Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Have you ever heard of this condition?

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 24 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • May 1, 2008
  • 11:11 PM

My husband is 70 years old and has been healthy all his life but has some strange episodes of what I would call catatonic states. He will seat rigidly with his eyes open, but not blinking, he cannot speak but can hear, he cannot move his body. This will last anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. This started about 2 years ago. At first the episodes would happen every couple of months, but lately it happens a few times a week, at various times of the day. My husband says that he feels like he is going far away and like everything is stopping, and he can’t help it, but he is conscious even though he can’t move nor talk. He saw a neurologist twice, his head was X-rayed, had a MRI done on it as well and everything came back normal. What could this be? I am so afraid it could happen while he drives. Let me know if you have ever heard of these type of spells.:confused:

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24 Replies:

  • thank you for the reports, Blaze. I had not heard of this electrical sensitivity; however, it seems unlikely that this is what my husband has. He has a cell phone, but barely uses it, may be once in a couple of weeks. He also rarely uses the computer. We live in almost a rural area with many trees around us, not much electricity, and he is retired, so does not get this from work. I did not read his symptoms on the reports, that is, that he is unable to move but is conscious while the attack occurs. His last attack occured in a ship, at sea. Thanks for the info anyway.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I'm not a Dr so this is only a guess. Maybe it could be small fits. I have looked after children who have these. These also involved them staring into space for up to a few minutes, and they could not respond to any stimulation around themselves. I know you can also have these types of symptoms if you have mini strokes called TIA's, and I think, although I don't know for sure, that the tests he has had already would have ruled these out. But might be worth double checking this with your Dr. Whatever is causing this it does sound as if he shouldn't be driving - at least until you know what is causing this and he has received treatment for it.
    ruth40 55 Replies Flag this Response
  • Look up Epilepsy.Partial Simple Seizures Or Partial Complex SeizuresNot microwave sickness- jeezeTake him to get a sleep study done (trying to induce epilepsy) and to get an MRI to make sure he doesn't have any damaged blood vessels or tissues in his brain.I almost guarantee epilepsy, it sounds exactly like it. Take him to a neurologist- they can do everything there for you or send you in the right direction
    k333ly 59 Replies Flag this Response
  • My husband went twice to a neurologist for a series of tests, and everything came back normal. The neurologist sent him to have all kind of X-rays as well. He also spent a couple of nights at the hospital for a sleep study. This is why I came to this board asking for a diagnostic, because so far, everything came back normal. Thanks for your answers though.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Curious... When he has these, does he experience a feeling of *cloudiness*, or *smallness* around him, and is he more sensitive to sound? Men are TERRIBLE at describing everything that could be involved, sheesh. Also, was there an odd sensation in his mouth, or perhaps did he feel as if he were expanding or shrinking? Weird, huh? At any rate, my first idea was a seizure of some kind, and when you stated the *feeling far away*, it reminded me of my own experiences with something similar. blessings,
    Lifelessons 8 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi, sorry ur so worried about ur husband. I was once told & i dont know how accurate this is......regarding TIA's (mini strokes) seemingly if the tests are not done within a short space of time they will not show up on MRI scan, i think this is because the small bleeds will disappear or be absorbed, so maybe it is a possibility, but like i said i dont know how accurate this information is......its maybe worth inquiring about. I do know that epilepsy can also cause this but u would have thought something like that would have showed up on scans....i dont really know the answer to that one. Hope u find the answers soon. Regards :)
    Tootsie 628 Replies Flag this Response
  • To answer your questions, my husband says that when he has these spells he does not feel "cloudiness" or "smallnest" and is not sensitive to sound. He says he feels like everything is stopping, that he is going far away, and that it is not a bad feeling. He cannot move, cannot blink, but can hear what people are saying so is conscious. Thanks for your ideas, but we are still at a loss.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I thought my son was having seizures ...staring off in space etc. I had to take him to a clinic to be tested. I had to keep him up all night so he had gone 24hours without any sleep. We then drove to the clinic, he had electrodes placed on him, and then they used things like strobe lights to try and induce a seizure.....I think that is what the other person meant by sleep studies....is this the type of tests your husband had?
    tx3amigos 7 Replies Flag this Response
  • The sleep study he had was at hospital at night. They placed electrodes on him and waited for him to fall asleep then they woke him up a few times. They said he had a mild form of sleep aepnia and gave him a machine to wear at night, he tried for 3 months but never could sleep with it, he would suffocate, even though they changed the machine. These tests were last Fall, but he has had these spells for almost 2 years - they last a few seconds to a minute, and if he is reading or watching TV I am not even aware that he has them, but he says he has then a few times a week.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • cataplexy:confused:
    k horsley 6 Replies Flag this Response
  • I have never heard of cataplexy. I quickly looked at it on the Net and it is an interesting diagnosis. I'll look at it more thoroughly. Any one out-there is familiar with this illness? Thanks to all.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
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  • Be prepared for them to say your crazy.:eek: Read as much as possable about cataplexy. Then decide for yourself how crazy you are. Good luck.:cool:
    k horsley 6 Replies Flag this Response
  • PS: cat scans - mris - xrays- heart monter - eegs- doctors- doctors -shrinks- shrinks- more doctors- more shrinks - pills - pills.- blood work - more blood work - Sleep study- neurologyist x2. They may look at you like your crazy. 8 years of the crazys here . Maybe in june and july we'll get some answers. More test.
    k horsley 6 Replies Flag this Response
  • This happens to me. It mainly occurs when I am physically or emotionally overloaded or overwhelmed with no relief in sight and it appears to be a protective mechanism because of severe adrenal fatigue. I feel separated from reality, but "protected" from having unimaginably hurt feelings down into my very soul. I feel alone ( and thankful to be alone ) and almost in another dimension although totally aware of the people who are present and aware of my surroundings. In this state I feel less vunerable to being hurt, and I know I will be like this temporarily, so I am not afraid. It doesn't feel like a seizure to me because I am aware of myself and my surroundings. The things which help me come out of this, or prevent this when I feel the beginnings of "backing off" are: eye contact with someone who loves me, having my upper back muscles deeply rubbed (where the nerves go from the spine to the heart and lungs, and also address the sympathetic nervous system), matching my rate of breathing, supplements being put into my mouth---we start with someone giving me a bit of dark chocolate and or some ice cream, then we use Standard Process Cardio Plus, Drenamin, and MinTran which help feed the heart, adrenals, and brain therefore calming me down physically and emotionally. Putting on the television ( different brain waves in action), and eventually standing me up and helping me walk ( cross-crawl patterning ) eventually does the trick. The worst thing I dread is lying down because then I can't breathe well and I will get scared, panicky and hyperventillate. A sitting down position with someone directly in front of me doing the things that help seems to be the best situation and will bring me out of it sooner. I am exhausted for several hours afterward and need to rest quietly, being mentally distracted by watching a movie ( not necessarily sleep) helps. These episodes only happen to me when other people are present, never when I am alone. When I am alone, I am more peaceful and can usually calm myself, but when I feel I am being overtly personally misjudged, emotionally attacked, or terribly misunderstood, ---I "leave". I stare directly in front, I drool, I don't speak, I breathe slowly, sometimes tears just stream out of my eyes, my arms and legs are like a rag doll, but I can sit fine in a chair or on the bed cross-legged. It is more scary for the people who are with me than it is for me (as long as no one makes me lie down so I can't breathe well). I might mention, that this also sometimes occurs as a result of a sensitivity to something I ate usually in the form of food additives, msg, or shellfish, for instance. In that case, I use a homeopathic remedy for food additives and that in itself can stop an episode before it gets too far along. My speech starts to slur, or I just stop talking altogether, and that is one of my warning signs. I believe my eyes start darting from side to side prior to staring straight ahead. I think the episodes are a result of my body and mind calling a "time out", protecting me from being hammered with the overwhelming reality of hurtful things in my life. I believe these episodes are a form of protection from anxiety or panic, not seizures. Also, not crazy.
    Providence 7 Replies Flag this Response
  • thank you Providence for your answer. I do not think my husband has the same systems as you describe. But when I read the symptoms of cataplexy, it sure does sound like this is what he has. I'll see if there are any tests he can get to show this diagnosis. In the meatime, thanks for all your answers.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I was researching Lyme disease for my daughter's condition and found this article here:http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/story.html?id=3ab6db90-51bf-4b58-af9c-4b3ee54af289&k=2658It mentions a similar symptom:"During the worst of his illness, Ed Sperling would go into a catatonic state, standing motionless on the sidewalk for long periods before his mom would touch his shoulder or push him gently to move ahead."
    ParentOfSickKid 24 Replies Flag this Response
  • thank you very much ParentofSickKid for this article. My husband did get an infection in his shoulder from a tick a few years ago, and actually more than once as he goes in the woods often. We'll have him tested, as this does sound like what he could have. Thanks again.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Locked-In syndrome is a rare neurological disorder. It causes people to be essentially paralyzed with little motoric control. It's often caused by a stroke to the basilar artery but hind brain disorders can also cause it. Sometimes the wrapping around the nerve sheath starts disintegrating and can cause it.
    donohuema 4 Replies Flag this Response
  • Za40 wondering how things are going.If you have finely have your answers.One thing about cataplexy is you go into rem state like you went to sleep but your awake aware of whats going on you can hear everything thats going on around you people -tv -any sounds but you can't move or speak your eyes are usely closed.If standing when this happens things that can happen are straggering like your drunk or had stroke. Problems standing up wanting to fall down or you go down the Big one. Your as limp as a wet noodle. Triggers can be anything sounds- smells-feeling sad- happy or all between-suprises.You can be sitting or standing.Hope things are well.
    k horsley 6 Replies Flag this Response
  • I know it has been awhile, but I just read this post and I have cataplexy and use Provigil and it works very well for it. It is often found with narcolepsy, but I don't have narcolepsy. It occured with me after a disease called ADEM, which was a neurological disease that affected my brain stem that affects sleep cycles. I'm sure many reasons could cause cataplexy. I would lose all muscle control, but was conscious and knew what was going on around me. My doctor checked for seizures with an EEG, but he did not find them and he diagnosed cataplexy. The Provigil has been a miracle drug for me. I hope your husband is doing better. Good luck and God bless~!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
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