July 22, 2009

(Originally Published 21/11/2007)

On Saturday morning I had a seizure.  I was walking along with my friends Michael, Willy, and Ryousuke and we had just left Ryousuke’s house and were walking down the hill when it hit.  I remember feeling totally fine and then suddenly getting dizzy and waking up in the hospital.  I don’t remember anything that happened on the way to the hospital.  My friend Michael wrote about it in his blog and has graciously allowed me to reproduce the experience here (since I can’t remember for the life of me what went down).More...

The next day we set out for (Osaka) around noon, but on our way to the station Quill started feeling dizzy. Suddenly he contorted grotesquely, his back arched, head tilted upwards, all while making a horrible choking sound. Immediately he fell backwards, but Ryosuke and I caught him. He started convulsing violently, and though I had never seen a seizure before, I figured that’s what was happening. Ryosuke was (quick) on the draw and called for help. We were on concrete so I thought the best thing to do would be to hold his head still while the others held down the rest of him. He started frothing at the mouth, still making that awful sound. The whole time I kept talking to him, but he was completely unresponsive. I turned him on his side ’cause it sounded like he might puke, but he just spat up a bunch of saliva. Despite the sound, he seemed to be breathing, so I didn’t know what to do.

Suddenly he stopped shaking, and appeared to fall asleep, breathing strongly through his nose. I was still unclear as to what was actually happening, but I thought brain trauma might be involved so I kept trying to wake him up. Eventually he opened his eyes, but didn’t seem to be “awake”. He kept looking at Willy and I, but wasn’t responding to my questions. Eventually he let out a weak “hey guys…” followed by “my arm hurrrrts” and “stop hitting me!”. I asked him if he knew who we were and he said “yes”, but when I asked him to say our names, he couldn’t seem to do it. He kept falling back asleep, and I kept trying to keep him awake with questions.

Finally an ambulance arrived. I looked up the word for “seizure” and told a paramedic that’s what I thought had happened. One anxious ambulance ride and hospital wait later, we kept him company in a hospital bed. He seemed to have his memory and mental capacities back, but I’m still worried. If it was a stroke (certainly odd, but so was the seizure) there very well could have been brain damage.

Whew, pretty scary!  I spent the first day (Saturday) just sleeping in the hospital but I was ready to leave by Sunday.  Overall it wasn’t a bad experience because I shared a room with three cool old dudes and we talked in Japanese together a lot.  Also, the nurses were really nice and we talked about various things while they were pumping all sorts of strange liquids into my body.  I got to speak Japanese with some of the family members of the old dudes too and one of the older women wanted to learn how to say “idiot” “that guy” and “angry” in English.  Hmm…  Ryousuke and his mom took such good care of me and when I said I was getting bored just sitting around in the hospital Ryousuke’s mom went out and bought eight volumes of my favorite manga for me!  She also bought me new underwear, socks, and a pants/sweatshirt set.  Wow, they’re just so nice!

Friday night we went to a Super Sento (public bath house) and that was a really great experience.  However, all the exposure to the hot water and the sauna could have been what triggered my seizure the next day.  I also was running on lots of coffee and hadn’t had any water for awhile so I may have been dehydrated or suffering from the effects of caffeine.

Earlier on Friday we went to Monkey Mountain!  It was a great adventure and we had to ride packed trains there and back (and I mean packed!).  People were literally getting shoved into the train and even though you were already squished against people on all sides they somehow found a way to make it even tighter.  I was so thankful my head is above everyone else because otherwise it would have been an extremely uncomfortable ride.  Monkey Mountain is a special monkey preserve on Iwatayama in the town of Arashiyama near Kyoto.  Arashiyama is a mad house right now because there are so many people there to see the autumn colors but Iwatayama wasn’t too crowded because most people go to the other mountain where they have better views of Kyoto.  We climbed up to the top of the mountain and got to hang out with the monkeys for about an hour probably.  There were dozens of them and they just walked right by, literally centimeters away, not paying any attention to us.  They were just plain cool, posing all over the place for people to take pictures with them.  There are three rules when entering Monkey Mountain: 1) Do not feed the monkeys, 2) Do not look the monkeys in the eye, and 3) Do not touch the monkeys.  Other than that you’re free to just sit there and chill with the monkeys.  It was a really great experience and one that I’ve been waiting for a very long time.  I definitely wouldn’t mind going back there again and again.

I went to a different hospital here in Hirakata today (Tuesday) to get an MRI and some other sort of brain scan done.  Everything checks out fine so now I’ve just got to hassle the insurance company to reimburse me for the $1400 I shelled out the last several days to run all these tests and make sure I’m not falling apart.  Augh.  That’s all for now, I’ve got to go to work and catch up on mounds of homework.


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