Raising Children

Thanksgiving Note: Out of Action, Health Scare

US Thanksgiving Day is being celebrated. The turkey’s in the oven, it’s cold and raining, the game is on, and we have much to be thankful for.

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve noticed I’ve posted rarely in the past six months. Lots of projects away from writing, family issues, distractions.

On Nov. 1st, we were in Austria a few days into a lengthy itinerary which was to include a Danube cruise, a Nile cruise, and visits to Petra in Jordan, then Jerusalem. On a bus tour to Salzburg, Austria, we stopped at a rest stop and on returning from the bathroom, I had a grand mal seizure in the parking lot. I woke up in the ambulance to the regional hospital, the Salzkammergut Klinikum Vöcklabruck. I was seen in the ER and had a workup before having another seizure an hour after the first. I woke up the next day in the stroke intensive care unit, not because I had a stroke (no evidence of anything at all unusual in MRIs or EEG) but because monitoring and care was continuous so if there had been any further activity they’d know immediately and be able to do scans and tests as it was happening.

Nothing more happened, but because it was now an Austrian holiday coming into a weekend, I had to stay three more days so the MRIs could be done when staff returned. Our holiday terminated there and we spent a few days in Vienna waiting for clearance to travel. Our travel insurance company, Allianz, was incredibly helpful and booked flights back on Air France (which I couldn’t recommend, but it was the first available flight.) The river tour company, Tauck, also went above and beyond, and this week refunded the entire cruise fee. I highly commend them for Americans touring overseas.

Having a grand mal seizure is similar to ECT (Electro-Convulsive Therapy, aka “shock treatment.”) Both hemispheres are involved in a storm of neural activity, wiping all memory of the event and time around it. I was mentally fuzzy afterwards and nothing was quite where it had been in my head. I did notice in Vienna that colors were more vivid and experiences less filtered; it could well be that the scrambling of normal neural activity is in some ways good for you, as when it relieves an obsessive depression by simply hammering the negative thought loops and memories that reinforce them.

It happens that we are also deep into the IVF process, aiming for two children, and today we heard that at least three embryos have matured on Day 5, with two more developing still. That’s something to be thankful for. The IVF effort and the new house we’re building in a more appropriate neighborhood for children has taken up most of my time for many months. So I have been less available to update here and supervise the Jeb Kinnison Forum, which luckily is mostly self-policing. Some of the participants there are at least as good as I am in handing out advice on attachment issues, though of course there is a lot of personal experience chit-chat and people with chips on their shoulders from their relationship breakups.

So Happy Thanksgiving for those who are celebrating it today!