Thursday, December 28, 2006


I like to do the limbo.

I don't like to be in limbo.

We are in limbo with/about my dear father.

Here is my father's head-related medical history. You will then understand what kind of head traumas he's had, and the long-lasting effects, and thus the seizures.

November 1981 -- brain tumor; benign. We discovered it as a result of a grand-mal seizure he had at night in bed. He went to bed with a severe headache that night. He had surgery to remove the tumor, was on anti-seizure medication for over a year, couldn't drive, but thank G-d made wonderful progress and a complete recovery.

January 2000 -- mild stroke; slight confusion and garbled speech.

April 2003 -- fell on my icy front steps; hit his head; suffered grand mal seizures; in intensive care during SARS crisis in Toronto; horrible time. Back on anti-seizure medication.

March 2006 -- suffered several grand mal seizures; rushed via ambulance to hospital emergency dept.; medical personnel thought he'd had a massive stroke; in hospital for 2 1/2 weeks; lots of confusion, some memory loss, weakness, but came back to us...walking out of the hospital, albeit now with a cane to help his balance.

December 2006 -- chest pains and general weakness; taken to emergency; chest fine; begins to have several seizures -- grand-mal and continual petit-mal seizures. HORRIBLE confusion, great weakness, sleeping constantly; severe memory loss. And in among all that, there is still the dear, sweet and gentle man who's concerned and worried about all those around him. With his many lucid comments shine his true personality, his base qualities!

Why is he still having seizures if medication is supposedly controlling them? Till they find the right dose, I suppose. Funnily enough, this is the same medication he first used 25 years ago after his brain tumor and the surgery to remove it.

But it is also anti-seizure medication, and at high doses, that lends itself to severe memory loss.

My father always says that he was reborn 25 years ago. He remembers the date of his surgery and thanks G-d every day and especially every anniversary of that do we.

Last night I was with him until just before midnight; in between his sleeping and the few petit mal seizures I witnessed, he spoke both with lucidity and also with confusion. In one of his lucid conversations, he told me how important it is to be a good person, but how it sometimes backfires on you. He told a story, reverting back to his mother tongue, Yiddish, of how in the war, when he was in Russia, he was trying to come to the protection of someone and the person who'd been attacking that someone attacked my father, beating him over the head with a stick...that led to severe injury, probably a concussion and the need for stitches.

I said, "Dad, that beating might've been the start of all your head troubles."

Twenty five years ago the doctors indeed said that a head injury received earlier in his life might've led to the growth of the tumor.

In any case, over all these years, there has been a buildup of fluid around the brain. It is this fluid that presses against certain nerves, and thus causes seizures. But with his cocktail of numerous medications he must take for his several ailments, one never knows how other drugs impact everything, too.

He went in to Emergency a week ago today, not feeling good, but knowing everything, being able to do just about everything, and being very much his own person. A week later, he is a synthesis of fragmented memories, little physical mobility and great confusion.

Will keep you posted....

If you can, please daven for Yaakov Arieh ben Chaya Malka.