The frozen Tortoise

First, the news event, from yesterday. Then a Facebook exchange between Greg Morrow and me, about what might have afflicted Mitch McConnell, the minority leader of the US Senate. (GM and I both deprecate the evil of the Tortoise in the sharpest terms, but this posting is entirely about what might have caused his notable freeze.)

The event. Headline from ABC News yesterday:

McConnell, frozen, surrounded by concerned colleagues

Mitch McConnell freezes during weekly press conference, returns after stepping away: McConnell approached the microphone and began a sentence about the National Defense Authorization Act before trailing off for about 20 seconds, staring blankly forward without blinking

GM and AZ on Facebook today.

— GM: I actually read a description of what happened to Fuckhead McTurtleface yesterday, and kids, it’s just an epileptic seizure [petit mal] of the absence type. There’s a storm of essentially radio static — an excess of random signals — in one or more parts of your brain and you blank out until the signal subsides and normal thinking resumes. It’s not a big deal. Afterwards, you need to rest for a while, probably have some sugar and hydrate. If you’re susceptible, you can be made more so by age, medications, hydration and nutrition. Most individuals have specific triggers; flashes of light are perhaps the most common. The individual may not even know that it happened.

He’s not about to die, dammit. He needs some meds adjusted, probably.

— AZ > GM: BUT, an absence seizure is not the only possible diagnosis; a TIA — transient ischemic attack — is another, and there might be more. My man Jacques, in his long decline to death, suffered from both absence seizures *and* TIAs, so I know how similar they can seem. TIAs are especially likely in hot weather when you haven’t been drinking enough water (J’s most frightening attacks occurred, in public, in just this context — they called for removal to an air-conditioned place and hydration, and then vanished quickly).

GM and I are agreed that TIAs are considerably more serious than petit mal seizures.


3 Responses to “The frozen Tortoise”

  1. John Baker Says:

    Is parkinsonism another possibility?

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