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Monday, November 5, 2012

Emotional Integrity

I'm not sure if I've explained this before, so if I have, forgive me.

The human brain has two emotion control centers, one in each hemisphere.  They work together in helping to regulate your emotional integrity.    In Mark's brain, he only has one that is operational due to the damage and removal of brain tissue.  In other words, his emotional integrity is severely hampered.  When presented with a stressful situation, he is almost incapable of controlling his emotions.  For Mark, this means his heart starts racing, his breathing becomes shallow and rapid, and he ends up vomiting.  Lately it seems to come on very quickly.  He can feel it start, he panics thinking he's going to have a seizure, vomits, and then starts crying uncontrollably.  Once he can finally get the crying under control, he then can't talk about it because he'll start crying again.  These "episodes" have been more frequent as of late.  It's extremely frustrating for him as he feels completely out of control.  At first, he didn't understand what was going on.  He thought these feelings were a precursor to having a seizure.  But as he further explained his symptoms to me, I talked to his doctor and he called the episodes a panic attack brought on by some stressful event.  Sometimes the event might only be a thought, or conversation with someone, or a worry about something.

As if the symptom described above aren't enough, the only thing that can calm him down and help him get things under control is a slow release sedative like Valium.  And that makes him very sleepy.  Almost like being drunk.  His speech is slurred and he stumbles around.  You would think he would just lay down and go to sleep, but he doesn't.  And that makes it not just HIS problem, but MY problem.  I chuckle as I type that because when has ANY of this only been HIS problem?  Anyway, it can really drain us of at least a couple of days.  It's really hard.  And he doesn't realize how hard it is for me.  He doesn't understand how his problems are also my problems.  He has a hard time thinking outside of himself.  And that can be extremely frustrating and taxing for me.

When he takes that medication he doesn't remember anything.  He doesn't know that it's like taking care of a drunk.  He doesn't know that he has missed HOURS of his day.  One night he got up at 8:45 and Madison and I were working on homework at the table and he wanted to know why she was late for school.  We had to explain to him that it was dark outside, which meant it was night, and he had only been asleep for the day.  Yesterday he didn't realize that it was Saturday and couldn't remember if he had been to the movie on Friday or Saturday.

The main reason I've decided to start blogging again is because so many people have said things to me like, "He's recovered so well and I can't even tell that anything happened!"  Well, that's not entirely true.  YES, he has recovered well.  But he still suffers a lot of deficits.  And no one is going to know that except me because I'm the one that lives with him.  No one else knows about these episodes, the days that go by that he sleeps, the nights that go by that he DOESN'T sleep.  He is not back to his old self.  He never will be.   This is the new Mark with all of his nuances, ticks and issues.  And we're still trying to get used to him.

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