Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Me and My Blood Clot, part 2

Saturday night: So I can't eat or drink anything, which is a pain. I don't mind not eating because the food here is pretty bad, but my throat is dry and I would like to sip water.

My sister brings the boys to visit. Ben's a little thrown by it all, and A. asks the nurse filling out the wipe-off board in my room, "What are you going to do to Colleen?" I guess he thought he was more likely to get an answer if he used my first name. We tell him as much as we can about how I bonked my head and the doctors have to take care of me and make me better. He and my niece really like my mechanical bed.

I go up and down (nice transition - I mean in mood, not the bed). Tonight is a bit down. Most of the time I'm able to focus on how OK I feel and how everything's going to be fine. Tonight I'm annoyed. I was just playing soccer with a three-year-old, for heaven's sake! Part of me wants them to just go in and fix this.

G. climbs into bed with me and we notice that we haven't had this much time alone together in forever. I ask him if he thought I was overreacting when I said we needed to go to the ER, and he admitted he did. But he rallied and was glad we did. While I was in the ambulance on the way to the neuro center, he said that he decided he could deal with this one of two ways: he could get really anxious about everythihng, or he could turn it over to God. So he imagined me in the lotus position sitting in God's lap and that was calming. I thought so, too, so I closed my eyes and climbed up into God's lap.

Sunday a.m.: First doctor (let's call him Dr. Clean because he's bald and has an earring) returns. He says it's up to us if we want the craniotomy. It would take care of the pressure and relieve the pain faster, but it would be, you know, brain surgery.

Part of me thinks, "There's something in my brain that shouldn't be there - get it out." But most of me says "No, let's not go in there if we don't have to." And let's keep the hair. I'm finally getting it back after losing over half of it from childbirth.

We have to pry his recommendation out of him, but he finally says that he would recommend against surgery, and he would avoid it if it were his wife or daughter. So we agree. He also says I have to stay at least another day. G. arranges for his parents to arrive the next morning, and goes to get the house ready, do some grocery shopping and visit the boys at my sister's. I can eat and drink again, so G. brings me some coffee, Cheese Nips and pretzels. Perfect.

I’m on percocet, have a small blind spot just left of center in my vision, which is annoying when I try to read or type. It’s hard for me to see the whole word at once, so it’s hard to catch typos. I can’t access the internet here in the hospital, so I can’t do any compulsive Googling of epidural hematomas and craniotomies, which is probably good. But I also can’t blog or amuse myself with random surfing.

Sunday 4pm: The Super Bowl's on, but I'm having trouble concentrating. . It's still 0-0 so I guess I haven't missed much. I close my eyes and visualize lots of little scrubbing bubbles wiping away the clot, singing “Getting Spongy” from JoJo’s Circus. The nurse just walked by and said, “Oh, I have a terrible headache!” I said, “Tell me about it.”

I take a little walk down the hall, trying to think of words to my new song, to the tune of "Me and My Shadow:"

Me and my blood clot
Walking down the corridor
Just me and my blood clot
I don't want you anymore.

Most of the people on this floor are pretty old. But the old lady next door is reading a book and I envy her. I don’t think I could read a book right now. The blind spot is too distracting. My TV picture is all green, too. That’s annoying.

Sometimes I wonder if this will change my life in some way. Will my perceptions/priorities change? Will I remember this as a very scary time? Is this gonna turn out to be a spiritual experience? Or as a blip on the radar screen? I don’t really know how to put it in perspective yet. Everyone around me seems very concerned, and the doctors seem very surprised that I’m as clear as I am given the size of the clot. Well, hey, maybe I just don’t use that part of my brain very often.

I just want to be back for my kids. I want to play with them and take them places again. I can’t drive for a while (guess it would be good to get the vision thing working before I attempt that). I want to plan my one-year-old’s birthday party.

G. said last night that he got probably the best sleep he’s gotten in months. I went to roll over once, and he jumped up and yelled, “Hey hey hey! Be careful!” I guess he has some justification now. He didn’t remember it this morning, of course.

The Super Bowl's over and I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy . The guy just went to the OR with a “temporal epidural hematoma” – hey! I know what that is! I’ve got an occipital one! The ER dr. told me that if I was going to get one of these, the back of the head is the best place – you don’t want a temporal or frontal one.

Oh, and now there’s a bomb (unexploded ammunition) in another patient and they’re evacuating the hospital while my hematoma twin has a scalp flap open on the table (oh, and his wife’s in labor upstairs). This guy’s definitely worse off than I am.

Occassionally, very rarely actually, I have a minor hit of, “geez. This is serious.” I watched the woman across the hall from me get fed because she can’t control her arms. This guy in the show is getting the operation I decided not to get. ‘Course he was having some trouble speaking, and probably other things were wrong, too. Many people who have that operation are having tumors removed.

“I have a guy with his brain exposed on the operating table and he will die if I close him up in this condition.” Grey’s Anatomy is probably not the best show to watch while you’re in the hospital.

9pm: I’m watching Family Guy because laughter is the best medicine, right? This show was a lot funnier before I had a brain bleed.

I notice that I’m not as quick at catching typos, which is probably because of the vision thing. But I’m really scared that my cognitive abilities have changed. What if I’m sitting with a client and I’m at a loss for words (something that would be very unusual, I assure you)? It’s sort of like being terribly sleep deprived, except when I can’t remember something or seem slower at some decision than usual, I wonder if it’s the meds, my mother-of-little-kids flakiness, or a brain injury.

To be continued, again...


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