I’m alive and gradually recovering after Brain Surgery, Round 2; I almost wrote this last week on the old laptop I brought with me into hospital, but somehow only now am I feeling inexhausted enough to write something vaguely intelligible… well, that and I’m using a keyboard that doesn’t keep ignoring me pressing the space bar, and which doesn’t have a touchpad right underneath it. I’m able to write on my home PC because they let me out early, on Friday last week instead of Monday (i.e. today) this week, so clearly I got through the aftermath better than expected.
(Or, I was an awful guest and they just wanted me to hurry up and clear out?)
What happened this time in comparison to 2018? Well, as hinted here ahead of time, they only kept me asleep at the very start and end of the operation itself — and this time, rather than a jump cut, I felt myself falling alseep and waking up gradually at each stage. I was barely able to stay awake during the actual ordeal, as two nurses tested me on my English knowledge while my brain’s unwelcome visitor was hacked away by surgeons out of sight, though in the event I needed them to read out sentences to me (so I could say whether or not they made sense), as (a) the plastic covering kept getting in the way, and (b) I didn’t have my glasses on!
It took a long time, but fortunately I remember only bits and pieces, which is probably just as well to avoid feeling like I was spending eternity in the deepest pit of Hell (boredom being far worse than anything Satan could come up with). Every time I asked, the time left had gone down significantly (several hours, a couple of hours, an hour, half an hour…). This was probably the first time I’ve ever been able to lie in an active MRI scanner without needing to move, most likely because I was on my side instead of my back!
My mother told me the information she was given in the aftermath: the surgeons took out 99% of the “space invader” (new and old), and then, presumably when I was back asleep, went back in again for the lingering 1%, so now — for the first time in, almost certainly, decades, and hopefully for a long time in the future — I’m rid of the cursed cerebral corruption, and just have to suffer through the same post-op symptoms as in 2018… except this time in winter, and with my family having more than just me to look after.
At least my mum’s managed to secure help looking after my grandmother, who thus has a little longer in the world — but I wish I could get over these symptoms quickly, and help her (even if it’s just keeping the dog distracted at important times). My head aches, naturally, and I get throbbing from standing up and walking, but I also sometimes “see” things more distantly through my left eye, my right-side hearing may be crackling again (unless it’s just my TV developing bad sound quality?), coughs and sneezes (allergic rather than viral) cause instantaneous headaches, and after one good night’s sleep on Fri-Sat, I’m back to lying awake in the small hours…
(On the plus side, issues with both intake and output of the digestive variety seem to have been resolved over time, even if my diet has made no actual improvement!)
Hopefully I won’t jinx anything, but I’m pleased to announce that the right side of my body seems to be in full working order: I can mouse around in FPS games (Halo 4 seems to be working fine), and… er… well, I can use it in things where I also use my left hand, e.g. typing this out on a keyboard two-handed instead of one-handed. The important thing is that I seem to have finally overcome the mini-strokes I was getting before!
Walking around isn’t pleasant — along the street, downstairs and upstairs in this house — thanks to the head throbs, but I don’t want to just sit here in front of my computer… wait, did I actually write that? Of course I’d love to sit here playing games and surfing that newfangled Inter-thingy, but I have to stretch my legs and pop down to the shop occasionally for supplies (though I should have enough now for a couple of days) — and walking aside, I need to lie down occasionally and rest in here, rather than stare at screens all the time and risk hurting my eyes.
(Staring at my Kindle’s screen doesn’t matter, as it’s not luminous — and in any case, it’s Stephen King!)
Due to the nature of my left-side head suture this time around, I can’t just wait for temporary stitches to come out of their own accord, and 14 days after the operation (suddenly extended from eight days), I’ll need some quack to do it for me, using a blade like the one they gave me at the hospital. My own “GP” here in Finchley won’t even consider helping, and so I’d have to arrange something with a nearby hospital for next Monday… though my mum may have worked a miracle by getting her non-scare-quoted GP down in Ferring to let me be a temporary patient there!
That’s a good sign: I’ll be allowed to travel down next weekend to convalesce, like in 2018, in the town I’d so longed to escape from, and someone will take care of that particular stage for me, which will mean that — at last! — I can get the rest of my hair cut short, and start washing it again, the last time having been the morning before my operation (and using a lousy red fluid that didn’t exactly bring out the shine).
It was great being able to relax in the warm summer back in 2018, but this time around, it’s in an increasingly-cold winter, with the house only slightly easier to heat now than it was six years ago, when I felt a lot less optimistic than now — but once again, it’s only until I can visit my “support bubble” on the south coast, and start Christmas even earlier than I did in 2014, and with more optimism. I won’t be cold living with my mother, grandmother and dog, and I’ll be in no hurry to come back here…
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Apart from my mother, I’m sure you can guess that there are two other valuable people whose support has helped me keep going through what would otherwise have been a terrifying experience: “best mate” drove me to and from the hospital, not to mention fetching stuff from shops for me, and I owe him big (letting him borrow my printer for a big project is the least I can do); and there’s someone… precious to me, still living eight hours in the future, who makes me want to find the strength to travel abroad again (which I’ll be more confident doing once symptoms and medication are under control) to meet her face-to-face.
(Would I have to face two weeks’ quarantine, like she did when she went home earlier this year?!)
I’m grateful to my medical assistants, supportive Facebook friends, work colleagues (I have to keep texting three at once just to satiate them) and, of course, my personal trainer (he’ll have to wait a couple of months before he can even risk torturing me again!), but the above three are the most important in my life in this situation, and that’s all that matters to me right now.
Perhaps this is why my closing questionnaire at hospital led to me being found non-depressed — I’ve got too many reasons to live — and only anxious regarding possibly-required medical treatment in future, not human interaction at present. We’ll have to see what returns of its own accord inside my brain, won’t we?