Well, I have to say, I am happy to have that behind me!
Thanks so much to everyone who has been sending good wishes, healing vibes, goodies, cards, jokes, and cheers. I never fully understood before this just how vital it is to live with so much love and support.
Today I just want to say, HI! I’m alive! So far the brains seem relatively unscrambled and I am on the mend. It won’t be a deep or philosophical post because, you know. I just had FREAKIN BRAIN SURGERY.
So let’s hit the funny highlights, shall we?
Key lessons learned from brain surgery.
- You have to laugh. You just have to keep that sense of humor. And when you are an old lady with her eyeballs spinning in her cracked head, lying in a hospital bed in a baggy blue johnny, just picturing yourself is enough to make you laugh. When you open those blurry eyes and find your old self surrounded by bright and beautiful young nurses and doctors, you damn well better stay humorous.
- When they tell you that you will “sleep” through your surgery, believe them. In my case, I was chatting with the nice anesthesiologist(s) and breathing in the little mask. Just as I started to drift off, it seemed to me that about 50 people started yelling my name and shaking me. My reaction, naturally, was perfectly calm and logical. Luckily for the lovely young folks surrounding me in my moment of vulnerability, I was unable to articulate my thoughts. Because this is what I was thinking, “What the FUCK is wrong with you?!! I’m supposed to be unconscious!!!!” For a few seconds, I thought they were calling the whole thing off and I was plenty mad. I have a vague memory of trying to smack one handsome young man in his handsome young face. In reality, I had been “asleep” for 12 hours while they sawed my skull, poked around my nerves, dug out the tumor, and stitched me back up again.
- This is not the best weight loss plan, but it works. When you have your vestibular nerve removed (cut? killed? sliced?), every movement of your eyeballs makes you feel sick. Even the thought of your favorite food makes you erp. Ah, the joys of sucking on a piece of ginger all day…….
- When the nice nurses tell you to “rest”, do not react. They mean well. They do. It’s just that they are doing their jobs when they wake you up every 14 minutes around the clock in the ICU. They really do need to check your heart rate/temperature/blood pressure/blood sugar/platelets/blood count. You do need to wake up to take your pain meds, blood pressure meds, steroids, laxatives and pepcid to offset the side effects. You get the idea.
- Neurosurgery means that every morning for the first few days, you will open your groggy eyes and find yourself surrounded by approximately 125 eager young faces who want to “check your neuro status”. They will ask you very difficult questions like, “What is your name? Where are we? What is the date?” All of this info will be written on the board across from you, and you will have been staring at it endlessly for hours (as it is the one thing that isn’t jumping around). You will answer. They will shine lights in your eyes, ask you to smile, stick out your tongue, raise your eyebrows, make a pucker. They will tell you you’re doing great. Four minutes later, another group (this time for ENT) will go through the same thing only this time they add a tuning fork. Four minutes after that, one of your surgeons will repeat it. And four minutes after that, your other surgeon will have a turn. You are sure to know you name by the time you leave, I promise.
- Being deaf in one ear is not all bad, believe me. When you are in an ICU with all the bings, bells, dings, voices, hisses, clicks and bangs, it is a GREAT gift to be able to sleep on your good ear and make it all go away.
Most of all, what I learned from my coconut cracking experience is that I am one very very very lucky woman. The doctors and nurses at Tufts Medical Center in Boston are absolutely amazing. Especially those nurses, who are absolutely tireless as they calm, medicate, clean, soothe, assess, feed and monitor patients. My admiration for each of them is endless.
Now I need some good podcast and movie recommendations. Reading makes me nauseous. And I am supposed to stay relatively still and not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for 6 weeks.
Pray for my poor, wonderful, supportive husband who has to deal with me!