Here We Go Again

As most of my regular followers know, @raspberrytalk has non-epileptic seizures which he has been having since last may. Those of you that are reading my blog for the 1st time - just read this link seizures.

We have recently been looking after my mother-in-law's cats, Bill and Ben. This morning Bill was acting not like his usual self - he was constanly moewing at us and jumping up onto the bed. Now most people will say he was asking for food, but this is not his way of asking and normally only ever goes on the bed if we're not there or already asleep.
Anyway, at one point Bill was sitting on raspberrytalk's chest and just staring at him as if he was waiting for something to happen....

Well a few minutes later something did happen - #raspberrytalk started to have a massive seizure!
It must have lasted at least 20 minutes - or it felt like that. Unlike epileptic seizures #raspberrytalk is aware of what is happening and can feel everything (his seizures are musclular and extruciatingly painful), but just like an epileptic seizure he can not communicate or do anything about it.

Throughout this seizure Bill the cat stayed with #raspberrytalk - that was until #raspberrytalk accidently kicked him of the bed.
But rather than Bill getting grumpy he just sat on the floor looking at #raspberrytalk. I swear Bill knew this was going to happen and I know most people say cats don't really care about us, but I challange that view. If you saw how Bill is with #raspberrytalk and how he takes care of him, you would too.
Afterwards, while #raspberrytalk was recovering, Bill jumped up on the bed again nuzzled up to him and started meowing again. Moments later #raspberrytalk was off again with another massive seizure, this time Bill was quick enough to jump out of the way.

So how was I coping with all this? I did what I usally do - make sure #raspberrytalk was safe. But inside my heart was breaking because I could see the pain he was feeling during his seizures. This is one of the most frustrating things. I can see he's in pain but there's nothing I can do.
After each of his big seizures, #raspberrytalk had what I call his "aftershocks" - smaller less intense seizures and muscle twiching. After the last big one was over he couldn't move one of his legs and his hands/arms kept twitching and spasming. #raspberrytalk describes this as someone else having control over his hands - a bit like the Seth Green film Idle Hands

As I'm writing this #raspberrytalk is in bed asleep, with Bill on the bed watching over him. It's amazing how much effect having cats around has on you and how you feel. Apparently they actually use cats as therapy in some hospitals.

So that was an interesting morning ... also as I'm writing this I'm listening to some tunes just to take myself away from everything. #raspberrytalk often says he's the one having the health problems, but I'm the one who suffers from them, lol

Joking about it is his way of dealing with it, because I know he's really worried about me and how I'm having to deal with it all. I'm the one that has to keep it together.

And you know what? Sometimes I do feel like I'm gonna go mad or just snap.

Take care of each
Carer's Vent


Let's go out for a meal!

Recently me and @#raspberrytalk celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary and #raspberrytalk decided we should go out for a meal. We were staying with Raspberrytalk's dad in Scotland, who had his 70th birthday earlier this year. I will be 40 at the end of this year so #raspberrytalk thought it would be great to do a combined double Birthday and anniversary meal, which I thought was very sweet of him.
But, as always, at the back of my mind I was worried that while we were out he may have a seizure, panic attack or, worse still, Rob might come out to play which would not be a good thing to happen in public!
Actually Rob coming out to play is never good. I never know how to respond to him because no matter what I say he ends up verbally attacking me.

Anyway we found a nice hotel restaurant and, because it was mid-week, I thought it would be not too busy ... which luckily it wasn't.

Raspberrytalk's step mum made the booking for us and when we arrived they showed us the table reserved for us which was, typically, slap bang in the middle of the room.
#raspberrytalk likes to sit with his back against a wall and be able to see the exits. This is not a new thing as he's always been that way since he was young. But recently with his onset of severe anxiety issues and mental health issues, a small matter like this can often set off a serious panic attack or worse!
However, his step mum was already on the ball before I could even say anything and she immediately turned to #raspberrytalk to ask where he'd prefer to sit. This was great because I could see that he'd already started to tense up as soon as he'd spotted the "reserved" sign on the table. He had a quick look around the room and chose a table in the corner and I could feel he had started to relax and calm down.

So we got seated at the more suitable table and it was relatively quiet. All seemed o.k with #raspberrytalk, but it wasn't long until his body decided it was not going to work properly.
It started with his arms. The muscles were already hurting and arms were shaking, when they suddenly decided not work at all (muscle paralysis). They dropped to his sides and he couldn't move or feel them. After a few minutes they suddenly jerked up and started working again, but his right elbow was locked. His shoulder worked, his wrist and hand worked, but try as he might he could not bend his elbow.
While all this was going on I was talking to #raspberrytalk and he was worried that I would have to feed him again as sometimes happens at home, but we were in public in front of his Dad! He was getting very upset, frustrated and embarressed and all I could do was tell him not worry and not to get too upset if that was going to be the case. I got up and just hugged him and he started to feel better.
I can't even begin to know how #raspberrytalk feels when his body does these things, I just know that he looks scared and I'm scared for him. And I'm also very frustrated because there's nothing I can do.

Eventually Raspberrytalk's arms decided to both work properly again, just in time for him to have his starter, which was a relief to me and to #raspberrytalk. I know how embarrassed he gets when I have to feed him.

We were having a very nice evening, chatting and laughing and #raspberrytalk managed to have his starter and main course before his body once again started to not work properly.
This time it was his eyes that decided to play silly buggers. They very suddenly became extremely sensitive to light. I have migraines so I know just what it's like when you become sensitive to light and I was worried that #raspberrytalk was going to have a seizure. Sometimes he becomes extremely sensitive to light and sound just before having a seizure and we've learned to use it as a pre-warning. But luckily on this occasion it wasn't the case and after I gave #raspberrytalk another cuddle and shielded his eyes for a bit, the sensitivity to light went.

I don't want to sound selfish or horrible, but I do sometimes wish these things didn't happen, especially when I'm trying to relax. Unfortunately these things happen randomly, which is one of the hardest things to deal with. At least if there was a pattern I could handle things better and work around them, preplanning what we can and can't do and where we could go.
But this is not the case and we are both slowly learning to deal with things as they come. We're both still trying to come to terms with what's happening to him and #raspberrytalk is still trying to accept that there are somethings which he simply can't do any more. His mind is willing, but his body is just having none of it! lol
I just sometimes wish I could take five minutes to relax and not be on red alert constantly. I know this sounds horrible, but it's how I feel ... and I feel guilty for feeling like this, which just adds to the stress! I'm sure other carers out there must feel the same, especially carer's that look after people with invisible illnesses.
But there are no magic wands to make it all better - hence the blog! My opportunity to vent some of my frustrations ... and hopefully give some peace of mind to anyone else out there feeling some of the same things.

I would like to thank Raspberrytalk's dad and step mum for all their love, support and kind words they've given us over the years ... and for putting up with us both!

Take care of each
Carer's Vent


He's Back........

Many of you that read my blog frequently will know about Rob. For those of you that are new to following my blog, I recomend you read this link - The 3 people I live with - before you read this blog entry.

Rob does not appear much these days, I don't know why. He did briefly rear his ugly head while @Raspberrytalk was doing some "relaxation" breathing exercises at a Psychological Assessement. That was a few months back and I had hoped that that would be the last I'd see and hear from him.
But no such luck. #Raspberrytalk was sitting out in his Dad's garden when he started to feel dizzy. I decided to take #Raspberrytalk into the house and while trying to get him into the house he fell onto his knees, bashing his arm while trying to break his fall. After a few minutes I managed to get him back to his feet and over to the sofa and I just knew he was not right by the way he was breathing. I tried my best to get him to slow his breathing down, but it seemed the more I tried the more he was hyperventilating.
As this was happening I could see that he had clenched his fists and was grinding his teeth. This could only mean one thing ... Rob was trying to come out to play and #Raspberry was trying to hold him back.
While I was trying to calm him down I kept asking #Raspberrytalk to look at me. When he finally did and I saw his eyes, I could see it was Rob and not #Raspberrytalk. It's hard to explain but his eyes change from being kind eyes to eyes that are filled with anger and hatred.
As calmly as I could I told Rob to go away and leave my husband alone. But before I knew it, I was having to restrain Rob/Raspberrytalk because he was trying to hurt himself by hitting his head (which he did do a few times before I had a chance to grab his wrists).
When I did finally restrain him Rob tried fitting back, but I could tell #Raspberrytalk was trying to hold him back too. My husband is far stronger than me and if Rob ever got full control I'd never really be able to restrain him.
After a few minutes #Raspberrytalk pulled me to him and wrapped his arms around me and was crying out through clenched teeth as if in great pain and was squeezing me really tight. What I didn't see until afterwards was that, as always, Rob was fighting back and was digging his nails into #Raspberrytalks arms and scratching him.

While this was going on #Raspberrytalk's Dad was watching it all happen. I could see this was really upsetting him and as soon as I could I went over to him and comforted him. I told him I know it's hard to see, but #Raspberry will be ok. I could see by the look in his eyes that he was scared for his son, frustrated at not being able to make everything better and wanted his son to be well again.
Luckily Rob didn't stay around for too long and he didn't get verbal, which would not have been good.

Fighting with Rob always takes it's toll on both me and #Raspberrytalk. As usually happens he ended up collapsing with exhaustion and having to sleep for rest of the evening, while me, #Raspberrytalk's Dad and Step Mum spent the time dealing with the emotional fallout that #Raspberrytalk's psychological, psychiatrict, neurological and physical events always leave in their wake.

I think there needs to be some sort of training made available for people that have to care for a loved one with these sort of issues, but there seem to be none that I can find that don't have hefty fees attached!
#Raspberrytalk's Dad did say to me that I was doing a brilliant job taking care of his son. Raspberrytalk also told me later that his Dad said I'm a very strong woman. I hope I can stay strong .....

Take care of each other
Carer's Vent


Same S***, Different Day....

it seems as soon as I start to relax a bit and stupidly think my husband is not going to have some kind of spell ...

... he has a spell! Luckily we were at home and there were other people in the house to help. I just popped to the toilet and while I was gone, Raspberry being Raspberry, decided to "help" by going to the kitchen to start making us all some drinks. I came back and went to the kitchen to check on him ... only to find him half passed out on his perching stool, leaning back against the fridge gasping for breath! Thank God his stool was there (thank you Social Services!)or my husband would have ended up on the floor - or worse still, he could have badly banged his head on the floor or worktop on his way down!

The thing is, he could have been there for ages. I only walked into the kitchen to check on him because I sort of sensed that something was wrong.

This is something I've seen many times before, my husband collapsed with exhaustion, but I can usually get him over to the sofa or the bed before he's completely gone.
This time however, my husband's whole body simply decided it was not going to work anymore. As I was checking he was ok and still conscious he slumped forwards and his whole dead weight fell against me. I couldn't move him and just had to stand there bracing his entire weight on my legs ....ouch!!

Luckily, just as I was sure my legs were going to buckle, my husbands mother noticed what was going on and could see that my legs was shaking with the strain of holding my husband up. She quickly called to my husband's step dad who came running in and rescued us both. As he took my husband's weight he turned to me and said "He's bloody heavy, isn't he!?".

My husband was now completely unresponsive and he still couldn't move either because of the muscle paralysis, but he was still awake because his eyes were open and he remembers it all clearly. No matter how many times I see this happen it still scares me.

A few minutes later my husband suddenly jerked upright on the stool and became semi responsive - almost as if half asleep (or very drunk! lol). We managed to get him to his feet and move very unsteadily into the living room and sit him in a chair. Unfortunately, within a few minutes of him being put into the chair he slumped down and started to have a seizure. I tried my best to keep him safe and keep him in the chair, but as his entire body was flexing and thrashing about because of the violent nature of his seizures, he slowly slid down the chair and ended up on the floor.
I asked his step dad to get some water because I know when my husband comes around he will need a drink. These seizures are very muscular in nature and always leave my husband completely drained as if he's just run a race. He is also usually in great pain afterwards with several pulled muscles.

At one point while my husband was seizing, I looked at my mother inlaw and could see a mix of fear and frustration in her eyes. She turned to me and said "They're getting worst aren't they?".
It's sad to say, but after my husband had stopped seizing and we'd managed to get him back into the chair, I had to tell her that what she saw was not the worst and in fact it was quite a small attack. I held her hand and asked if she was o.k (stupid question, I know!) and told her "I know it's scary to see but he's o.k now".

Typical of these seizures, my husband was now completely back to normal (aside from a few pulled muscles and being exhausted) and I got the pair of them to hold hands ... it was all I could think to do.

So there you go; Same s***, different day ... but at least this time I had extra support and someone to actually help me move my husband (Thank You!!).

I hate that this is happening to my husband. And I really hate to say it, but when he has his spells it's not just him they affect. I'm also drained afterwards, but it's more emotionally rather than physically. I feel selfish when I say it, but my husband says I shouldn't be so silly. He says "of course you're drained. You have every right to be and shouldn't feel bad for feeling like that. I wouldn't wish having to deal with all this/me on my worst enemy!".

Then we both usually get upset, there are "I love you"s and even tears because of "all the pain" we're causing each other ... and it all becomes very slushy, damp and emotional, lol

Take Care of Each Other
Carers Vent