In March of 2002, I started with my first Neurologist, Dr. Mary Amir (San Luis Obispo, CA).
She gave me an EEG, and told me I didn’t have Epilepsy, she nearly referred me to Cardiology, until we told her that Cardiology sent us to her. So, she gave me an anti-epileptic drug, Lamictal…
Yup, she tells me I don’t have epilepsy, and then gives me medication for epilepsy….
So we take a family vacation to Italy, right as I’m starting the new medication. And at first, things were ok, then they weren’t.
Turns out, I’m allergic to Lamictal, and my legs broke out in rashes while we were walking around Rome, Florence, Brindisi, and Mesagna. By the time we got to Venice, I stopped taking it and the rash has subsided. But that didn’t mean Venice was uneventful.
The details that lead up to this are unnecessary, so, to the point: I was having to walk very quickly through the streets of Venice, in the hot summer of early July, and I don’t do well in heat or with physical exertion. Finally, I felt the seizure coming on, I couldn’t keep walking, got my sister’s attention, and I collapsed. She got some help and an ambulance boat was called to take me to the public hospital.
At the hospital, no one spoke English, and our Italian wasn’t quite good enough to explain my health issues. They found one nurse who spoke French, and so my sister and I spoke the French we knew to her, and she translated to Italian, and then back; it was challenging. They gave me some sort of medication, I don’t know what, looking back, realizing as I’m writing this, it could have been morphine… And so I vomited in the waiting room as my sister left to try to find our parents, and somehow managed to find her way across the city and the bay to the hotel and find our parents, and then get back to the hospital. It took four hours, and the vomit was still on the floor when they arrived.
My dad, who does speak Italian, got me out of the hospital.
I don’t really remember much of the next few days besides puking in the back of the tour bus.