Monday, June 18, 2018

Searching for the Causes of Syncope - The Next Chapter?

On June 6th, 2018, at about 9:50 am, I passed out again (See here for the back story). I was talking to Peter, telling him about a party he had been invited to attend when I felt it coming on. I managed to get to the sofa and sit down before I lost consciousness. I awoke from a dream and sat up on the couch to find both Peter and Joshua looking at me with concern. Hannah was at home, and after a minute or two of confused thought, I asked her to take me to the hospital. At the hospital, I struggled to remember my birth date and other information, but it came slowly. The doctors took blood and did an EKG, and a couple hours later sent me home (the fuzziness in my brain cleared up after about an hour) with a referral to a neurologist this time - they said the stress on my body wasn't consistent with what it would be if it had been a cardiac event (heart related), and the doctor was throwing around words like "absence seizure" and "narcolepsy".

I've been seeing a cardiologist for over a year now - since last time I passed out, and he's now got me on three pills a day, in spite of the fact that he's never been able to figure out why I've had these episodes. He did a bunch of tests (see here), but wasn't able to pinpoint anything that might cause me to pass out. I don't want to have a monitor surgically implanted in my chest, and none of the other types of monitors they have is likely to catch it since it only happens once or twice a year.

So this morning I went to see a neurologist. I told her about feeling it coming on, and she asked how I know it's coming, and when I told her about remembering a dream she just nodded and said something about "deja vu and false memories". She asked about how long I have between when I feel it coming and I lose consciousness (about 15-20 seconds), and how long I'm out (maybe 30-40 seconds), and how much I move during each episode (a little - Josh said I raised my arms over my head and lowered them to my waist during this last occurrence). She asked about feeling confused or tired afterwards (Yes!). She asked if I ever feel one coming on and I don't pass out (Yes!). For the first time, I felt like I was talking to someone who understood what was going on, and it was a relief!

She believes that I am having seizures. Because they happen so infrequently, and I have some warning before I pass out, I haven't been restricted from driving, but I do need to be extra cautious, ready to pull over immediately if I feel one coming on when I'm on the road. That being said, she still needs to know why they're happening. I'm supposed to make appointments to have another EEG (the first one didn't find anything, but maybe a second one will?) and an MRI. I get the feeling this will be another expensive year as far as medical bills go. On the other hand, I feel like we are a step closer to figuring out what is going on, and I find that comforting.