Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Seized the Night

Trey Smith


Our very brief trip to White Salmon this weekend was interesting, to say the least.

When we pulled out of South Bend on Saturday morning, the temperature was in the mid 40s and, of course, it was raining. By the time we entered the Columbia River Gorge, the temperature there was in the upper 20s and we drove through a mixture of freezing ran, sleet and snow. We were very thankful that we were driving my friend's 4 x 4 because, at one point, we might have gotten stuck had we been in our little car!

We were in White Salmon little more than one hour unloading Della's stuff. With the forecast for the evening and next day calling for copious amounts of snow and near gale force winds, we decided to start back west pronto. We made it as far as Woodland, WA (a few miles north of Vancouver) when we decided we were both exhausted, so we checked into a Motel 6.

And that's when the real fun began.

Sometime around midnight, I heard terror in Della's voice as she kept asking me "What's wrong? Honey, what's wrong?" As I had been sound asleep, I was having trouble getting my bearings. Della continued to plead with me to answer, but I couldn't get any words out. When I finally was able to figure out where I was, it didn't make any sense: I was on all-fours on the sidewalk in front of our motel room!

From Della's perspective, I had just had a psychomotor seizure. All I can remember of the incident is hearing her repeated questions and having the feeling that I couldn't breathe.

According to my wife, this is what happened. We both were sound asleep when, all of a sudden, I woke up so abruptly that it woke her up too. She said that my eyes looked blank and I was smacking my lips wildly. I staggered out of bed toward the motel room door, opened it and then collapsed on the sidewalk. She initially thought I was having a heart attack or stroke.

As alarming as this incident was, it is not the first time it has happened to me. Over the course of the past 25 years or so, something similar has occurred, maybe, ten to fifteen times. The particulars sometimes are slightly different, but these incidents seem to come from the same script. They have always occurred when I am asleep and, once each incident ends, I am unable to sleep for the rest of that night because each time I start to drop off to sleep, I am jerked awake. No matter how exhausted I am, I will not be able to fall asleep for several hours.

Yesterday, I went to see my family doctor and, after Della described the Saturday night incident to him, he agreed that it sure sounded to him like a psychomotor seizure. His office will make a referral to a neurologist.

Great. Just what I need. With all my other physical and mental challenges, will I get to add epilepsy to the list?!

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