Monday, May 27, 2019
Pick Your Poison
This might be a record for my not blogging -- more than a week since I've bloviated about the various goings-on in my life and not for lack of them. Perhaps I don't feel like talking anymore about how Sophie has been struggling, how the CBD and the benzo and the sleep aid don't seem to be doing the trick, how I don't know really know what the trick is, anyway, but what I do know is that how many seizures is a relative thing, the counting of them, that is. A relative thing. Not something related to something else but rather relative in comparison. I scroll through my social media and between the kids dying (yes, dying) and the regular shit that is Terrible America, Sophie's three to five seizures (big ones) a day (yes, everyday) don't seem too bad. They're everyday or every day. If someone (Sophie) has anywhere from three to five seizures (big ones) a day, is anything working at all? Anyway? I have a friend who keeps meticulous counts of her son's seizures and is able to track, exactly, what affects them. He had seven in February, she might note, and after we increased his CBDa, only three in March. She agonizes over three, I think three! (Imagine three!) And I continue to draw up the syringes of benzo, syringes of CBD oil and CBDa oil (plunged into her mouth) capsules of sleep aid that I toss in there (her mouth) and the cup, quick, to her lips.
So. The Nice Neurologist suggested we try either Depakote or Lamictal. They're very good drugs, he said. Has she been on them? He asked. I said, Oh, yes. She's been on both. The Depakote in 1995, when she was six months old, diagnosed for three months, drug number three. And it didn't work, so we took it right off and tried the infantile ketogenic diet next (plucked smack dab out of People Magazine, check it out), and then phenobarbitol and then vigabatrin, and should I go on? The Nice Neurologist said, Oh, and Lamictal? I said, Yes. Lamictal for about seven years. And it never worked.
Reader, I know you wonder why? and your why is why would you give a drug to your daughter for seven years if it didn't work? And I honestly don't have a sensible reason to give you, other than The Neurologist At The Time not having any other options and perhaps Laziness and perhaps because of The Difficulty of Weaning or perhaps The Odd Chance (A Neurologist would have suggested this one) that the drug (Lamictal) was keeping her to only two hundred seizures a day instead of five hundred seizures because -- it's coming -- it's relative.
Let's make a long story short. Let's make a deal. I picked Depakote. The reasoning: it's been nearly 25 years (!). We gave it to Sophie last Wednesday night and again on Thursday morning, Thursday night and Friday morning. She slept all day on Thursday, woke briefly for breakfast on Friday morning and slept all day Friday. She could not be roused for the entire day on Friday and had an alarming amount of congestion above her chest and below her mouth (in her throat) which was probably increased secretions. She could not be roused. The Nice Neurologist relayed through his nurse that we should stop the Depakote and talk tomorrow (Saturday), so while I generally worry about Sophie dying at least once a day, I worried all day, every moment, actually, even though relatively speaking, I am not scared of death.
Sophie had no seizures during this period, but, to be fair, she was practically comatose. Being seizure-free, I have found, involves a trade-off, and this is where the relative part comes in.
I and the Nice Neurologist had several short (not sweet) conversations over the next two days regarding what to do. What to do about Sophie? I think she'll need a smaller dose, he suggested, and I pointed out that the pills he'd prescribed have no score so they can't be cut in half. The liquid form! he said, and I'll call it in! I was walking down the street with Sophie in her wheelchair. She woke from her comatose state on Sunday, bright-eyed but batty, agitated, the drug clearing her system. I imagined a brain cleared of chaos and cobwebs but unsure how to proceed without either. I'm excited! The Nice Neurologist said. I said, Excited? and he said, It doesn't take much to excite me! and I thought, excitement is relative.
I picked a poison. Now let's see what happens.