Surgery was slated for early. I don’t remember what time. I do remember that we were at Methodist Hospital in Houston before the sun came up.
My reasons for living were by my side until they wheeled me off on the gurney. They would be with me when I was in recovery. The night before my surgery, several friends stopped by. It almost felt as if they were saying their last goodbyes. I think they might have thought they were.
I am well versed in the goings on prior to surgery. You answer all of the questions you answered pre op, more vitals and so on. One good thing came out of the mundane question and answer session, however. The nurse questioning me asked my age, I said I was 44. He looked puzzled, did the math and told me that I was 43. I had been 44 in my head for the past year. I’ll blame it on my wonky brain.
The anesthesiologist made his appearance. I made sure to tell him that I puke coming out of anesthesia. He made notes in his chart and assured me that he would keep me from puking. Dr. Parrish came in and marked the part of my head that was fixing to get sliced open like a watermelon. The nurse made her entrance, checked my vitals again and attempted to start my IV. I always feel so bad for the nurse that has to start my IV. Of course, I am a hard stick. I think she got it after the fourth or fifth try. Once the IV was in, I got a little medicinal cocktail and then, the waiting. I think the waiting is the hardest part, cocktail or not.
I had resigned myself to the fact that at this point, I had nothing to lose. Yes, the surgery could cause more damage. Yes, I could die during surgery. No, the surgery might not help at all. Yes, the surgery might alleviate a few of the symptoms. Whatever the scenario I was good with it. What choice did I have?
I was more scared than I let on. I’ll admit that now. I didn’t want anyone to know that I thought I might die or that I might never speak or walk again.
After being an EMT on an ambulance for years, Stuart developed very thick skin in all things blood and guts. He tried to be tough on the morning of the surgery but his eyes told me a different story. His eyes alerted me to the severity of the situation at hand.
The kids just wanted their momma back. I am sure they were terrified but they handled themselves so well, making sure that I was at ease.
It’s a delicate dance is it not? Knowing how to act it times such as these. Do you say goodbye? Do you say, see you in a little bit? Do you stay silent? The one thing we all agreed on was the “brain lift” had to happen and Dr. Parrish was the man to do it.
The team came to get me. Stuart said “I love you Booger, see you in a little bit” and kissed me on the head. The kids waved and I was off. I had the easy part from here on out.
I think the brain lift lasted a little over four hours.
Coming out of anesthesia still sucked. I puked, a lot. Obviously, my head hurt. But later that evening, I was calling everyone I knew. I felt like a new person. It was the drugs! It would get worse before it got better but I was balls to the wall for several hours.
In 2014 after my second brain surgery, when I was in recovery, I loudly sang Victory In Jesus, to all of the nurses. I of course don’t remember any of it, I’ve just heard the stories. The brain lift of 2016 lent itself to me belting Victory In Jesus from my gut, to my captive audience in the recovery room. Again, I remember nothing, I’ve just heard the stories. I guess this go ’round, I was subconsciously holding up my end of the bargain I made with God.
I went home the very next day. They waste no time kicking you out. I was glad to be going home, however. The ride made me sick. I threw up what looked like brown coffee grounds all the way home.
Puking and all, I still wanted a Whataburger and Dr. Pepper. Before we went home, Stuart obliged. I didn’t eat any of it. We picked up my prescription for Norco. I would be told later by Joni, Dr. Parrish’s nurse, that it was a high enough dose to knock out an elephant. More on the Norco fiasco later.
It was hard to tell what would be better, what would be worse and what was going to stay the same. A couple of things were evident from the get go, though. I wasn’t stuttering anymore and my eyes didn’t appear to be twitching non-stop. Victory in Jesus through the hands of Dr. Parrish.
The road ahead was a rough one.