Saturday, December 20, 2008

Catching Up

The day of surgery I woke about 4:30. Sleep was very restless from then on until 6:30 when I gave up and got up and showered. Anxious again.

The wait in the pre-op waiting room took forever. About an hour after we were told to be there, they called us into the back room. My Caretaker was more nervous than me, which allowed me to be 'strong'. As long as I didn't think about what was about to happen, I was fine.

The surgeon in training assigned to me was very nice. We started with a little 'something' to calm my nerves. Then she positioned the frame. This was excruciating. Although the numbing shots worked, the idea of someone screwing this frame into my head was daunting. When they put the whole frame on, which is like a mask, it rubbed my head all wrong. More numbing shots but it never really felt right. The MRI was done with the frame on and I asked why they did the first MRI if they knew they were going to do the 2nd. Well, the simple answer is to make sure there wasn't anything 'wrong' in my brain. i.e. if there were a tumor or something, they'd rather know before scheduling the whole surgery thing. That makes sense.

My Caretaker was allowed to be with me up until the MRI, then for awhile after. When they finally took me to the OR, the main surgeon wasn't happy with the way the frame was attached and took the whole thing off and started over again. I have to admit it felt better the way he put it on - but back to the MRI for pictures with it in its new position. (A little tedious, but they had shot me up with some good stuff so I didn't really care much).

I don't remember the surgery itself. I remember them shaving my head and I briefly remember after they were done and told me it was time to put me out and insert the generator. Everything else is a blur.

I came back to my room where the Caretaker was waiting. Luckily he had brought a video game from a friend and was able to occupy his time. I have no frame of reference for time. I started my cover story.

The GF showed up at some point and I was glad she was there. She spent the night in the room on a couch. The pain was b-a-d. Worst headache I've ever had. About every hour I got a shot of morphine and from time to time some other pain killers. I got some good sleep from about 5:30 on.

The next day, under the meds, I felt pretty darn good. They checked me over and released me. We headed home. [more cover story things] All in all, everything went fine.

Sleeping in my own bed felt good. I put off taking the prescribed drugs until I 'needed' them, but then realized I needed to stay a little ahead of that schedule. It was still very painful without the drugs.

I've stayed relaxed and on the meds for the past couple of days. [I've changed the blog to eliminate more references that could be linked just to me - about the cover story etc]

2 days after the surgery I noticed the area around the generator had gone down in swelling. At first I had thought I might get away with no one noticing it - other than the scar. But as the swelling has gone down, it's outline is very apparent. Oh well, I'll deal with that when I have to.

Also, although the pain has been fairly significant, I've noticed more pain on the right side of my head. I finally put 2 and 2 together and realized the extra pain is from where they ran the wires. It's sort of like a sinus/jaw ache on that side. I can feel the leads in my neck and if I bend my neck just right, I can feel a little tugging of the wires. Interesting. Nothing bad - just different.

So I'll throw in the caveats here - anyone who has this is going to react differently. Everyone reacts to pain differently and I'm sure some will never notice the tugging of the leads. Hopefully in a couple of weeks, I won't.

I am doing well. I am still very hopeful that this works, but mainly I'm proud of at least taking some steps to do something about the depression. Whether it's working out, journalling or counseling, taking some positive steps to manage it, feels good.

All the medical staff were very professional and quite kind. Kudos.

I go back next week to get the staples out. I'm not looking forward to that. In order to hide the staples, I've been wearing hats. Most rub in the wrong place, so I tried putting a little anbesol on the staples before wearing a hat to a Christmas party last night. It seemed to do the trick and wasn't as bothersome as the hats during the day.

All the Christmas cards and packages are now in the mail and I can relax. I took another 1/2 of my meds and plan on watching movies and chilling the rest of the day.

Thanks to all the well-wishers. Thanks to my medical team and to my really outstanding friends, the Caretaker and my GF. I'm in a good place.


Anonymous said...

Another hurdle overcome…thumbs up to you!


Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing your experience with the world. it's fascinating to learn about it from a patient's perspective

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