I’ve fainted before.

A handful of times, dating back to when I was still in my teens. The last time I fainted was about a year ago and I brushed it off as the effects from a flu bug. Prior to that, it was shortly after my mom had her stroke sixteen years ago. At the time, I blamed it on stress and low blood sugar and lack of sleep and everything else that twists your normal routine into a knot after an emotionally jarring event.

After what happened last week, I’m fairly sure that those events I experienced in the past weren’t fainting episodes. They were seizures.

Saturday, my wife and I were in the kitchen preparing dinner. We were chatting across the kitchen counter and I was fetching the spiralizer attachment for the stand mixer from its box. I remember experiencing a slight wave of nausea, like when you stand up too fast and suddenly realize that you shouldn’t have had that last tipple of scotch or refilled your glass of wine after a meal. You squeeze your eyes closed and think to yourself, “Oh, that’s not good …” and then the room tilts.

I should’ve sat down, but wasn’t able to make the connection between cause and imminent effect. I blacked out, collapsed, and woke up on the floor trying to process the sounds around me while pushing through the neurological fog that had dropped like a wet blanket on my head.

It happened again while we were waiting in an emergency intake room at the hospital. That same wave of nausea (and an distinct itching sensation in my nose, oddly enough) as I was standing beside the examination bed. I told my wife “I’m feeling it again.” She had me lie down, which I did and immediately blacked out. Apparently, my eyes rolled back and my face went white.

I’m sorry she had to witness that. It must have been scary as shit.

Fortunately, the emergency room doctor also saw what happened and pretty much confirmed that it was a seizure caused by temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). My initial bloodwork and CT scan came back clear, so this is a manageable condition. I’m currently on meds to mitigate the brain “storms”, an MRI will be scheduled, and I can’t drive for six months.

So, I didn’t faint before. Actually, I think I had a seizure.