…are done. I am through the worst of it. And I’m OK.
So, the story: as you may recall, they were only able to implant me on the left side the first time. The week before the third surgery, I went in for a test run with the implant on the left side. The results were not so good–side effects at low voltages. Also Doctor Bakay reviewed the position of the electrode, and felt it was off by a bit, they decided that as long as they were going to be visiting the neighborhood of my brain, why not stop in on the left side?
All fine. Easier done now than later.
So I go in for the third procedure, implanting me on the right side. The first medical doctor who does anything to you in a procedure like this is the anesthesiologist. There’s this guy, a med student (Rush is a teaching hospital). I roll with it: he seems to know what he’s doing. At some point you have to get used to doctors younger than you, right? I mean, he’s fresh-faced, but he’s not a child.
He inserts the IV. He starts some of the anesthesia. I’m feeling pretty easy, but I’m not knocked out yet. He puts me in the halo, which is weird–not painful, but it’s odd feeling your skull pushed out of shape. Presumably they MRI me, again–by then I was under.
I wake up in the OR, with them poking around in my brain, first on the right, then back on the left, Dr. Verhagen manipulating me, more static, yada yada. I was comfortable until the end.
A few things happened around that time:
The familiar pain of the halo points started to come back. Oddly, it was the points in the front that seemed to bother me most this time;
Later they started stapling my scalp back together. Pulling it and stapling it together. While I was awake. Quite painfully. This was not how it went last time. At one point I asked ‘Why do I need to be awake for this?’ As in, give me a damn general already.
They gave me a local at that point, and explained that they couldn’t give me a general anesthetic. I think it was because they were switching to the left side.
At some point, they finished up there, and started stapling my scalp together in earnest. Again, quite painful. They sedated me–which is not the same thing as a general anesthetic. Their words: ‘You’ll feel it but you won’t care.’ Well, I did, quite a lot, in fact.
I made my displeasure apparent, but they kept trying to reassure me it was almost over. I don’t recall how long this went on–it certainly seemed long. It was not unbearable, but it wasn’t fun either. I had been under for this part in the previous surgery.
It was so bad, I did a bit of wrestling with the idea of a lawsuit. It’s a tricky thing–I’m a person who could easily and profitably abuse the legal system in this country. I’ve given it some thought–could be a pretty nice lifestyle. But it just seems wrong.
And this case–well, it’s close, but it really does seem to fall in-no-harm-no-foul territory. As awful as the experience was, I’m fine now. No evident injury… so I’m letting it go.
Anyway, went through that, got the usual excellent care from the nursing staff at Rush, went through the fourth surgery, to implant the battery on the right side. (Actually they went back and reimplanted a new battery on the left, too–something about wires not meeting.)
And I’m back at my parent’s place again. Getting a little stir crazy. Also a little weepy, similar to what I experienced before. Though with an edge of justification–something else to deal with.
I want to go back to my place soon. I want these damn staples out of my scalp! My appointment to get them pulled is next Tuesday. They’re tighter-spaced than they were before, and they stick out more, and more crookedly. And there are more of them… I have a row across the top of my head and a row behind and above each of my ears.
At least it’s still an even job–should heal well, probably better than I had expected from the previous surgery. I’ll have what looks like an incipient horn on the left side. On the right it should be reasonably smooth. Nothing you would notice if I didn’t point it out.
They finally turn the damn things on Friday, the 21st.