Woman, 22, who seemed ‘drunk at work’ given shock diagnosis after being rushed to A&E

Annie Newcomen from Liverpool, Merseyside, was at work when her concerned colleague thought she was hiding the fact she was drunk – after rushing her to A&E, the truth was much more shocking

Annie was shocked to discover the truth behind her strange symptoms

A woman who seemed “drunk at work” was stunned to discover she had a serious life-long condition, after a colleague rushed her to A&E.

Annie Newcomen, 22, was taken to the emergency department by her co-worker, who “knew something was wrong” after watching her strange behaviour.

The speech therapist claims she was told her symptoms were stress related, but knew “it couldn’t have been because of that”, the Liverpool Echo reports.

The following day she contacted her GP, who referred her to The Walton Center to see a neurologist at the end of March.

Annie, from Liverpool, Merseyside said: “In work I kept on feeling strange, I had a lot of déjà vu experiences.

“I would feel as though I had forgotten everything, I would be on the ward and go to the office – but forget why I was there, or what I was doing.

“I didn’t feel stressed, I mean, the work I do can sometimes be stressful but I wasn’t stressed, everyone’s job is a bit stressful.

“I was taken to A&E that day as one of my colleagues knew something was up, they said it seemed as though I was covering up that I was drunk, that’s how I was presenting myself.”

Annie had to undergo several tests and speak to a neurologist to find out what was wrong


Annie Newcomen)

Days later, Annie’s symptoms were persisting and she called the Walton Center to tell them she couldn’t wait any longer for her appointment.

The center agreed to see her the following day, but after explaining her symptoms to the neurologist, Annie was shocked to hear his immediate diagnosis.

She said: “I couldn’t speak after the episodes occurred and I would get a foggy brain. He turned around and said to me that I have epilepsy.

“I was shocked, I thought epilepsy was something you could only get when you were a kid and grow up with it, I didn’t think it could come on in adult life. He told me you can get it at any age.

“I was wondering how he could know I have epilepsy without doing any formal tests. Basically it is diagnosed, mainly, by someone describing their symptoms, and then if they are able to pick it up on EEG [Electroencephalogram] – they can then do a formal diagnosis.

“But if you are not having a seizure at that moment in time, it may never show up on the test. He said no matter if the tests come back fine, I will still have epilepsy, as it has happened on over seven occasions. “

She added: “He told me ‘you have your drivers license taken off you, you can’t take a bath, you can’t go swimming without a lifeguard’ – a lot of my independence has just been stripped away from me. I was having about two or three seizures a day then, for about three weeks.”

Annie was given medication to manage the condition and her seizures have now lessened to about two to three times a week, rather than daily.

The speech therapist suffers from focal seizures, where an epileptic seizure starts in one side of the brain.

Annie said: “My body twitches, it is not a fall to the floor type of seizure. My eyes flicker, I completely zone out – it is as if I leave the room – I am still conscious, but my mind is not there.

“Afterwards it takes about six or seven minutes to be able to talk. I am a speech therapist, the last five years of my life have been focussing on speech and communication, and then for me not to be able to communicate, It is how I knew something was definitely not right.

“It has been a massive life change for me. I have had to come to terms with the fact that this is happening to me, rather than me treating patients – like I treat patients who have had operations for epilepsy – and now I’m the patient.

“I am waiting on results coming back from my EEG at the end of this month. In terms of my job, I need to wait for the time being until my seizures are under control, but work are being so supportive of me and really understanding about what is going on.”

She added: “It was really hard at first, but now I am starting to have a more positive outlook on everything. I think now I know what my triggers are, it will become easier to have control over.”

Annie’s form of epilepsy is triggered by her stress levels, tiredness, and her nutrition.

Keeping a seizure diary, she was able to discover that if she was to skip a meal she would have a focal seizure.

She said: “My whole outlook on life has completely changed. I know it is cliché but life is too short, I was petrified at first thinking that it could have been a brain tumor or anything, weird as it is to say, I am lucky it is only epilepsy, if that makes sense.

“I look at it now like, you can’t take anything for granted and you have to enjoy everything that you have in life. When they’re taken away from you, things like going to work or driving a car, that’s when you realize how lucky you actually were.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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