Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Life’s many twist and turns can interupt good health

Dr. Leah Ridge

Eating right, exercising regularly and living a clean and healthy lifestyle are key components in having a long and productive life.

But sometimes, even when you follow the rules set up by the American Medical Association, unexpected things can still spin out of control.

About two years ago I began having visions of being in my own motion picture during some of my runs.

Mid way through a long endurance run an old fashion movie projector would go off in my brain and I would see myself reliving some of my past in a full color motion picture. 

The movie was so real that as I ran I would find myself talking out loud to the people in the movie.  I would get so wrapped up in the movie that I forgot I was running. 

As cars drove past me I was totally oblivious to what was going on in reality and was fully engulfed in my ‘déjà vou’, as I called it.

There were occasions that I would be watching television, the Colbert Report for example, where the colorful American eagle would appear at the beginning of the show, and I’d find myself wrapped up in my own déjà vu movie.

Scary indeed!  And no, I have never taken any mind altering drugs in my entire life.

During these hallucinatory episodes my wife thought that I was having mini strokes and she prodded me to go see my doctor.

Finally, after dozens of déjà vus I went to see several doctors in Hilo who all explained to me that I was severely dehydrated and needed to consume more water before, during and after my long distance runs.

Following their advice I began to increase my daily intake of liquids, but there was no change as the motion picture episodes would continue on some of my long distance runs and I would become extremely disoriented and confused.

In the summer of 2010, during my East Coast travels, the déjà vus continued and even increased during some of the distance runs in the dry heat of central Florida.

While riding in the car in Florida, I was having a phone conversation with my neighbor in Paradise Park when my brain went blank and I slipped into one of my déjà vus and needed to hand the phone to my wife as I was no longer able to continue the phone conversation.

My wife, thinking I was having a stroke, immediately told me to smile – which I did and shortly thereafter was able to speak again. (We learned that if a person cannot smile then they could be having a stroke.)

It was during a visit to upstate New York that things took a turn for the worse. 

Someone had told me that when I felt my mind going into another world to immediately lie on the floor and elevate my feet in order to get the blood circulating to my brain.

Following that advice, while getting out of bed in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I felt another déjà vu coming on and that is the last thing I remember.

My wife came into the bathroom looking for me and I was lying on the floor, groggy and disoriented.  She asked what I was doing and I said elevating my feet.

She helped me up, took me back to bed, while unbeknownst to her, I had blood coming from the side of my head and under my ear.  (Apparently I had hit my head on the sink in my attempt to get to the floor.)

A few minutes later I suffered my first of what was to be three major seizures.

After being hospitalized for several days in a Corning, New York hospital and given numerous tests, including a spinal tap, no one seemed to know what brought on the seizures.

A few days later I was given 1000 mg’s of a drug called Keppra and flew back home. During the entire flight I needed to place my head on my wife’s lap as it was too painful to sit up straight after enduring the painful spinal tap.

Fortunately, I was sent to Oahu to see a great neurologist by the name of Dr. Leah Ridge. 

According to Dr. Ridge I had suffered possibly as many as a hundred mini seizures which led up to the three grand seizures.

Dr. Ridge advises people to seek medical help whenever there are intermittent neurological changes such as emotion, memory loss, a feeling like you have been somewhere before or experienced something before, or double vision.

“Speech, movement or feeling changes, these could represent seizure or stroke and need to be taken seriously,” Dr. Ridge said.

Unfortunately no one was able to diagnose the symptoms sooner, which could have prevented the final outcome.

It was while I was sitting in Dr. Ridge’s office that my wife picked up a brochure on seizes and it explained that one of the common things that seizure patients have reported about the onset of their seizures is a feeling of déjà vu.

The reason I’m telling this story now is because on June 30, 2011 I have gone one year seizure free and I am no longer in the motion picture industry!

The chances of ever having another seizure are much less now and I am grateful.

If this story helps just one person in avoiding the onset of a grand seizure than it is worth the time and print.

As healthy and fit as I’ve been most of my life it hasn’t made me immune from the electrical system within my body.

I continue to listen to my body and have found a doctor that listens to me in Dr. Leah Ridge.

Life is so much more fun when you are healthy and fit and in your right frame of mind.

And someday should you happen to see a happy jogger paying attention to the traffic around him, remember to smile, say ‘woof’ and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

August 22, 2011 - Posted by | Health and Fitness | , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Fantastic..over one year seizure free!
    I hope this information can save someone from having to go through what you went through. This has nothing to do with how healthy a person is, but it sure helps to take care of yourself as you do.
    Thanks for sharing with others.

    Comment by RAJ | August 22, 2011 | Reply

  2. Very scary stuff, but thank goodness everything is ok now! If I lost my dad I’d lose everything important to me!

    Love you!

    Comment by Jaclynn | August 23, 2011 | Reply

  3. Thank you for being so honest and sharing this, it may benefit someone else. That’s how it happens sometimes – one day you’re fine and the next day…stuff happens! So glad you are doing better, I really enjoy your blog!

    Comment by Kristi | August 28, 2011 | Reply

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