I had spinal meningitis and hydro-encephalytis at age 2. With the second brain surgery in 1957 they said I had 10% chance of surviving and if I did I would have severe mental problems. At that time I understand they removed ~8% of the brain taking it from the right side. I did OK in school and by 6th grade, now that I know what they are, I was having minor seizures.
The mental problems were nothing like predicted. I graduated with honors from UCB and got my masters from U of Wash. I have 35 years work experience with the Park Service, US Army Corps of Engineers and USFS and US Forest Service
I had a left temporal lobectomy about 7 years ago and real memory problems began. I do a lot better than a lot of people remembering things from the Bible, but I can no longer tell the location (example: I was asked a question and I was able to say the 5th book of the Bible and the last chapter, but I could not sat the name of the book or the chapter number at the time. ) I used to be able. My ability to do things like math in my head and even to recall the correct word or name became a challenge. Usually with a word I can think of another and get my point across, but it is virtually impossable to know the name of someone I have worked with for 20 years. Before that surgery they did tests putting parts of my brain "to sleep" and testing to see what I could do. The doctor said the whole right hemisphere where they did the two other surgeries functioned at 10%. They did the surgery the next week on the left side and he said he could not get all the dead tissue out without my likely becoming a "vegetable". I had a medical appoint last week and was told that the second surgery they did removing dead tissue as a toddler was a right temporal lobectomy, this was confirmed by a Medic Alert specialist when I described what I had been told by my mother as well as the location of the scar on my head.
I was on the job taking the written test to renew my license to drive an 18 wheeler, because part of my duties were law enforcement when I had my first grand mal. That was 31 years ago and I have not been able to drive since. I went to the US Forest Service for a job as a Forester and later got a masters in Silviculture, the science of growing trees.
I have now had 4 brain surgeries (The 3rd removed 4 cubic inches of dead brain tissue.);and have a VNS. At one point I was averaging at least 100 seizures per month.
In spite of all that I still work and have been a federal employee over 35 years. Up until the time they put in the VNS I was working as much as 6 months per year in fire suppression. After the seizures started I was not supposed to work on the fire line, but even got to the point where I was requested for by name to travel across country on large incidents and one time even dispatched out of the National Interagency Fire Center for 3 weeks and had responsability for anyone traveling between states to other fire assignments from the Mississipee west. There was one fire we found when I was in the forest with a single employee. I reported it with my cell phone giving the location in relation to a road and we had one shovel. I had all of it out but one tree when the fire truck arrived. While working fires one works 7 days per week and long days. I averaged 90 hours of work per week. I have not been able to go on fire since the Left Temporal Lobectomy. Now, since the VNS was put i really get out of breath going too fast or up a hill. I still do try and walk 2 - 3 miles per day though.
Just for your information: the pictures that show up for me are mostly related to wildfires I have worked on as a federal employee. I have been on fires from Alaska to Florida. The work has been from position of basic Firefighter to Division Chief on the line to Supply Unit Leader in fire camp and even up to Dispatching in the National Interagency Fire Center.
Here it is the last week in August 2011 and I have worked over 35 years as a federal employee. I am retiring Friday. I plan on getting at least a part time job to help with finances and just to keep busy. I also look forward to fixing up the house bit, selling and moving closer to family.
Dec 30, 2009
Sep 13, 2011