Fishing in Public

PNES

How’s things, folks? I hope you’re doing a lot better than me. I got yet another health issue to deal with. As if I didn’t have enough, now I got something called PNES (psychogenic nonepileptic seizures). And this one’s a doozey. So much so that I want to sent out a kind of alert about it.

I believe one of the reasons I have it is too much suds while I was fishing. See, a few months ago I laid off drinking. Then six weeks ago I quit smoking. Yeah, just put out my last butt and walked away. Now, around this time my ex-roomie and good friend was murdered. You take all this and stir in laying off the weed as well and you’ve got the recipe for a psycho-disaster known as PNES.

I’ll tell you, it’s no fun at all. Fortunate for you, and not so for me, I’m having an episode right now. Fortunate for you ’cause you’re getting a warning. I didn’t get that luxury. I was just completely taken by surprise about a couple weekends ago.

The big symptom I really noticed first was uncontrollable shaking. There were other things I’ve since learned which I’ll key you in on, but that is by far the biggie.

Now, before I go any further let me explain that these are my symptoms but won’t necessarily be yours, although I guess everyone gets hit with the shakes. With me, there’s a real good chance I’m gonna wake up around 1 a.m. to take a leak. And I’m fully aware of my 4 a.m. “feeding,” so to speak. Oh yes, did I fail to mention that I do take methadone, to further complicate matters? And I’ve got COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) to boot.

But my signs are improving a little (I hope). And it is actually good therapy to write about what you’re going through.

Anyways, usually I gotta piss first. Then a strange sensation, indescribable unless you get it. Now me, I hear voices. And bang, you are thirsty — so much so that while you’re drinking you’re thirsty! No joke. Then your stomach gets kind of queasy. Then will come twitching in your limbs, like sparks bursting over a campfire, which is sure fitting, as you’re having electric sparks in your brain. Something to do with magnesium, maybe. I got a couple of appointments today — maybe mine should be checked.

If you have access to a computer you’ll see the most frustrating thing of all this macabre adventure is that nobody understands it. And the hospital keeps saying, “We don’t have the facilities to deal with this, sorry.” It’s tempting to overdo your medication, but one a day — stay the course.

You might also feel small pangs of pain. If you believe you have or may get PNES, go right to the computer. My editor and other people looked it up in about two seconds flat. Oh, and you’ll also learn that it is very rarely fatal — just a bitch to deal with. Perhaps harder for me, with my complications and age.

It’s kind of weird, but you do want to see what’s next and you don’t. That’s the anxiety part that kicks in after my Paxil starts wearing thin. I just try to do my normal activities every day, hoping for the best, expecting the worst. I also get minor heart palpitations which does, I admit, shake me up. But the docs keep saying it looks alright. Sure hope it stays that way.

It’s hard, though. I got a doctor’s appointment in a couple hours and I been up with this goddamn thing since 2 a.m. Oh, and another symptom: it always feels like something’s stuck in your throat. I always cough, but maybe that just pertains to me being an ex-smoker. I actually tried another butt once, but to no avail — cough keeps coming back.

Some good news for me yesterday: the therapist taught me a relaxation technique about breathing, holding your breath and … slow and steady as she goes, mate! I’m doing it right now and it’s working well. Thanks to LCSW Ruth and her breathing info, my tummy don’t hurt. I feel much more relaxed and my shaking has subsided again, at least for now.

One other ailment is a bit of absent-mindedness. I’m thinking about the program at hand and I leave my apple juice in the nice warm sun. I must admit that could just be a touch of senility, given my age and rather interesting history with plants. Who really knows for sure?

You know what? I could actually go fishing today. I do believe there’s a god after all. I find myself constantly saying, Just go away, goddamn you, fucking disease from hell! I’m usually dreading to see what the next day brings, but I’m not doing that today. For the first time in what seems like a lifetime, I’d kinda like to see what’s coming.