Thursday, December 21, 2006

Part 2 - the Surgery and after!

The surgery(craineotomy to remove the tumor) : (Not so much for the faint hearted)

I did not cover my brain surgery details and the hospital stay in any posts and the recap, so here it is. This post has been in draft state since a week now.

We had the surgery on Nov 14 at Harborview. We checked in at about 6:10 am. It was a wierd numb feeling i had that morning. I had thought that I would be super anxious and would be freaking out and someone would have to sedate me to even take me to the hospital :). Guess what, I went to the anesthetic station by myself and got the iv and stuff. Vivek and mom joined me there after a while. They also asked me if i needed some sedatives to get to the OT and i decided to just walk there instead. I remember just the first 2 minutes in the OT of course. My surgery took about 6.5 hours and some 2-3 hours to get me ready for the ICU. I am sure everyone outside had a difficult time trying to get through those 8-9 hours. They removed the orbital bone above the right eye to get to the tumor and put some titanium plates in there. I was moved to the ICU after the surgery and i dont remember too much from 14th. I do remember some talking i did with people i couldn't clearly see:) my face was swollen and right eye was glued shut. The left eye opened a little and had orientation problems. The next day was nicer and we also moved to the step-down-icu on 15th evening.

The stepdown ICU was a semi-private room. The first day there was also a very sedated day, with tons of vital checks and some talking. The night there was entertaining too. The other patient in the room probably had had an accident and did not remember stuff. She would come in asking for a couple of dollars for some beer. Even at night, she would come and wake me up and ask for some dollars. I fell sorry for her but in my half sedated and pained state, i got really scared of her. Its good that Vivek was there, but poor thing did not sleep the whole night, so that i could rest.

The next day was better as we got a new roommate. I was more awake and atleast remember that i had a number of visitors:).

Some nasty stuff happened during these 2 days though. If you are going to have any surgery, then dont read this paragraph:). One day they took out or rather just pulled out a drain from brain. Man, that hurt like crazy. They just pulled it out from the stich area along with some hair of mine. I dont know what hurt worse, the drain coming out from somewhere in the brain or the hair being pulled out. The resident doc who did it wouldnt tell me his name after that :). The next day they removed the lumbar puncture which is like another drain from the spine. The removal was all fine, but there was now a small hole in the skin over the spine which needed to be closed. And that takes 3-4 stiches. apparently, to the numb the area also needs 4 needle pricks. So hey, either ways 4 pricks. So they did those stiches without the numbing. That hurt too :(. But the doc was nice and quick. Then that night the nurse wouldnt let vivek stay the night, some random reasons as usual. I freaked out after the previous nights experience so finally he managed to convince the nurses to let him be there.

The next 4 days were in the general ward. We had a private room. Of course, the vitals check every 3-4 hours continued. So the nurse would wake me in the night and check my vitals and ask me some questions to evaluate my mental state. It can get a little irritating sometimes when you just went to sleep and suddenly the light is put on, a cold temperature device is put in your ear and you get pricked to check the glucose level :), and also asked to answer questions. I remember one such question for which i just stared back at her. She asked me who the governor of washinton was. :) after a couple of seconds, i asked her if i could tell her who the governor of california was. She smiled and said everything looks fine. The midnight CT scans, on/off pain graph, tons of medications, walks on the floor made up the rest of the days.

We came home on 20th and i remember the drive back was nasty. I couldnt take any of the movements of the car without getting a little nausea, so i had vivek drive at 5 mph. We finally got home and i think the next 2 days were in pain probably just because of the change from hospital to home. After that, it has been a graph of ups and downs and gradual recovery. I hope it continues this way and i can soon start jumping around.

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