I last left you right before my surgery and that is where I’m going to pick up at. If you missed my first post you can read it here, to catch up. 🙂
Since I was still in school, and my surgery would put me out for quite a while, my parents decided to wait a couple of months until summer break so I would have plenty of time to heal, recover and be ready for school in the fall. What happened during those couple of months is really not that important. My doctor prescribed some medication to subside my side effects from the leakage. That was the most important thing, to get me through school and all of my other activities without any, or as little, interruptions.
End of school came. I finished my freshman year of high school. Instead of having a carefree summer vacation filled with Irish dancing camp, I was a competitive Irish dancer back in the day :), and summer swim team, I would be having major surgery. I would be incapacitated, unable to do much of anything other than lay in bed, walk around my home and yard and have visitors. Not the ideal summer for a teenage girl but I really had no other choice.
My surgery date was quickly approaching, actually it was just a few short weeks away. I don’t remember much leading up to that day. I do, however, remember the day itself very vividly. My parent’s and I drove to the hospital early in the morning. I had check in, which is very boring. Anyone who has had to go to a hospital for blood work, to have a baby ( worst possible time to ask about your insurance information in the middle of contractions hahaha) or any kind of scan will tell you its the most unexciting part.
After all that fun-ness we headed up to the wing where my surgery would take place. Since I was on the cusp of child/adulthood a decision needed to be made about whether or not to treat me at the children’s hospital or a regular hospital. It was decided I would have my surgery at the local children’s hospital (which was, and still is, one of the best children’s hospitals around, in my opinion). That made me feel a little bit better because I definitely didn’t feel like an adult. I mean, I’m an almost 35 year old woman and I still refer to myself as a girl. 🙂 So my 14 year old self definitely felt more childlike than adult.
I got to change into a spiffy white scrubs looking outfit, all ready to get my blood pressure and other stats taken care of, that’s the picture in my first post. I said my goodbyes to my parents, which weirdly enough, didn’t bother me because I said, “I’ll see you in a couple of hours.” My mom, on the other hand, was trying so hard to hold back her tears. I knew how nervous she was for me and I knew how brave my dad was trying to be for the both of them and for me. I was in some naive world that everything would be fine, when in reality it could possibly not be and that’s what terrified my parents so badly.
I walked with the nurse to the operating room. In my mind, I thought I was going to be wheeled down on a gurney, like on tv hahaha, but nope. I had to walk on my own free will down this hallway to the operating room and sit myself on the operating table and lay myself down. I remember the anesthesiologist hooking my IV up and telling me to start counting backwards, starting with 10. I could feel the cold fluid of the anesthesia flowing through my veins, which is quite a hard feeling to completely describe but it was almost like ice water was just flowing through my entire body. As I was counting backwards I felt my eyelids getting really heavy and before I knew it I was asleep.
I remember waking up, like I had just been asleep, to my parents and a nurse. My head was still a little foggy so it was hard to focus on anything and keep my eyes open. I’ve tried to block those few days in the ICU out of my mind because it was painful. I could barely lift my head, lift my arms, sit up or even walk. I needed someone with me at all times because I literally couldn’t do anything for myself. Not only that but my head was the size of a watermelon from all of the swelling!!
I made the mistake of touching my head and found a bloody, hairy mess. Since the surgeon knew I was concerned about having my entire head shaved he agreed to only shave a headband strip across the top of my head, where he needed to operate. I had gone into the operating room with a pony tail and came out with a bloody rat’s nest on my head. The nurse and my mom had to gently clean the blood out while I just lay there.
I didn’t have any visitors, while in the ICU, except my parents and my sister, who came down from college to see me. I distinctly remember the nurse wheeling in a TV because my aunt, uncle and cousins, who couldn’t come up from southern California to visit, had made a video for me. I remember my Uncle Larry rapping in it. hahaha If you know him then you know this is exactly something that he would do on a regular basis. 😉 It definitely picked my spirits up. It’s amazing how family knows just what to do to make you smile and forget about whatever bad situation you’re dealing with. My family is great at making me feel loved and making me smile.
There were long days of practicing sitting up in my hospital bed, standing up from my hospital bed and then walking. I believe I was only in the ICU for a couple of days but it felt like an eternity to me.
My brain surgery story will continue on another day. What I have to share next is nothing short of a miracle and happened for a reason. Until then friends, have a good week.