I had some really interesting things happen to me early this month. I remember almost nothing of Sunday, March 1. According to what I do remember, though, and according to witness accounts and the records from my ER visit that night, I was acting completely bonkers (talking nonsensically, trying to take Michael’s chairs apart because “the Germans were coming”) and also experienced loss of balance and fine motor skills — I was stumbling around like a drunk and I couldn’t type or tie my shoes. I wish I could remember all this because frankly from an outside perspective it sounds hilarious. Of course, from the point of view of Michael, and his parents, and my father, it was terrifying.
Then on Monday the 2nd I seemed much better, and drove to an appointment I had. I behaved normally when I attended the appointment…then completely forgot I had done so. I thought I’d missed it, since I couldn’t remember a thing about it.
I did, however, remember that after I returned home I got locked out of the house. My neighbor has a spare key, but she wasn’t home and I had to wait for her, sitting on the front steps, feeling quite contented in spite of things. The day was fine and warm and I enjoyed the feel of the sun on my face. When she arrived home I asked my neighbor to get the key and let me in. She had a hard time with it for some reason; the lock kept sticking. After a few minutes of watching her fuss with it I thought I’d try the glass deck door on the other side of the house. It proved to be unlocked and I hoisted myself up and went inside. I called out that I was in. When I opened the door, though, my neighbor was gone. I was surprised she’d left without telling me but supposed she’d gone back home.
I later discovered the event never happened. It was a cold and dreary day, I didn’t get locked out of the house, my neighbor was home all day and I never went over to ask for the key or for any other reason. I did, however, let myself in through the deck door. I don’t know why I would have done so. But I know I did because I later found my footprints in the snow. Michael was not pleased when he found out, since that door was supposed to be locked and it might have been unlocked for months, but no harm done.
On Tuesday the 3rd I went back to the place to reschedule my not-actually-missed appointment. I arrived at 8:00 a.m., opening time. I rescheduled, left the office, then suddenly it was 8:00 p.m., and I was sitting in my car parked at a gas station a few blocks away from where I’d been, and I had no idea how I’d got there or what had happened in between times. And I still don’t know. Twelve hours of my life, vanished, gone. I don’t even have any false memories to fill in that period. I could have murdered someone for all that I know. Novels have been written about this kind of thing.
My blood and urine sample at the hospital came out clean, and my MRI was unremarkable. I made an emergency appointment with my psychiatrist, thinking this had to be a psychotic episode or something. He said no: if I had been psychotic, I wouldn’t have recovered as fast as I did without medicine and I wouldn’t have had the motor and balance issues. It was delirium, he said, not psychosis. A neurological thing and not his department.
I’ve got an EEG scheduled for later this month to check for temporal lobe epilepsy. The prospect of having that condition would suck royally for me, as it would mean losing my driver’s license, and in this part of the country you really need to be able to drive.
However, a friend of mine has a friend who’s a psychiatrist who was fairly high up in the Navy during the Gulf War: he was in charge of all the psychiatric treatment given to the Navy guys during that time period. So he knows what he’s on about. My friend described the symptoms to her friend, and he recognized it immediately. He said he’d seen cases like this before, and the delirium was caused by a vitamin deficiency, and to prevent it happening again I need to start eating fruits and vegetables. A lot of them.
The fruits are no problem — I really like apples, bananas and grapes. But I just don’t know what to do re: the vegetables. The only ones I actually like to eat are carrots. My mom says broccoli is swimming with vitamins and all the stuff I need. I bought a head of broccoli and have been valiantly trying to eat it, but I just wind up grabbing a handful of florets, ripping them off the head, jamming them in my mouth, chewing as fast as possible and then swallowing and grabbing something to get that taste out of my mouth. (Green beans are out of the question. Last year I told Mom I hated them and she was like “you’ve only had the nasty canned kind, here’s some fresh from my garden, eat one, you’ll love it.” I ate the green bean and discovered, yup, I still hate green beans.)
I need something that will taste good enough I will be able to eat the recommended daily allowance without too much trouble, and that will provide enough of the right stuff to keep this kind of episode from happening again, because I caused a great deal of trouble and worry for those who love me and I am very sorry for it. And these dishes need to be easy to cook, because I don’t know the first thing about it. Right-out-of-the-can vegetable soup would be nice, but Mom said the soup-making process takes a lot of the vitamins out of the veggies.
Over 1,000 people read this blog per day…I thought I’d throw an appeal to you guys and ask for suggestions.
For starters organic veggies taste much better than non.
Try asparagus. As an appitizer. Brush with olive oil cover with parmagan (Shakey) cheese. 5 min in oven at 425. First break off the bottoms where they break naturally.
I buy self mixed salads at a salad bar with many things that I like so that I eat it. No clean up or cutting.
Pesto is easy on pasta. You can add whole tomatoes olives, broccoli or other things.
Try most Indian or Thai food there are alot of veggies.
You have to like what you eat or your will power will wear thin quickly.
V-8 juice. Really.
Have you considered juicing or smoothies? You can hide loads of veggies in there and you won’t be able to taste them.
One thing I can tell you, dear, is you are not set in stone. I was in my 30’s before I began eating vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, raw tomatoes and kale. NH is correct, you can even “hide” vegetables from yourself in pasta sauces, meatloaf, etc. Also, if anybody tells you to avoid dressings on salads, ignore them. Even if you are getting a trivial amount of fat and sugar, you are still getting the nutrients from the vegetables. Broccoli can be lovely steamed with a dash of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Of course its wonderful coated in melted cheese, too.
I will be thinking of you, good luck!
Hi ya Meaghan. You mentioned your blood work was fine. Did that include checking your glucose levels? Low or high blood sugar levels can really cause some brain fog and odd behavior.
Try some of the veggie and friut juice blends on the market, and try some broccoli salad at the deli or make your own. You shouldn’t mind the taste of that when it’s mixed with raisins, red onion, some walnuts and a sweet dressing. Steamed broccoli is good too. Add some sugar snap peas to your salad and use cherry or Roma tomatoes and fresh mushrooms. Toss in dried cranberries in the salad along with the usual salad veggies. Steam cauliflower, you can always cheese it up.
Dine out at Chinese restaurants that do great stir fry or look for a meat and three, country cookin’, soul food spots. There you can get your butter beans, cabbage, turnip greens, all sorts of tasty vittels. Have a Cracker Barrel nearby? Go and enjoy! Just try to eat 3 meals a day and 2 snacks, get enough protein, fiber and fats along with your carbs. And stay hydrated too!
Baked sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins. Zucchini is tasty. If you grill out most veggies can be tossed on the grill. If you eat jarred spaghetti sauce look for the kind that has lots of veggies in it. Ragu has one with zucchini.
You can also add lots of good veggies into chili, or try Wendy’s chili. Learn to make a good gumbo. You love reading, so you might get a kick from reading recipe books. One that I enjoyed reading was “Robert E. Lee’s Family Cooking and Housekeeping book” by Anne Carter Zimmer. History and “receipts” combined.
Nothing wrong with adding a multi-vitamin too. Take care of yourself, you matter to a whole lot of us.
Eat more mexican food! Tons of veggies!!
I very sorry to hear of your trouble. It sounds very frightening. I often make a dish called Florentine Scalloped Potatoes that contains a lot of veggies (you can google the recipe) and I often add additional veggies like broccoli & mushrooms, finely chopped. Try a vegetable curry (if you like curry) as it covers the taste of the veggies. All the suggestions above are excellent too and a multivitamin never hurts.
I’ve never commented before but I love your site and visit it daily. Good luck and I will pray you get better.
I learned I was bipolar with an episode kind of like that. Scary!
Have you considered asking your doctor for a prescription strength vitamin? Spinach is a great source of vitamins, you can make salads, you can steam it, you can make creamed spinach.
Chili is another good one that someone mentioned. it’s basically meat (ground beef, ground turkey, etc…) a bunch of canned tomatoes, a couple of cans of black and/or pinto beans, spice to taste (they have chili flavoring packets) let it simmer a couple of hours, stirring once in awhile, eat.
Cabbage can be baked in the oven or on the grill. Chop it up, add a couple of tablespoons of butter or margarine, add some salt and pepper. Wrap it up in foil and cook until the cabbage is tender.
V8 fusion juice is good, too.
Have you tried green smoothies? You can add apples and lemons with, say, kale and it tastes pretty sweet. Rainbow chard is a sweet leafy green all on it’s own. What vitamins in particular are you deficient in? If you have insurance, often times they cover holistic practitioners and acupuncture. I would look it it
Avocados have a good combo of vitamins and are very tasty, rather expensive but you don’t need many to get a decent amount of vitamins (wait for them to go soft by leaving them out before trying to eat). Maybe try vitamin + mineral supplements to make sure you get enough but not too many or you’ll get overload, just as bad as too little.
My son has aspergers and has a huge problem with textures. i load him up with gummy multivitamins it’s literally all i can do he’s 16….
Take it from a long-time vegetarian who isn’t a big fan of vegetables (yes, I know…) and hates to cook – frozen vegetables are the way to go. 1. they taste better than raw, 2. they make them in combinations that go well together, so you can get a variety), and 3. when a vegetable is frozen it keeps all the vitamins it had when it had right before it was frozen (so even better than raw, which has the vitamins deplete the older it gets). I’ve become a big fan of frozen fruit for the same reason – and it’s cheaper than buying separate types of berries or peaches or pineapple. And, remember, salads taste a lot better with creamy dressings – three cheese, ranch, ceasar, etc. I’m still standing after 27 years of meatless eating, and my blood work is always OK, so I must be doing something right : )
I like spinach dip with crackers. Buy it from the deli and add a little extra spinach if you can stand it. You can use pumpkin. That a huge source of beta carotene. Yup, even pumpkin pie is very good for you. Carrot cake, pumpkin bars.
If you need a little perspective/motivation, try watching a few food documentaries: Food, Inc., Forks Over Knives, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. You don’t need to lose weight but you do need proper nutrition – these will reinforce the importance of fresh whole foods. I started juicing 2 years ago and make my own “V8”. Guess what? It’s brown – not red. Bottled V8 is processed and made with artificial color. Avoid it.
Soups are super easy to make and are very healthy. Make a pot for the week and freeze your leftovers.
Wishing you health – you do great work!
Sorry, also, I had to get really creative years ago when one of my young sons went 2 years without agreeing to eat anything besides corn dogs and canned peaches. He lived by the way. How about rhubarb pie? It actually tastes a lot like apple pie if it’s made right.
There are some really handy applesauce-type products out there these days in convenient little pouches. Lots of different fruit varieties with veggies added. Check by applesauce or canned fruit. Just watch out for the ones with additives and other junk. My kids love them. About $2 for 4 of them.
Smoothies. Two cups of greens such as spinach or kale, one cup of coconut milk, fruit of your choice. Blend for 30 seconds.
That sounds really scary. I hope it gets resolved soon.
A good multivitamin plus juicing might be beneficial. I think the best advice would be to contact a good nutritionist. They can plan a good diet around your needs. Doctors, from my experience know remarkably little about nutrition…..
I have grandchildren that won’t eat vegetables, and found a great book on Amazon with recipes for ‘hiding’ vegetables in their food. It’s called “The Sneaky Chef.” There are also all sorts of drinks you can make in your blender with mostly fruits and then add some vegetables (broccoli, spinach, carrots, celery, etc.) and you will not even taste them. When I make the drinks in the blender (I use a Vitamix) you don’t need ice if you take your bananas and cut each one in pieces and lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze them. When they are frozen you can put them all into a plastic bag and use them as needed in your blender drink. That way you don’t need to water it down with ice. Good luck with this and hope this helps also. Even on the internet you can find some fabulous ideas for baking or cooking vegetables in with other foods so you don’t even know they are there.
Glad you are ok. That’s scary. I am sorry that happened to you. I like the “Naked” brand of fruit/veggie juices. You can find them in just about any store. For me, I prefer them to V8 or making my own in a blender. Best wishes.
Check your glucose levels. What you had was a symptom of diabetes.
They checked in the hospital. The only thing unusual about my blood work as a slightly lower-than-normal potassium level. Not low enough to cause symptoms like this.
Omg that sounds scary! You could try fresh vegetables drenched in tomato sauce with pasta…or an omelette with vegetables isn’t too bad either! Good luck!
The smoothies are a great idea – make then using fruit you like along with milk of your choice (almond, coconut, etc.) and add pureed baby food vegetables to it. You won’t even taste it and the baby food is made to retain the good stuff and is not made with the bad stuff (too much sodium, etc.). No cooking and very quick/easy to make, too!
Near most produce sections at the grocery stores you can find smoothie mixes to find a variety and figure out what you like or can tolerate. If you find a mix you like, look for it in bulk as it’s a whole lot cheaper that way.
You can also use pureed baby food fruits in the same way if you don’t like a certain whole fruit.
Another idea is to make a smoothie/shake using Carnation (or store brand) Instant Breakfast packets that are fortified with vitamins and minerals. You can make these using any kind of milk and/or ice cream.
I have an iron deficiency so I try and sneak Spinach into things whenever I can. I eat it as a salad of course , but I also put it in Meatballs or Hamburgers, Stuffed Shells, Stuff it in Chicken. And there are books and you can find them online too with Recipes on “Hiding Vegetables” its geared towards Children… but I have used them on my husband before lol 🙂 Good Luck hope you feel better soon!
That does sound scary. I hope you get the correct diagnosis and that they can correct/treat the problem quickly. I hope it is a vitamin deficiency, as that sounds like the easiest fix – much better than medications. I hope you feel better, we are all pulling for ya Meaghan.
I will send you a separate email about this- I am a master at hiding veggies for my father (who hates them) and also finding ways to get veggies into your diet without having to “rip off a bunch of florets”, which I wouldn’t do either!
Low potassium can cause the psych symptoms you experienced. But so can other things. A diet high in fruit and veggies may help you start feeling a lot better. I concur with frozen vegetables recommendation, especially mixes of different kinds. They taste great, are easy to fix (most can be steamed in a microwave), and are actually economical. They don’t spoil as quickly as fresh veggies either. Also, soups with lots of veggies you might not eat individually, can taste absolutely great. I would never eat broccoli raw, but steamed turns it into something tasty. I will be thinking of you, and hope things improve. It might not hurt at all to get on prescription vitamins for a while, or at the very least, take a quality name brand multi-vitamin each and every day. Good luck!
What about sweet potatoes? You can chop them up and cook with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper and roast them in the oven. So delicious! Or you can make them sweet with cinnamon and marshmallows.
Another really good vegetable is avocados. You can cut them up, put them on a sandwich with turkey, swiss cheese, mustard, etc. Whatever you like on a sandwich. Honestly I like them by themselves, but I did have to try them a few times bc I wasn’t a fan the first time I ate some.
One of my fave foods is salad w spinach leaves (like baby spinach in a bag) with chopped up avocado, the big circle fresh mozzarella cut up, and raspberry vinaigrette. It’s amazing.
Some other good veggies are squash, carrots (you can also cook them with chopped up potatoes in a roast if you get tired of them raw), peppers (stuffed peppers w beef, cheese, etc., or I like to eat them on the side of sandwich wraps or dip them into hummus), Corn (corn on the cob is super quick to cook, or just from a can is still really good) peas, beans, cucumbers!!! just chop them w dash of salt, and mushrooms (I like to put them in everything, veggie soups, with pasta, etc.) http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables-foodgallery.html Heres like a list of veg.
Hope this helps you, girl!
I realize I wrote a lot about vegetables. Never really thought of myself as a huge veggie fan but I guess I am.
Meghan, did they do any tests to see if you are having mini strokes?
They did an MRI and an EEG, as well as blood and urine analyses at the hospital that night. The neurologist I saw yesterday said they did every test she would have done.
I have a preparation that can make almost any veggie taste fantastic. Please don’t be offended by this as I am not equating you to a pet, but my dog hated broccoli. Except when I made it this way…he’d sit and beg for it every time.
I usually use broccoli (cut fairly small), zucchini, yellow squash, baby portabellas, and asparagus. You can try a variety.
Cut them up and put them in a large ziplock bag. To the bag (put these things together in a bowl first and mix) add some olive oil, a few drops of sesame oil, salt, pepper, and cut rosemary. I also like Janes Crazy Mixed Up Salt with this but it’ll be fine without it.
Add these ingredients to the bag, zip it shut and shake it like you would a shake and bake…make sure all veggies have a coat of oil.
I roast them on 325 for about 15-20 minutes but ovens vary. Just get the zucchini soft and some browning of the broccoli and asparagus tips. They almost become cartelized and they are fantastic.
Also forgot to add that several years ago, I had an extreme, prolonged vitamin D deficiency that took a long time to diagnose (they didn’t often test for it back then). I literally thought I was dying. It was horrible, I was so sick. They thought it might be MS. I could see a vitamin deficiency (or toxicity possibly?) causing such symptoms.
Did they look at your carbon monoxide levels? It’s a stretch in your case, but I’ve had that too and it can do crazy things besides kill you. Good luck, let us know why you find out.
Meaghan – saw a photo of you, elsewhere on the blog, and you look every bit the caring soul that I know you must be to be the proprietor of Charley Project. By the way, many thanks for the Project – it has been very helpful to me & no doubt to many others over the years. I didn’t know about the blog, before, now that I’ve discovered it I will be obsessively exploring it for awhile – ’cause that’s what I do.
But now, reading this, I’m concerned for your wellbeing. This was almost a year ago, no doubt you’ve moved on and maybe not even thinking about it anymore. I just want to tell you that these experiences of yours suggest some form of somnambulism to me. More specifically, somnambulistic behaviour associated with the side-effects of psycho-active drugs or drug interactions. Your experiences remind me of two types of experiences that I’ve had. I was once given an injection of Sodium Pentothal, which causes the type of motor impairment you’ve described, like you are super-drunk – but you are simultaneously very garrulous and “awake”. That state can go on for hours before you fall asleep, and you might not recall anything about the “interview” that you might have undertaken during that time.
A similar experience was with the old sleeping medication “halcion”. Both myself and my partner were on that one for awhile in the late 1980’s. We both experienced “lost time” occurrences between taking the medication and getting into bed, which we could describe witnessing the other person’s actions that they had no memory of. In this case, the other person’s behaviour wasn’t so “drunken” looking to outsiders, just normal and typical of themselves – but they wouldn’t remember anything past about 30 minutes after taking the pill.
These types of experiences sometimes occur days or even weeks after exposure to a psycho-active medication and so aren’t always consciously associated with that exposure.