Page 34: Back in the Hospital

As Christa slowly approached Joe, she could see that he was crying, and she knew at that point that he was not having one of his seizures.

“Joe, honey, what’s wrong?”

“I got out of the car. I couldn’t find the house,” Joe sobbed.  “I started walking.  I don’t know where I am.”

John had come up behind Joe and Christa and overheard what Joe had said. “That’s it, Christa. We’re taking him back in, right now.  He can’t live his life like this, and neither can we.  They need to do something.”

John and Christa took Joe to the car, and John immediately headed toward Rochester.  Thirty minutes later they were standing in the emergency room of St. Mary’s Hospital, explaining Joe’s situation to the attending nurse.

“I’m not exactly sure what we can do for your son, sir,” the nurse politely explained.  “I would suggest that you call his psychiatrist in the morning.”

“We’re not going anywhere.  If we can’t talk to his psychiatrist until morning, then you are putting him in a hospital bed tonight.  It’s unsafe for our son to not be under proper supervision,” John demanded.

The nurse made a phone call, then left the nurses’ station for a few minutes.  When she came back, she began completing the paperwork to have Joe admitted.  “We can admit Joe back up to the psychiatric ward for tonight, but in the morning you will need to get a referral from his primary psychiatrist over at the county clinic.”

“What about Dr. Spitzack?” Christa inquired.  “Can’t he refer Joe?”

“Unfortunately Joe was originally referred to us by Dr. Owen at the county clinic.  Once Joe’s treatment was complete, he was no longer under Dr. Spitzack’s care. You will need to call Dr. Owen in the morning,” the nurse instructed.

With that, six weeks after he had been originally discharged, the Aden’s signed the admission papers for Joe to be placed back in the psychiatric unit at St. Mary’s, and Joe was taken up to a room and given a sedative to help him sleep.

As Joe dozed off, Tessie came to see him again.

Page 33: The Incredible Hulk

Christa remembered that it was only a couple of months after Joe had been back from college that he had his first seizure, except at the time, she didn’t know what was happening.  All of a sudden Joe became so enraged.  Nothing in particular set him off.  He just start yelling and screaming like a mad man.  And, strong!  Why, he gained what seemed to be at least three times his normal strength–almost like the Incredible Hulk.  He picked up the kitchen table and hurled it across the room.  Christa tried to calm him down, but it seemed the more she talked, the more enraged he became.  He picked Christa up and was ready to throw her like a football when all of a sudden, he managed to snap out of it, put Christa back down and became so weak, he could barely stay standing.  He was so weak, he couldn’t even take a drink of water.

Christa took Joe to the emergency room after the first episode, and they hospitalized him for observation.  The doctors determined what Christa had witnessed was a convulsion or seizure of some sort.  They didn’t know what precipitated it, but they thought it might have something to do with the concussion he sustained when he got hit playing football.

Joe continued to have these seizures on and off for years.  Once at Stellar Motors, he became so strong during one of his seizures that he bent a cast-iron semi brake drum with his bare hands, and another time, he punched his fist into the back bumper of a car, placing a dent at least 1-inch deep.

Joe saw doctors on more than one occasion to see why he kept having the seizures or if anything could be done to stop them, but the doctors didn’t seem to have an answer or a solution for him.  Those around Joe had learned that when he would have one of them, they needed to stay perfectly still and quiet so as not to provoke him more.  And, once his seizure had subsided, they knew that Joe would most likely collapse and sleep for the remainder of the day.  

FACTS:  Joe did have these types of seizures and doctors attributed them to his concussion that he received while playing football for Winona State University.

Page 32: Acting Crazy

“Christa? Harold Westerly.”

“Yes, Harold, how are you?”

“Fine, but thought I should let you know that Joe is out here in my yard seeming a bit confused. He’s walking around in circles, muttering to himself. Tried to get him to come into the house, but he keeps pushing me away.  You know how strong he is, and I was afraid he was having one of those seizures–you know, like he used to get when he’d get all crazy and stuff.”

Christa ran outside, hollered at John to get in the car, and off they drove to Harold’s farm, only about a half mile down the road.  When they pulled up into Harold’s yard, Joe was flinging his arms in the air, pacing back and forth, pounding his head.  Just as Harold had said, “like a crazy man.”  Christa approached Joe slowly for fear that Harold might be right about Joe having one of his seizures. 

Joe had been having seizures for years–ever since he had been hurt at Winona State.  It was his freshman year, and his only year, because after that, he couldn’t play football anymore. 
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