You see, my parents really wanted to make up for the crummy 20th birthday, and though we'd discussed all going to the F1 Grand Prix in Indianapolis (as it used to fall on or around my birthday), I said I really just wanted to have a big party to thank everybody who had supported me so much through it all. My parents planned an amazing, beautiful party and so many people chipped in. A man my father was doing business with catered the party, and his gift to me was a big, beautiful ice sculpture, lit from the inside, that had "Happy Birthday J.P." carved on the front. That's it in the top 2 pictures, with my Daddy in orange. My wonderful Aunt Mike (one of the top interior designers on the east coast) and Uncle Rob came down from Virginia to create dozens of gorgeous flower arrangements and spruce everything up perfectly. To make it truly perfect, they surprised me with my cousin Jordy- who had been a sister and best friend more than a cousin for a long time. That's her beautiful, smiling face next to me on the sofa, with my hair almost past the "pixie" phase. Most of my Texas family had come down, and people were coming from all over. It was all going so perfectly according to plan. Too perfectly...
I was so excited that Mom had to order me to go get dressed and try to relax before the party. I was in my room doing as she asked. I had just talked to an old friend and ex-boyfriend, Patrick, who needed directions to the party. I went over to my computer to change the song that was playing, and looked out the window over the lake out back. I could hear the music already playing outside- a friend of ours, Leon, had been the DJ at Mike & Tiff's 80's engagement party, and had offered to DJ for my birthday. As I stood at my desk looking out, all of a sudden everything went numb, then limp, then...nothing.
Mom soon got a call from Patrick. He needed more directions, and couldn't get ahold of me. She went back to check on me and found a sight that would make any mother's blood run cold...much less my mother.
I was unconscious on the floor, my head under the bed.
The next thing I remember is lying on my bed, with Mom and Aunt Mike over me, trying to talk to me. I tried to talk back, but everything came out jumbled, slurred, and messed up. My brain was getting over being fried: I'd had a seizure.
They had called for an ambulance, and after talking it over I decided I'd feel better if I went to the ER. No one had been there when it happened, so we didn't know if I had hit my head. On top of that, I knew I had gone into a seizure with the first aneurysm hemorrhage, and was scared there could be bleeding in my brain.
So, I told everyone to stay and enjoy the party: I had wanted to throw it for them anyway. After saying "Happy Birthday Jessica, you had a seizure" for Uncle Rob's video camera, I climbed on the stretcher and left for the hospital. Luckily Uncle Rob took video and pictures of everything, so I could see everyone enjoying the bars, food, and beautiful set-up under the tents. The video also has a wonderful rendition of everyone singing "Happy Birthday" - including the EMTs (one of whom I often saw at church afterward).
I'm so glad to have all the pictures and video, because Mom and I spent the whole party in the ER!!!!!
I loved my neurologist, he was a very sweet man...but Mom could have kicked his ass for choosing that time to try to change my seizure medication! Both of my seizures since I'd gotten out of the hospital had been due to a lack of or change in seizure medications, so I wasn't changing anymore!!
At that time doctors still thought of Keppra as a seizure medication to be used in conjunction with others, but they were starting to realize that it worked very well on its own for some patients. The other medication he tried to switch me to made me feel physically awful, so after this little fiasco I knew that Keppra was the drug for me. FYI: no matter what anyone tells you, you are never ever supposed to just go off of Keppra. Like so many drugs, you have to wean off.
Our friend Joe had a similar experience when he tried to switch from Keppra to something else. I don't think he had a seizure, but it made him feel terrible- and he's a true epileptic. Other drugs also turned my friend Stacy's daughter into a miserable-feeling zombie. All three of us are happily back on Keppra, any side-effects be damned! Depression and suicidal thoughts??!! Well hell, I'm gonna deal with those anyway...what do I care if the seizure meds make them worse??!! 🤔