Discussions By Condition: Medical Stories

Laugh and pass out - catalepsy?

Posted In: Medical Stories 3 Replies
  • Posted By: Al Ankers
  • April 28, 2007
  • 11:16 PM

I'm watching a comedy show and the comedian is really funny, I begin to black out, head falls, eye lids close, arms become limp and if standing legs would be weak. I try to watch the TV but I can't get my eyes open. When the jokes are over I'll return to normal in a few minutes.

OK, so what? No big deal, right? WRONG?

The situation is triggered by an intense emotional occurance. Meeting a blind date for the first time. Soccer game, goal scoring situation becomes evident, bingo! None of these really bothered me until now becuase they were not life threating and disappearred as quickly as the emotional event presented itself, until yesterday!

I am driving a Nissan 350Z in traffic. So what? I have to shift gears use the brake and clutch, and steer!I am in the center lane coming on a intersection stoplight, I realize I should have turned right so I want to get in the left turn lane to get turned around and it hits me. Now I can't see, my head has dropped, eyes closed, both arms weak, and same with the legs. I didn't panic but I was very afraid. I didn't want to stop in the middle of the road and require someone to come help me. Just wanted to get turned left and off the road. I did get the car stopped and depressed the clutch in the left turn lane. I suppose no one suspected anything was wrong. I could hear fine and I could force my head up to peek at the car stopped ahead. When he moved to go left I went also. You have no idea the determination it took to get the car arround the corner and off the road. I don't suppose anyone knew the panic I was feeling until I stopped. Also It wouldn't have been so bad but to drive a shift car I needed every thing that had just shut down. Eyes to see where I was going, left leg for clutch, right for brake and gas, left arm for steering and right leg for gear shift. This had never happened before when driving a car, therefore this letter. What's happening? Can anyone tell me? Who do I talk to? I don't see my doctor buying any of this. When I was in my twenties, I went to a neurologist on my own and he said I was fine. I'm now 64.

Later that same day I got a call from another realtor that she had sent me a contract for a listing I had, and I called the owner to tell him the good news and before he could answer his phone it hit me. I couldn't pick the cell phone up to put it to my ear. 20-30 seconds I was able to talk to him and it passed.:mad:

What's going on?

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3 Replies:

  • me too, i laugh to much, can't breath and pass out
    Anonymous 42789 Replies
    • September 15, 2007
    • 04:38 AM
    • 0
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  • I'm watching a comedy show and the comedian is really funny, I begin to black out, head falls, eye lids close, arms become limp and if standing legs would be weak. I try to watch the TV but I can't get my eyes open. When the jokes are over I'll return to normal in a few minutes. OK, so what? No big deal, right? WRONG? The situation is triggered by an intense emotional occurance. Meeting a blind date for the first time. Soccer game, goal scoring situation becomes evident, bingo! None of these really bothered me until now becuase they were not life threating and disappearred as quickly as the emotional event presented itself, until yesterday! I am driving a Nissan 350Z in traffic. So what? I have to shift gears use the brake and clutch, and steer!I am in the center lane coming on a intersection stoplight, I realize I should have turned right so I want to get in the left turn lane to get turned around and it hits me. Now I can't see, my head has dropped, eyes closed, both arms weak, and same with the legs. I didn't panic but I was very afraid. I didn't want to stop in the middle of the road and require someone to come help me. Just wanted to get turned left and off the road. I did get the car stopped and depressed the clutch in the left turn lane. I suppose no one suspected anything was wrong. I could hear fine and I could force my head up to peek at the car stopped ahead. When he moved to go left I went also. You have no idea the determination it took to get the car arround the corner and off the road. I don't suppose anyone knew the panic I was feeling until I stopped. Also It wouldn't have been so bad but to drive a shift car I needed every thing that had just shut down. Eyes to see where I was going, left leg for clutch, right for brake and gas, left arm for steering and right leg for gear shift. This had never happened before when driving a car, therefore this letter. What's happening? Can anyone tell me? Who do I talk to? I don't see my doctor buying any of this. When I was in my twenties, I went to a neurologist on my own and he said I was fine. I'm now 64. Later that same day I got a call from another realtor that she had sent me a contract for a listing I had, and I called the owner to tell him the good news and before he could answer his phone it hit me. I couldn't pick the cell phone up to put it to my ear. 20-30 seconds I was able to talk to him and it passed.:mad: What's going on? I have narcolepsy with cataplexy and hallucinations. Your episodes sound exactly like the cataplexy (Not to be confused with catalepsy) attacks I get. Most are brought on by emotion (laughter being the most common), anger, relief. I have had one or two while driving, but was able to pull off the road before I became completely paralyzed. I began having symptoms of cataplexy when I was in my 30's (I am 67 now). When I would laugh my chin would droop and the muscles become lax. Sometimes my neck would lose muscle action and my head would snap. I was embarrassed to try to tell a dr. so I ignored it. It did not happen that often. Fast forward 25 years--- I began having complete muscle paralysis- if I am standing I fall where I am. I cannot call out or make a sound; I know what is happening and am conscious but cannot explain what is happening to anyone to alleviate their alarm. For 7 years I have been on a daily dose of 30 mg. of Dexedrine, 300 mg. Provigil and Effexor. For the most part- that controls the episodes. If I get very tired or am around too many people for an extended time- I am vulnerable. Most of the time I can get away from the situation.
    glynda 3 Replies
    • February 25, 2008
    • 05:05 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • I have narcolepsy with cataplexy and hallucinations. Your episodes sound exactly like the cataplexy (Not to be confused with catalepsy) attacks I get. Most are brought on by emotion (laughter being the most common), anger, relief. I have had one or two while driving, but was able to pull off the road before I became completely paralyzed. I began having symptoms of cataplexy when I was in my 30's (I am 67 now). When I would laugh my chin would droop and the muscles become lax. Sometimes my neck would lose muscle action and my head would snap. I was embarrassed to try to tell a dr. so I ignored it. It did not happen that often. Fast forward 25 years--- I began having complete muscle paralysis- if I am standing I fall where I am. I cannot call out or make a sound; I know what is happening and am conscious but cannot explain what is happening to anyone to alleviate their alarm. For 7 years I have been on a daily dose of 30 mg. of Dexedrine, 300 mg. Provigil and Effexor. For the most part- that controls the episodes. If I get very tired or am around too many people for an extended time- I am vulnerable. Most of the time I can get away from the situation.I suggest you pick up a book called "Laughing Sickness: A Medical Mystery" by Anne Black Gray. It's the fictionalized true story of someone with this cataplexy. She went for years trying to get a diagnosis. The book is wonderful and is available from Amazon.com.
    Jamromin 1 Replies
    • January 27, 2010
    • 04:56 AM
    • 0
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