Unwelcome Visitor

I tried to think hard of the bumblebees with tufts of yellow pollen looped gently on their fuzzy legs hovering above bright pink and golden sunburst flowers in the town square of Uppsala, Sweden. The town market with bottles of fresh red current saft gleaming ruby against the noontime sun. My house, red from the Falun copper mine paint so ubiquitous there, beside the gardens filled with happy people harvesting corn, trellis beans, and the last of the summer’s raspberries. The dark forest paths where birds bathed in glades. My pictures from when I arrived there in August are all idyllic like that. That was another life that I found myself reliving as I lay in the MRI, trying not to hear the whirring buzz of the machine.

I had woken up one night unable to move, on the floor, in a pool of various bodily fluids. Hot and dizzy, I struggled for the phone, stumbling, my ears ringing.

And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin

“Possible idiopathic adult-onset seizure.” “Idiopathic”— a pathetic euphemism for the unknown. Was it the tick bite? The strenuous move a mile in the simmering city heat? The fact I had known what stress was doing to me, yet continued to drive myself onwards deep into the late hours of the morning, forgetting to nourish myself in any sense of the word?

In the claustrophobic chamber, I wanted more than anything to be somewhere else, to find another place where I could feel at home.

I have an appointment with the neurologist for more tests. Nobody is invincible. The doctors (and I) doubt very much this had to do with eating paleo, especially since after the move I’d not been eating terribly well.

Eating decently at the hospital was a huge challenge. I threw out the idea of being paleo, but I wanted to make sure I was at least gluten-free, so I didn’t have to add horrible stomach cramps to the doctor’s to-do lists. Gluten intolerance affects 1 out of 100 people...they must have some accomendations? Right?

Wrong. Breakfast passed, lunch passed, and soon became clear that I just wasn’t going to get fed. I begged the nurse for some food and she returned with some juice, the only gluten-free option, she said, “until regular dinner hours.” A well-meaning but obvious ill-informed resident tried to give me a sandwich on white bread. “It’s white bread, not wheat, so it’s wheat free!” he proclaimed.

The first tray was a disgusting Salisbury steak with pasta and flour-laced gravy. Eventually I got some chicken, carrots, and rice, with a sickly sweet fruit cocktail. The next day I must have missed breakfast hours while in the MRI. I was a little shaky from hunger and bleary from a sleepless night sharing a room with a elderly woman with severe dementia...but lunch was coming soon? They passed out lunch trays and I got nothing. They kept saying my food was coming, but it never did. Not until I wandered through the ward and complained to the attending did I get something, but clearly they misunderstood again— the tray included a slice of individually sliced bread, but at least the main meal was edible.

I probably would have been much much worse off if it weren’t for generous friends who brought me food. New York Methodist should be able to accommodate people with very basic food intolerance and allergies, but it’s scary that they would serve those kind of meals to well...anyone. Can’t everyone agree, even the low-fat facists, that sugar and white flour are poison?

I’m hoping to get well and avoid the hospital again- that the seizure was just a fluke. Would be nice not to have anything like that happen again... and to find a place and a life style that prehaps could prevent me from suffering the amount of stress that might have triggered my condition.

Thank you well-wishers across NYC Paleo, Twitter, and everywhere in between!


edit: this was later determined to be a syncope related to low-blood pressure