
So what is epilepsy really.
Typically a seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain. In other words, the electrical activity in your brain fires off like, all of a sudden it's had waaaay too many energy drinks and everything goes haywire.
There are several different forms of seizures. A mild seizure, which may be difficult to recognize and can last a few seconds, otherwise known as a absent seizure.
Or, in my case, a stronger seizures which can cause spasms and uncontrollable muscle twitches (which is what fractured my left humerus), and can last a few seconds to several minutes. During a stronger seizure, some people become confused or lose consciousness. (happened!) Afterward you may have no memory of it happening (totally happened!)
I had to cancel a lot of events, actually all events between July and September. I wasn't ready, my arm still hurt, I couldn't knit, but mostly I was scared.
Scared that it would happen again. Scared that I wouldn't be so lucky to have such good friends who were around me, and a nurse! Oh how I was lucky that Rosaina is a nurse.
Although I don't have any memory of what actually happened, the aftermath on my body reminded me that something major went on. A swollen tongue, a fat lip, a blue arm, a fractured arm, a sore body, loss of memory.
After a few trials and errors (found out I'm allergic to a couple of medications, that was no fun!) my neurologist started me on a new anti-seizure medication, Vimpat. And, although she didn't mean to, she provided me with a mantra, one that has helped me get thru the anxiety of possibly having another seizure.
"With these, you are covered!"
I can't tell you how many times I have repeated those comforting words "You are covered!"
It's taken time, time to regain memory, time for the swelling to go down, time to realize that with my medication it won't happen again.
And for me, a knitter, someone who creates with her hands, time to heal enough to knit again!
For many people, yoga or meditation helps keep them calm. But for me, it's knitting. Knitting has immeasurable effects on anxiety. And going thru the most anxiety ridden event in my life, it was difficult, no awful, no unimaginable not being able to knit,
Its taken 3 months until I was able to hold my knitting needles again, without pain, and actually create something. And you know me, I'm always knitting, fast, and spends hours sitting and knitting. "Don't over do it" my Faithful Sherpa would remind me. He's right.
I've told a number of people whats happened, not because I want the attention, who would want attention by bragging they had a seizure! But because if anything happens again they will know what's going on.
I'm so grateful,
Grateful for the beautiful people who have joined me during knit night.
Grateful for the friendships that we have formed,
Grateful for Renee, Blanca and Rosaina that they had a level enough head to help me during this incredibly awful event.
Grateful for my Faithful Sherpa for forever taking care of me.
For always driving me where I need to go.
And for loving me thru everything.
and grateful to be able to knit again.
For more information on epilepsy, you can visit the Epilepsy Foundation. Their website is full of helpful facts for people with epilepsy and for caregivers. www.epilepsy.com/