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Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Seizures After Head Injury


 madyabyum - Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:48 pm

I'm a 24 year old female with no history of medical problems barring migraines since childhood. In 2003 I was in a car accident that caused me to hit my head on the inside of my car door when that side hit the median going 60mph. My left temple was swollen into a big lump and I had a gash on the side of my cheek. For a week after my jaw barely moved bc of the swelling.

A couple months later I developed what other people described as staring spells during which my pupils would enlarge (sometimes unevenly) and I would twitch or jerk my arms. When I went to the ER the doctors always assumed the jerking was voluntary because when they would grab my hand it would stop jerking. The jerking itself is involuntary but sometimes when it's happening I find myself rocking like I'm in a boat on water and humming with my jaw clenched? I can't speak during those episodes but I am cognizant of what's going on around me in a blanket indifferent kind of way.

Three years later my symptoms have kind of evolved into partial paralysis of legs and arms during the "seizures" that often feel like something blossoming in my head or my chest. I have weird vibrations in my knees and other random parts of my body that are tremors which other people can sometimes feel if they touch them. My speech is impaired quite a bit now and my memory loss has really escalated to the point that I've stopped trying to remember anything at all. Sometimes it feels like there's electricity grounding out in my head and it sprawls like lightning. I've had dreams where I thought I was in the ocean rocking in a boat like I described earlier only to wake up to my boyfriend saying I had a seizure in my sleep.

To make all this short, I can't go to a doctor because I don't have health insurance. I'm applying for disability now which may be hard without a diagnosis. When I had insurance in the past, it was just long enough to get a prescription for Keppra from a neurologist but couldn't stay on long enough to get testing done. They wanted me to do a 72 hr EEG but my insurance ran up before then. The 30 minute EEG showed Left Temporal Slowing? I don't know what that indicates. I know the EEG made me feel a lot like I do "post-seizure".

My question is: what is going on with me?

Childhood History--television caused nausea and headaches and a generally sick/green feeling, still does. I have always had chronic nightmares which are very violent but the frequency is far, far less with Keppra (random coincidence maybe?) When I was 16-18 I noticed that sometimes my eyes messed up and the walls seemed to slide and the floor moved like slow water. I also remember next to nothing about my childhood or now, even my recent past in terms of events.

Can anyone help?
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sun May 17, 2009 10:27 pm

User avatar Hello --

It is almost certain you're experiencing some sort of seizure activity. It would seem you were doing this to a much lesser extent early on in life, but since the accident and blow to the temporal area you've been having partial seizures and really do need a full neurological workup to determine if there is "only" a temporal lesion causing this, or if there is some residual tissue overgrowth or an old hematoma (which could be removed and correct the more severe symptoms possibly). We're running into a lot of posters here without insurance due to the recent downturn, and they usually are hoping to resolve the problem without direct medical intervention. More often than not it's simply not possible, as we cannot diagnose on line, but can only make educated guesses as to what might be going on and direct you to the appropriate medical care. In this case you really do need to find some way around the conundrum of no insurance, because what's going on may or may not be related to the head trauma from the accident (and probably is related) but regardless of that it is progressing. This is not what you want. You may be able to find a doctor who is willing to work with you on costs, or if worst comes to worst (I find myself, a former ER worker, telling people this more and more often) you could "work" the emergency care system, going in during a time when symptoms are active, and they are obligated to treat you even if you don't have the means to pay. I hate like the devil to tell people they should do this, because even before the economic downturn ERs were overwhelmed largely because of people using them as a convenience, but I see your problem as at least urgent if not emergent, and so I'm telling you to do something I wouldn't have considered a year ago, if you can't find a doctor who is willing to work with you perhaps on a sliding scale or at a reduced cost.

I hope this is helpful to you. I would urge you to do whatever is necessary to get yourself diagnosed and treated. This is serious, if not life-threatening, and we can't know for sure why it's progressing as it is without medical evaluation and the appropriate tests. Good luck to you and please follow up here as needed.

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