Brain surgery was not what I thought it would be.
As ridiculous as it sounds, going into it, I convinced myself it wouldn’t be a big deal. I know, I know. How does one actually convince themselves that brain surgery isn’t that big a deal?
I don’t rightly know, but believe me when I tell you: I almost managed to do it. I knew that if I started freaking out about the whole process, there would be no calming down, so I just strolled into the pre-operating room without a care in the world (or rather, I was wheeled into the pre-operating room on a little bed without a care in the world. This made me feel a little bit like royalty, with my fancy-bed-on-wheels and the fact that I didn’t have to wear underwear. I highly recommend you try it, especially if you can skip the part where they cut open your head.)
The last time I saw my surgeon before the operation, I looked at him, winked and said, “Hey doc – just take a little off the top, okay?”
And, bless him, he laughed. He laughed at my stupid joke before he cut open my skull and scraped off my tumor, which turned out to be not cancerous after all.
So naturally, I’m left wondering why it’s taken me so long to get back on my feet. I sort of figured I’d bounce back after it – that I’d wake up from the surgery with a bit of a headache, I’d pop some Tylenol and repart my hair and go back to life as it was and everything would be fine.
And while parts of that are true, that’s not really how it went. For one thing, I don’t really remember waking up from surgery. Movies and TV lead us astray in that respect. They make you think that anaesthesia is like falling asleep, and that afterwards you start stirring, adorably, in a room full of your family and friends, a little groggy but fine, and it’s always with good news.
The reality is that you sort of come to in bed somewhere, and you don’t even realize that you are coming to, or how long you’ve been out. And then you’re wheeled to another room, and another room, and it’s all in a sort of fog, and in my case, there is gauze stapled to your head.
Let’s recap: you sort of come to, but you are so drugged up that you don’t realize that you are coming to, and there is gauze STAPLED TO YOUR HEAD.
Good heavens, do not think about removing it. It’s stapled there for a reason, kids.
It took me another solid week to come out of the haze of drugs and memory loss caused by the surgery, during which I’ve been playing a game I like to call “Real or Hallucination?”
I asked my friend Sarah if she and her baby were in my ICU unit. Nope. That was my friend Marissa. Easy mistake. Sarah is blonde with blue eyes, and Marissa is Asian.
So naturally I got them confused, because they both have babies. Sarah in the ICU = hallucination.
I asked Rand if I had had a lengthy discussion with his mom about rental houses in Italy.
Nope. That would count as hallucination.
As did the vision I had of Rand and my friend Chrissy playing a ukelele concert for me in my hospital room (though this apparently did happen at home. I was so out of it, I literally had no idea where I was. The ICU, the operating room, the recovery room, my home all became one).
It’s pretty safe to assume that most things that happen in the aftermath of your surgery are hallucinations. So don’t get too angry at your husband for taking you out for a ride on his scooter so shortly after your brain surgery because THAT DID NOT HAPPEN and he will just get really confused if you yell at him about it.
And after about ten days or so, things start to make slightly more sense. You don’t particularly remember too much more, but you are able to tell what was a drug-induced fiction and what wasn’t.
Your husband, sitting next to your hospital bed the whole time, running to get you jello or pudding or chicken soup or AN ENTIRE FRIGGIN CHOCOLATE CAKE is decidedly real.
And then you pop some Tylenol, and repart your hair and you go back to life as it was. More or less.