happy anniversary, redux

god, i hate to keep doing this. just last month was the 3 yr anniversary of my first brain surgery and here we are today at the 3 yr anniversary of the second surgery.
to celebrate, please find a recounting of that day's events:

We wake up. I meditate for two minutes downstairs. I take a shower. We drive up the hill to OHSU and get in a fight because Margaret has made us late for my craniotomy. We check in. We discover my procedure is actually scheduled for 2:30PM. What?! Around 8:30 AM, We are shepherded downstairs to floor 5 for presurgery check in. We are immediately brought back to the pre-op room which I remember from SURGERY 1. A nurse tells me to disrobe. Another nurse tells me the reason for the time confusion is that I’m Dr Delashaw’s patient. He requests all his surgeries show up as early as possible, she says, because he likes to have options. He sometimes has several OR’s going at once.

I lay there for hours in a cold gown. Other patients come and go. Small talk. Crossword puzzles. I am asked my name. I am asked which side of the head. Other patients come and go. Small talk. Gallows humor. I am asked my name. I am asked which side of the head.

Around 2:15pm, the anesthesiologist finds me and says there’s been a backlog today. He says they want to be able to give me their full attention. I concur. It’s a craniotomy, I think. Take all the time you need.

They wheel me away around 4 PM. It is nine hours since we checked in.

I kiss Margaret goodbye and resign myself to my fate. I am a CAMERA, wheeled down a hallway on a gurney as EXTRAS lean into FRAME muttering semi-intelligible things through their masks. Jamie is the PA today. She is my age and seems like someone we’d be friends with if not for the circumstances. They call the elevator, bring me to the Surgery Floor, Floor 6. Down a long winding hallway to OR 14. Gurneys and equipment everywhere, like some forgotten archive of mechanica, like the VA hospital in “Jacob’s Ladder”. Into the OR , I am surprisingly wide awake. The sound of bleeping machines. People prepping. A man in scrubs washing his hands. Why does it feel so normal and ordinary? They shoot me with IV. I breathe deep but it isn’t taking. They shoot me with IV. My limbs are relaxing. Spreading. Floating.

I wake in Recovery.

I am being wheeled somewhere.

I have never been so thirsty.
I ask for water.
Can’t risk nausea in the CT Scan I’m told.

Bright flashes.

I am being wheeled somewhere.

Things begin to settle, take form around me. I must be in ICU. Ice chips, straw-sips of water. My family is around me. I am in and out of consciousness. Margaret is here. And then she is not. It is two in the morning and it is only me and Elaine, my nurse


Mom said...

Nicely written!! Looking forward to that
book. :)

yosoyyo said...

Hi BP,
I don't know how long ago you left a comment on my blog at the end of my post "Man Meets Morphine, Leaves Boy." To answer your question, I'm doing quite well after that little brain invasion. How are you, for that matter? I just have to hit up yearly MRIs at this point until they tell me it's gotten big enough again to go in . . . again . . . and take most of it out . . . again.