A Day In The Life Of Scott

If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion

Anger and Frustration

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Last Tuesday James began taking four doses of 500 mg Keppra each day. I have made it a point to balance out the Keppra doses just as I have done with his other meds so that he is not overwhelmed with somnolence throughout any one part of the day. I have balanced all his pills from two large doses to four half-doses.

I cannot totally tell if it is working well or not. He has had some seizures since last Tuesday, but perhaps one week is still too early to tell for sure. He has mostly nocturnal seizures, and so he has them either while he is sleeping, just before dozing off or just as he is waking up. My understanding of the seizures themselves is still not exceptional, so I am still lost in determining a cause for seizures. I cannot tell which ones are epileptic and which ones are non-epileptic pseudoseizures.

On one hand I know stress is a trigger for both types of seizures, which does not help in determining anything. Since he has begun counselling he has been more at ease, and I truly believe that aspect of seizure prevention is working. This and from what I have read, pseudoseizures generally only happen during while a person is asleep. This makes sense because if stress is a major enough trigger to cause non-epileptic seizures then that same person likely is not sleeping too well either. I noticed this last fall with James when he was seizing day and night. It was a catch 22 because the seizures would keep him awake at night, which was stressing him out and causing more seizures the next day.

Anyway, back to the Keppra. I think it may be working. James had a few small seizures on the weekend, and a few during the middle of last week. In the grand scheme of things, not too bad – 2 days seizure free before last weekend, and so far this week none since Sunday morning.

There is an overall decline in seizures, but at what cost? James is at times very difficult to live with. Sometimes there is a constant battle of the wits over the stupidest things. It seems, at times, like he is looking to pick a fight. Three times it was over some aspect of supper that was not quite to his satisfaction, or because I asked him to eat up some leftovers rather than cook something new (just to get rid of them so not to waste it). Last Friday it was over homework. He fought with me tooth and nail, swearing the work was already done, even though I had just spoken with 3 teachers who said it wasn’t.

Monday was the kicker. I went to school to speak with the one teacher who was not available on Friday, and she gave me some interesting information regarding incomplete assignments and not attending classes. So, of course upon my return home I casually asked about it. He flipped his lid. There was cursing and swearing at me, about the teacher, and even throwing utensils across the kitchen floor. At one point during his fit of rage he even wanted to phone the teacher at school and give her a piece of his mind. Fortunately the school had just closed and there was no answer.

After a long battle and a long walk he cooled off. Ultimately he knows I am certainly not out to get him, and certainly not looking for a fight. I am a teacher, and I simply want him to succeed, and without doing the work that is unlikely to happen. James is well aware that he can come home and get any help he needs with any of his work.

There seems to be a lot of pent up anger brewing inside of him that was not present before. Sure he had the crappy teenager attitude problem that occasionally needed adjusting, but he was not this bad. At times I don’t even dare speak to him.

I have noticed an increase in his Xbox time – which is usually fine by me as long as he gets off when I ask him to without fight and takes regular breaks. He has indicated that he is frustrated by the inexplicable anger, all the time, and that killing zombies and bad guys on “Call of Duty” is an outlet of sorts to take out that anger. I am not arguing or supporting this theory, but it is possible I suppose. He is very good 95% of the time when I ask him to shut it down and leave it off for the remainder of the night. One side of this is that he has vented the frustration. The other side is that he has a video game addiction and he is aggressive when he has not had his “fix”, and the Keppra is exacerbating the effect of such things.

I am still trying to understand why seizures happen, and what is causing him to flip out over such silly things, as mayo in the supper. I suppose in time we will get it figured out.

As for finding a new job, the search is still on. To date there have been no new jobs posted in this province. Tomorrow I am going to begin my search outside of this province. James has indicated that he is cool with a new journey to a new place. He is young and it could be exciting to get a fresh start in a new locale where no one has any pre-conceptions about his past. At the same time, I am still young, and a new adventure could be fun.

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Author: Scott Oosterom

I live in Cut Knife, Saskatchewan, Canada. I teach high school math/ science at Chief Little Pine School in Little Pine, Sk.

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