Thursday, September 10, 2015


Let's face it, news is depressing, but I found an outlet for receiving depressing information in a way that by the end I'm smiling. How is this possible?

Every morning I watch the morning news on WGN in Chicago. I've been watching it for years now. At first, I would watch it while getting ready for work. I would have the TV on while eating breakfast, taking a shower, and brushing my teeth. As I was getting ready, I would run around the apartment occasionally stopping to hear about the weather and stories of the day.

Then one day I started having seizures. This is when I went from a casual viewer into a outright fan. 

Epilepsy has put my career as a designer on hold for what seems like an eternity now. I look for structure in my day at home and I find that the news is an integral part of my morning, the structure I so desperately need now that my days are spent at home.

Now I wake up with my wife and feed her the news of the day (most importantly traffic now that she works in the city) while she runs from room to room preparing for her long day at work. The difference is, between all of the bad news that is offered to me on a daily basis, WGN finds a way to break this kind of news up with segments that lean on the lighter side of life.

I need this lighter side of the news because my life with epilepsy has been a whirlwind of emotion. I find myself not only having seizures, but also the psychological side effects of the seizures and epilepsy medications. I've had seizures during their program but have had the seizure end with a laugh. How is this possible?

The most depressing place to be while watching their program has to be the hospital while undergoing an EEG of my brain. (An EEG is basically a 3-7 day test where doctors glue wires to your head and provoke seizures so they can be measured.) I usually have 1-3 seizures, sometimes more. But everyday when I wake up strapped to a padded bed with wires glued to my head, I flip on the WGN Morning News to hear about what is going on around the city, and have a couple good laughs. I usually have a nurse, doctor or visitors in the room to share the program with, which is always nice. No one wants to be in a hospital room alone.

All I basically wanted to say here is news is important to me, but I need it fed to me in a way that by the time the program ends, I'm both informed and entertained. WGN Morning News provides that. Thanks to them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bankart Lesion Repair

Last Thursday I went in for a Bankart Lesion Repair on my right shoulder. Basically, after falling on it so many times during seizures my shoulder became weak and would constantly dislocate. Even when doing modest chores like taking a shower or walking the garbage to the bin. I would lift my arm up and the shoulder would just pop out quite painfully. After some rest and slow turning I could pop it back into place, but in the days that followed I'd be in a tremendous amount of pain.

Many of you know that this is not my first shoulder surgery. The left shoulder was broken during a seizure and I have a titanium plate with screws holding that one together. Thursday's surgery seemed less invasive as the incisions are small, but the pain level seems to be just about the same. The recovery time is similar, too. 16 weeks of physical therapy.

My family, and especially Sara, have been so helpful. They know that I still run the risk of having a seizure which wouldn't necessarily undo what the surgeons have done, but rather strain the muscles that are trying to heal, which would mean a lot of pain and discomfort.

I've been seizure-free for over a week after a bad two-three weeks of seizures and bouts of depression and anxiety. So far, so good. I did feel my anxiety level raise this morning as I knew it was going to be my first full day alone, tending to myself with only one arm. I've since sat down and tried to relax myself with TV and looking up places for our friend Jacqui from England to visit when she's here in Chicago at the end of October. Something positive to look forward to.

Today and in the days that follow are going to be tough, but I know that each day is going to get better. I'm going to learn how to live one-handed, and I'm going to be able to raise my threshold for pain so I'm not popping pain pills every four hours or so. 

Hopefully when this is all over, I can put this behind me, not forgetting these days but rather using this experience, as I do with all experiences related to epilepsy, as a learning tool to prepare me for my life ahead. It's all going to be very slow, and I'm ok with that. I need time to get my brain healed and my mindset in the right spot for growth.