One more week, one more problem, one more solution…  by Philip Andrew Merrick

Another true story by Philip Andrew Merrick. 

So here’s what I found out: 

I don’t have Epilepsy. I have a different neurological disease that I don’t remember the name of right now.

One of the symptoms of this disease, which as far as I know cannot be cured, is that I have actual seizures when I try to endure stressful situations. These seizures look exactly like an attack of Epilepsy

Sometimes I can avoid the full seizure and not go unconscious if I can remember, (or if I am reminded) in time, to count slowly to three; then take in a slow deep breath through my diaphragm; hold it for the count of three and then exhale slowly, repeating until my neuroligical system returns to normal. I was taught to tap my chest, right in it’s center, with my fingers, in a steady rhythmic pattern, much like a piano student’s metronome.

If that doesn’t work, please call 911 and tell them what I wrote about what would most likely be happening to me. Also, please make sure I’m fully dressed or at least wearing shoes when I’m released from the hospital, most likely in a few hours.

There’s a good reason for my asking this. The last time I did have a seizure was one week ago today and followed the previous one by only two days. Both times, thank God, 911 was called. Both times I went to an emergency room. 

Unfortunately, both times I was not able to tell anyone what was happening to me.

But more unfortunately than that:

The second time, I was released an hour later and told that I could go home.

But Blondie was locked in a motel bathroom and I was not wearing shoes

So I walked ## miles on my feet…

(Remember I’m usually in a wheelchair but my scooter got left at the motel with all of my clothes and my shoes), to the friend’s house I have been staying in for thirteen months…

Not knowing if Blondie was in The Pound or not..


Wearing these wacky psychedelic black and yellow swirling checkerboard patterned ped-socks that might glow in the dark but I’m not sure, that a friend gave me and are perfect slippers which I wouldn’t even dream of being seen wearing in public, most especially not while also wearing..


Which that day just happened to be a pair of blue hospital scrub-pants and a saggy worn out white v-neck T-shirt, five sizes too large for me. 

And those Goddamn Socks.

And no shoes, with no wheelchair and no cane and after just walking out of a hospital. 

So, I looked exactly like a mental patient who had just escaped from the Loony Bin Wing of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, whose ER I had just been sent home from. 

Which is exactly what everyone saw wandering slowly and determinedly all the way up Virgil Avenue from Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, including the branch manager of my bank who fortunately recognized me and knows enough about my fragile condition to wonder why I wasn’t on my trusty red scooter and why Blondie wasn’t with me. And he let me use the phone in his office to call the only number I could think of but didn’t realize that the friend on the other end of the line was at work and couldn’t come get me.

And that is what anyone who happened to notice, after they finished inadvertently flashing an expression of instant fear, combined with shock, revulsion, disgust and blankness, all in that precise order and all in the time it takes to blink your eyes. Then each and everyone of them looked at the ground and moved slightly to their right or to their left to avoid touching me in any way and they kept walking away from me

They did not look into my eyes and they did not acknowledge my presence. So when I would come to a bus stop and the bus pulled up, I just couldn’t summon up enough nerve to get on the bus and explain why I didn’t have any pockets so I didn’t have my tap card or any change and hope the driver would be nice enough to give me a ride.

So I walked all the way to Sunset Boulevard, the first time I have walked unaided in a little over a year and a half, by myself, quite literally exhausted nearly to the point of death and recovering from two serious seizures, back to back within three days, severely suffering from sleep deprivation and incapable of explaining myself to anyone


So now that I know all this about my worn out old brain, I know that all of that could have been avoided by simply following that little breathing exercise I wrote about above and popping a certain pill in my mouth at the same time while holding Blondie in my lap.


Also, another early warning sign is, oddly enough, I that I might start talking really fast and really loud and getting my words, thoughts and actions really mixed up. I have been known, while undergoing one of these attacks, to say terrible and damaging words that I don’t really mean, to people I really do love. Then I spend the rest of my life trying to repair the damage. I am still trying and I will never stop until it works

So please, take this to heart and share it freely with anyone you know who either knows me or even only might have even heard of me. That would save us all a lot of confusion and heartache.

And for me, a great deal of shame and embarrassment and heartache may be avoided.

–With all my love, Spike❤️


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