Weekend Doc

Last night, while Louise was feeding herself her first solid food, we got a chance to talk to a different neurologist…the weekend one. He came to check on her at the request of the doctor who has been treating her. In the morning, she had been chatty and, with Ray’s help, called many family members. She was conversing, meaning responding back to questions we asked her. This was great progress and we were all thrilled to hear her voice after a week of mostly silence. However, about mid-morning Ray said she fell back into her deep sleep. When she woke 45 minutes later, she had no memory of any phone calls or visitors from the day. By the time we arrived in the afternoon, she was back conversing again. However, her short-term memory was noticeably affected. She also seems slow to process. During our conversation with the doctor, she didn’t seem to be following our comments, or to realize we were talking about her. When we told her she was in the hospital she said, “Really? I am?!” even though we have told her numerous times before. She doesn’t seem able to retain information.
According to the neurologist, that is normal for this type of seizure activity. It seems that just before an event, as well as just after all memory is wiped out for a time. He said the thing to watch for is the frequency of the events, and the severity…both of which are decreasing. Rather than just blast her up to a huge dose of meds, they are increasing it in small increments. That way they can get just what she needs to stop the activity and no more. He called them complex partial seizures and he said they accompany her particular type of brain tumor. Any time there is brain trauma, could be a tumor, or brain surgery, or radiation, there is a risk of seizures 6 months to a year from the event. Louise had all three of these traumas. Her first seizure was in June, which was just over one year from her surgery. She was put on anti-seizure meds and has been seizure free until last week. Now it appears that they are coming one right after the other for some reason. This neurologist did not seem stumped by this…in fact he made it sound as if this is a fairly normal occurrence for someone with Louise’s history. He said that once the medication was regulated that she should be able to regain function as it was before this happened. It may be slow in coming, but her brain is not injured at this time….just shorting out repeatedly. He also said that the drug they are using is the drug of choice because it does not interfere with liver function, or other medications she may be taking. I asked about drowsiness from the drug and he said that it is only one of a long list of possible side effects and that most people do not have significant sleepiness from it. He feels her sleep is due to the seizures, not the meds. I felt much better after our talk with him. It didn’t seem so “unknown” as I had thought based on the other doctor.
Today Ray says that Louise is chatty again. She has had several visitors on this lovely Sunday afternoon. She is still enjoying her solid food and insisting on feeding herself. She does a good job. Last night she said she wasn’t hungry, but once I gave her a few bites she said it tasted “so good.” I figure after a week of not eating it would probably taste good…even hospital food. We couldn’t stop her then…it took her over an hour to feed herself but she ate every bite…not a crumb left. The return of appetite is a good sign. She may not realize it but she is hungry. This reduced sensation of hunger happened after surgery too, so I think we can just get her started when she doesn’t think she is hungry and then she will realize it. Overall, the news is good I think. At least we are on the right track. The time to recover what function she had is unclear, but the fact that they think she can is a weight off our minds.

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