Darling, sweet Tegretol.
I was started on the chewable form. I can’t say it was love at first sight. Frankly, I didn’t think I needed anything, but no one else thought my seizures were harmless. I tried to fight it, refusing to take it, throwing tantrums- the way only 7 year old Asal knew how. But my dad, who has always spoiled me beyond reasonable means, would smash the tegretol into powder form and then mix it up with orange juice for me.
It took a long time for me to come to terms with having epilepsy, and in the early years I took my anger out on the meds. In high school one conversation with the school nurse went like this,
“Oh well sometimes I don’t have my pills with me, so I don’t take them.”
“Oh? You mean like they’re at your dad’s house when you’re at your mom’s?”
“No, like they’re downstairs, and I’m upstairs”
High school was also my first Tegretol overdose. How funny to think that there was a time when the mind dulling effects of anticonvulsants were not only unfamiliar but unknown to me. I remember that first time, an accidental double dosage had me unable to walk in a straight line, and my head was much heavier than I’d ever remembered it. Candy, the goth girl who sat in front of me begged me for some Tegretol and was quite eager to experience it for herself.
In college I forgot my meds during a road trip north. The wrath of withdrawal seizures was awful those nights. I had no idea why I was being punished so, I thought it spoke of the efficacy of Tegretol, not to the beauty of homeostasis.
And over the years other drugs came and went, adjunct therapy they’d call it. One doctor told me he didn’t think the Tegretol was doing anything. He said, “If you’re having 4 or 5 seizures a night, then we can’t say this drug is working.” He would have taken me off them, but he was grumpy once, when I called him for a prescription at 3 am, and I never spoke to him again.
By the end I’d graduated from chewable to tablet to extended release capsules. The extended release I never really needed. But I’d been complaining about side effects (which I didn’t have, never with Tegretol) for so long that it was hard to come up with something intelligent to say when I was offered a solution.
In the end, I didn’t want to let go, but it was between it and my skin and sometimes a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.
So I’m taking Trileptal instead. Its a cousin of sorts. It doesn’t work as well. Not yet anyone. I’m adding all sorts of hippy dippy shit to it…valerian root and passionflower and something that claims to be straight GABA. And of course Atkins, going on month 3 of no carbs.
Miss you Tegretol.