With a big squirt of Valium sluicing its way through my body, it seemed there was no end to the “wheee” on that surgery table ride. Surrounded by a staff of hand-patters and atta-girlers, the process of finding a blood source to my brain tumor was nearly delightful. But then again, that depends on whether you’re the embolizer or the embolizee. Being in the latter role, my job was to turn my head as directed, breathe, don’t breathe, hold still, move, be very, very still, sniff back threatening tears. The injected dye gives one the sensation of heat. Hot heat. Liquid lava hot heat.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t so bad. After numerous camera angles and grimacing poses under the bang, bang, bang X-Ray machine, the radiologist came out from his shielded position behind a large protective screen and pronounced me done. “I’m done?” I asked. “Did I live?” Good old Valium — the drug of silly mouths and ridiculousness.
“You did great,” the doctor said. “The good news is, we didn’t find a blood source to your tumor. But then, the bad news is we didn’t find a blood source.”
“What does that mean?” I asked, trying to be serious in spite of the happy drug still bubbling through my body.
“It means my job was easy today, but your surgery tomorrow probably won’t be the easiest. It means your tumor will be much harder to remove, but then again, you won’t have as much worry about bleeding into your brain.”
“That’s a good thing, right?”
“Half good, half bad,” the doctor said. “We’ll hold good thoughts.” Without belaboring the point any further, he disappeared to wherever radiologists go when they’re done dropping bombs onto drugged-up women.
For the next twenty minutes, one nurse applied vice-like pressure to the opening in my groin, while another nurse — the one apparently assigned to patting hands — patted my hand.
Now nicely bandaged, I was moved to my room and instructed to stay still in my bed for the rest of the day so my groin wouldn’t open and geyser all over the place. Oprah and copious Popsicles helped my body stay quiet. I can’t say as much for my mind that seemed to still bang, bang, bang like that X-Ray machinery. Not even Oprah could stop me from thinking about that good news, bad news pronouncement over me.
Toward evening, the surgeon stopped by to give me a smile and a thumbs-up. That was nice. I figured he’d been informed of my little blood-supply-to-the-tumor issue, so I just smiled and gave him a return thumbs-up. It was all in his hands now.
His amazing hands that were brave enough to enter the nether regions of people’s brains every Monday and Wednesday morning.
I was his Wednesday morning.