Wednesday, November 5, 2008

seething anger

My mother is epileptic; she has been since i was 11. The term epilepsy has a terrible connotation from the olden days when people who fell down and shook were locked away in sanitariums and shunned; we have all had to learn over the years how to get over that, especially mommy who remembers them there olden days. In reality epilepsy is a term that loosely defines many conditions that involve seizures. Mom's is from a brain chemical imbalance due to very localized brain damage from a blow to the head on a girl scout camping trip. It is controlled by medication and she lives a pretty normal life, except that she really has to watch getting too tired or stressed out cause if her chemistry goes out of whack she seizes. She has petite mal seizures which means she doesn't convulse or throth, instead she becomes completely unresponsive and loses muscle strength. It is upsetting to witness cause one minute she is my mommy and the next there is no one behind her eyes. She hasn't had any serious incidents in 6-9 years (we can't agree on the exact time length) until yesterday. 15 minutes before my new employee was due to arrive (can i get a whoop-whoop for new team member Carrie? now i'm only 1.5 people down) i get the call that mom is in the hospital. I managed to get a hold of her expecting to have her be a little disoriented and pissed off that her roommate called 911. I was horrified that she was confused, incoherent and barely knew what was going on around her; she described things that weren't at all like what we are used to experiencing. It really seemed like she might have had a stroke. Terrified doesn't begin to describe me yesterday. Testing and a bit of time later we know that it probably was a series of grand mal seizures (which she's never had before) brought on by a medication imbalance. How is that possible? you ask. She's so vigilant with her medication, you point out. Yes, yes she is. Turns out that the last set of medication she got was generic. But generic drugs are the same as the name brands, you say. That's what i said to her neurologist last night. His response "That's not always true, especially with anti-convulsives." ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!! So let me get this straight: the generic equivalent of Claritin is the same even though if it wasn't the worst thing that could happen would be scratchy eyes, runny nose and congestion, but the generic equivalent of Lamectal (sp?) ISN'T really equivalent even though the worst thing that could happen would be someone has a seizure while driving, killing themselves and a busload of nuns and puppies? How is this allowable???? How is this okay???? How is it that we didn't know about this???? What if my mommy didn't have a roommate? What if she hadn't been at home? What if she had been operating heavy machinery? It is scary enough knowing that your body doesn't work right on its own, but how can any of us be at ease when the medication we rely on to LIVE might not be right?!? Do these drug companies know how dangerous seizures can be? Do they know how much 2 days in the hospital costs? Do they have ANY IDEA how long it will take her to fully recover from this episode? Do they understand how hard she has worked to get back to a normal life after her breakup with my dad? Do they have any clue how demoralizing this is for all involved? Do they just not care? I am thankful that it wasn't worse. I'm thankful this isn't some new affliction (we hope and pray). I am thankful that this can probably be fixed relatively easily. I am thankful that there doesn't appear to be any permanent damage (that we can detect, yet). But I am still pissed : so overwhelmingly pissed that i don't really know what to do with all of this anger. I really don't know what to do. I want to scream. I want to break things. I'm so damned angry. Instead i will be a rational adult; i will go to the gym to sweat out some of the negativity, eat something comforting and bad for me and start researching this to see if i can make a positive difference. (but i really want to punch something)


Rachel said...

Wish I were around to cook you something comforting and totally unhealthy. Hugs for you Niki.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that. GD insurance companies trying to save money. I always thought that generics were the same but I've noticed a big difference with one of my medications. Crazy! I don't blame you for being angry. Hugs to you and your mom.
Baby Robin

Melanie said...

Oh, Niki, that's awful. That's just so wrong.

Hugs to you and your mom. I'm so sorry you both are having to go through this.

Kaaren said...

THAT is crappy, crappy, crappy!!