Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Judging With Epilepsy

I awoke this morning to the news that John Roberts, Chief Justice of The United States, suffered a seizure yesterday while vacationing at his summer home in Maine. My first thoughts were, "Dude... that really sucks to have a seizure on your vacation." Evidently they dragged the poor chap to the hospital and ran him through a battery of tests that did not indicate any underling medical conditions that might cause a seizure. It was diagnosed as a benign idiopathic seizure - this is doctor speak for: "We have no clue as to what caused it, but it doesn't appear to be life threatening." Further information came out that he had had a seizure about 14 years ago while playing golf.

This is where the fun starts... CNN brings in some commentator that starts blabbering about how Roberts might not be able to do his job now that he had a seizure, and what if he could not make it back to work after his vacation. Not content to just be stupid, the commentators continue their moronic rant, After all, he has had one before and the Chief Justice has a lot more responsibilities that the other justices... maybe he could work from home...

If you ever wondered why people with epilepsy are discriminated against, it is morons like this. They have no idea what they are talking about and turn epilepsy into a condition that would prevent you from doing your job.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Harry Potter Full Review

Part 1 of 7
I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows late last night and after reading it, I felt drawn to write a "no spoilers" review of the book and the series (in seven parts of course). The final installment in this long running quest is definitely the best, but most importantly, it is the capstone of an amazing tale.

How good is it?
Earlier in last week I heard tales of people at my office finishing the book within 2 days of their purchase. I assumed that they must be die-hard Potter fans with nothing else to do. I am not one, but I borrowed a copy from one of those aforementioned die-hard fans on Wednesday and read a chapter then and another one on Thursday. By Friday night I had reached around page 100. Saturday evening I had reached 350. Sometime Sunday afternoon, I picked it up again without the intention of finishing it that day, but there is a tipping point in the novel around the 400 page mark where you simply can't stop reading. Rowling, after penning a few thousand pages of Potter, has finally mastered the art of pacing a novel, and for the next 349 pages it is non-stop edge-of-your-seat nail-biting action. So good that I would say it is absolutely worth reading the previous 3 thousand pages just so you can savor reading those last 349.

There won't be any spoilers in the review, as most of us Muggles who are fans of the book take their cue from Potter and are respectful... but, our patience only lasts so long. My co-worker summed it up perfectly this morning when she shouted over her cube to fellow readers in surrounding cubes: "What's wrong with you people? You've had a little over a week to read the book. What's taking you so long?"

If you just want the bare bones review of the 7th novel: 5 out of 5 stars. If you want to find out why the Harry Potter series is one of the greatest tales ever spun, I'll be covering that in the next six parts.

Monday, July 23, 2007

69 Days... No seizures

Today marked the 69th day since my last seizure. I wish I could point to any one thing that keeps me from having them. If I had to guess, I would say getting more sleep. I have been very carfull about getting enough rest. Although there are days where I only get 6 or 7 hours, I try to rapidly balance that out with additional sleep the next day.

Friday, July 20, 2007

VNS Side Effects

I had my VNS current setting moved from .75 mAmps to 1.0 mAmps about 6 weeks ago. As always, when you have your settings adjusted "upward" there is a period of discomfort as your body adjusts to the increase in energy being sent to the bundle of nerves in your neck. One of the typical side effects that I experience is a tightening of the throat and increased hoarseness during stimulation. I have finally adjusted so that I no longer feel that, however a second side effect has not gone away.

When I have my neck turned in certain directions or when I am laying down in particular positions, the pulses cause a muscle in my neck to constrict or flex. It is just one muscle bundle about 4 inches long and it will activate during the 30 second pulse. My thought is that it only occurs if the muscle is pressed against the area where the leads are located. So if my pillow is pressing the muscle against my neck, it activates more often. It is quite aggravating and can make it hard to get to sleep unless I can get my pillow situated just right.

I am going to get my pulse width turned down to see if this will help. I'll keep you updated. If anyone else out there has this side effect, please let me know.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

RNS Clinical Trials

NeuroPace is currently conducting clinical trials on their RNS device. I have posted about this device last year, but now, thanks to a representative of FischerHealth, I have some more information about the device and how to find out if you are a candidate for their clinical trials.

NeuroPace has set up a Web site and toll-free numbers specifically to allow people living with epilepsy to easily learn if they are a candidate for the RNS System. Both are staffed by nurses who can give information on the trials and the closest trial site.

Toll Free Number: 1-866-904-6630
Website: www.seizurestudy.com

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Completely Off Topic: Baby Bird

In short, I am a big fan of birds. I happened to come across two of these little birds that were living in my garage. Evidently their mother decided that the dilapidated bird house I had tucked away in my garage was sufficient for her nesting needs and decided to lay some eggs there. I managed to get a picture of this baby bird when it flew out and landed on the car.