Friday, November 14, 2014

A Touch of Winter

A few weeks ago,our neighbor came up to our door,opened it,and said,"Rick is passed out in the yard." I ran outside with him and there was Rick.laying on his right arm,out like a light. He had been working on building one of the walls for the barn. We tried to wake him up,but couldn't. His eyes were fluttering,and his hands were shaking. I called 911 and he was brought to the hospital in the ambulance.He was awake when Zach and I got there,but confused. He didn't remember what happened. He didn't remember being in the ambulance. Then,he passed again. His eyes fluttered,his hand shook. After a few minutes his eyes opened,and I told him to squeeze my hand if he could hear me,because he was just staring in to space. He squeezed it. I asked him if he wasn't able to talk to squeeze my hand again. He did. Then, less than a minute later,he was out again.

This happened several times. The Dr said it was either seizures,or "pseudo seizures." Because of his history,they wanted to send  him to the VA Hospital down in West Roxbury, MA.

The next day,I went down to see him.

They had him all attached to various wires so they could track his brain activity. He did wind up having another episode during the second night of his stay,so they kept him there for three days to get a good reading.

What they determined was he was having pseudo seizures. When he had the episode in the hospital, there was no seizure activity.  Rick had begun a very intensive cognitive PTSD therapy program a few weeks before. He has to write a trauma statement,with daily homework about the event,and the residual problems that is has caused.I am not allowed in with him at these sessions so he can talk freely,in case there are things that he does not want me to know about (there are).
These sessions,while good,make him think about things and emotions that he has tried to suppress for almost 10 years. It has put him through an emotional wringer. Because the memory and emotion part of the brain are on the same loop,it can get overwhelmed and basically shut down (this is the easiest way to think of it). This is turn causes him to have what looks like a seizure. We were told that it should stop after the therapy is completed. If not,they want him back for a week so they can monitor him further.He cannot drive,or climb anything higher than 3 ft until these "episodes" ( as I call them) go away.

Some days he is fine. Some days he has as much as 6 episodes in 45 minutes. Thankfully,it's been over a week without one,so that is good. It really drains him mentally and physically.

We do have new addition...Rooster Cogburn!  Our neighbor gave him to us. He is a very pretty Rhode Island Red. It took him a few days to find his voice,but he cock-a-doodle-dos throughout the day now,and loves to walk around the yard,strutting his stuff. Hey,if you were the only male among 21 females,you'd strut too!

This past Sunday,Rick and Richie officially graduated from the NEADS program. Rick is officially trained enough to have his service dog-he is licensed for 5 years. At that point,he will have to go back and be tested again,just to make sure he is doing the right things. It was a lovely ceremony. They had 26 dogs and partners-they had children,veterans with PTSD,physically disabled people,and those who use the dog for therapy or ministry purposes.

Here is a pic of some of the graduating veterans-Rick is in the blue shirt. The gentleman in dress blues to Rick's left was in Rick's class.  He also served in Ramadi Iraq at the same time as Rick,and come to find out,Rick's unit helped his unit when it came under attack,but they never met when they were over there.

I thought I had newer pictures of the barn,but I guess not.

At this point, the doors and window areas are cut out,and all four walls are up. Rick has been working on leveling the ground. Because it is getting rather late in the year,we are going to get the hayloft floor/first floor ceiling up,cover it with a tarp,and call it good until Spring when we will put the roof on it.It will just have to be shoveled off during the winter because it will be flat. We have the dog kennel chain link fencing panels that we will use for a fenced in area until the Spring when we will get our permanent fencing up.

This is what we woke up to this AM:

Since deer season for rifle opened up Wednesday,this is good for tracking. Rick and his brother went out early this AM--saw a deer,but couldn't get a shot off.

Have you been hit by this winter weather? Has it affected your farm in anyway?


  1. Up north where I am moving and today after work down here. Both were light flurries and I am snow-satisfied to have it at that. :)

  2. Donna - So hard what’s happening with Rick. I have had somewhat similar episodes in my family, and it’s confusing, and very scary. What I hate about the word “pseudo” is that it implies these aren’t ‘real’ seizures. And when I’ve talked to others who have been through similar in their families, it sounds like everyone ends up calling them ‘episodes’ just like we did, because heaven forbid you call them seizures when they are not ‘true’ epileptic seizures. Well, seizures can be caused by other things besides epilepsy, so why not call them that? In our case, we found (after more than a year) that a medication reaction was at least a partial cause, but from my own research and efforts to understand, I have concluded that their is definitely something neurologically going on that is triggered or exacerbated by physical or emotional stressors. For some people who are neurologically compromised, their is some cross-connection in the brain and body in response to a physical or mental stress, and like you said, just shuts everything down. Obviously, I don’t know all the medical terminology that explains it, and I believe that as medical science learns more about the brain, even doctors will have a better understanding of what is physically going on, but I felt like a read and saw enough that this is my best understanding. I don’t mean to write a book here, and I would have e-mld you privately if I could have, but just know I’m thinking of you as you care for your family, and I hope you are able to get just the best of medical care as you move forward. Hang in there!!

  3. The seizures sound bloody awful, I'm so sorry you're going through this. I'm a bit late catching up on your posts, I'm hoping that things are getting easier for you all. Loike the barn...lurve barns..they're my fav thing...well after chocolate and wine of course. x