A Shiny New Normal # 7

The night before brain surgery is supposed to be a fitful tracing along the corridor of one’s past; an examination of a life before its intersection with an event that will forever change the examiner.  For me?  I slept.  I was all out of prayers and last chance thoughtfulness on my own behalf.  I’d made my peace, settled my affairs, given away what tangibles I had.  I was ready.  I would wake, or not.  I would be changed, or not.  There was heaven, or not.

The following morning, July 6, 1994,  was a bustle of needles, last-minute questions, IV solutions, checking and re-checking my armband.  Was I who I said I was?  Was I the craniotomy or the appendectomy?

At last cocooned into soft blankets, with a final good luck pat on the arm, my gurney was threaded through corridors, elevated two floors, and landing softly next to a surgery table.  One, two, three … lift.  I was transferred to a table (its cold truth instantly screaming up my back) where life was to be transformed.  I would wake (or not) with a very bald head, 6.5 centimeters of growth completely removed (or not) from deep inside my brain and (hopefully) a rounded space left behind in which to fill back up with imagination, personality and a brand new essence of whatever would be.

Thank God for good drugs.  I needed every drop of mind-numbing liquid available in the anesthesiologist’s quiver.  Frankly, I was still scared in spite of my previous night’s reconciliation with all things brain surgery.

Eight hours of surgery later, I was quietly wheeled to an ICU for careful monitoring.  They’d be looking for evidence of brain swelling, bleeding, complications.  I didn’t wake until the following morning.  Slowly, I was aware of something like a stocking cap fitted over my head and the worst headache I’d ever experienced.  But this was great!  I woke up.  I hurt like hell.

I was alive.

In my face, I could barely make out the features of my friend, Toni.  “You did it,” she cooed into my floating, wandering, fuzzy eyes.  “And you should see yourself … you’re absolutely beautiful.”

“Sssaahh,” I said.  Yay, I meant.

Apparently the mouth sleeps longer than the eyes.


24 thoughts on “A Shiny New Normal # 7

  1. “Apparently the mouth sleeps longer than the eyes.” Shoot I’ve had that problem at times, and it’s not in reaction to any just completed surgery. Heck, sometimes it’s not even due to excessive consumption of certain potent beverages.
    Reading this series of posts is like watching a show for the second time. We know the outcome and yet there is the tension as the story builds to the final climatic scene. Even knowing that the surgery had been successful, it it a relief to read that it indeed was.
    Dave

  2. Indeed, it’s a relief even to me as I write these small and succinct remembrances. I’m purposely leaving out whole swaths of detail just in case someday this turns into a full-fledged autobiography. I’d hate to have someone tell me that since I’ve blogged ad-nauseum about the experience, it’s not eligible now for print form. Nevertheless, these little excerpts keep even me on the edge of my seat … and I KNOW how I turn out.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for your great comment, Dave. It’s good to know I’m not alone in the “fuzzy mouth” department.

  3. I agree with Dave. I was holding my breath while I read and didn’t realize it… So glad to have seen with my own eyes that you are ok.

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