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.

 

Post gauze-removal.

-

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.

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Comments (87)

  1. 1
    Courtney says:

    That, my friend, was the first post of yours I’ve ever seen without a kissy face picture. Or am I hallucinating? ;-)

    Wonderful to hear that the tumor is benign. Crazy to hear how recovery goes. Glad to hear that you’re going to be okay. Take care of yourself!

  2. 2
    Meg B says:

    Thank goodness that bastard Steve wasn’t cancerous. Glad you’re recovering. Too bad recovery isn’t like the movies. What a let down. I’m doubly glad you have a fabulous husband to spoil you rotten. Hopefully you ate the ENTIRE chocolate cake.

  3. 3
    Debra says:

    I am so glad that everything went well, and that Steve was an non-cancerous pain in the butt (or head). I hope you recover quickly.

  4. 4
    kokopuff says:

    I’m so happy Steve wasn’t cancerous. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. (You need to write a book. When you’re feeling better, of course. But your writing just calls out for a longer helping.)

  5. 5
    Penny says:

    Welcome back. :)

  6. 6
    Deanna says:

    She’s BACK, Y’ALL. Glad you booted that asshole Steve out the door.

  7. 7
    Marty says:

    Y’all’re still adorable.

    And if I ever have brain surgery, I’m totally borrowing Rand. For the chocolate cake, of course.

  8. 8
    Mark says:

    Did I suddenly get better looking? I sincerely hope so and that it is not a hallucination. In any event I am glad you are getting back on your feet so to speak.

  9. 9
    Diana says:

    Have a great recovery! Hope you feel better soon. I always enjoy reading your blog. :)

  10. 10
    Melanie says:

    Yay for non-cancerous! I was laughing all the way through your hallucinations or not section. I was on a high dose of IV Dilaudid when I had acute pancreatitis. That stuff is a hell of a drug, lemme tell ya. I can relate to the, “Did ______ happen?” It was very strange indeed.

  11. 11

    Oh G! So glad you’re back. I can’t imagine how frustrating and a bit scary that recovery period must have been. I’ve never been through anything like that so I can’t even imagine. You are such a strong lady. Way to go!! <3 you!!!

  12. 12
    Jessica says:

    Even with a “slight-drug-induced haze,” your writing is awesome. Glad everything turned out okay and that you got a chocolate cake in the bargain.

  13. 13
    HollyFromHomer says:

    YAY! You rock.

  14. 14
    Sha Menz says:

    and all’s (very nearly) right with the world!

    Take it slow & take care of Geraldine please :)

  15. 15
    Angela K. says:

    Rand is an angel – Steve is an a$$hat – you are remarkable! Welcome back to reality – we missed you!

  16. 16
    TheOtherLisa says:

    I’m so very glad for your doctor’s skills and the fact that you have Rand and chocolate cakes. The world would be less without you in it.

    Feel better G. And hug Rand for me, because he loves you so much.

  17. 17
    Gary Arndt says:

    It’s brain surgery. It’s not rocket science!

    Seriously, I’m glad things weren’t any worse.

  18. 18
    Joy says:

    I’ve only been reading you for a little bit, but you make me laugh. So glad to hear you’re okay.

  19. 19
    kate says:

    Wow. I feel soooo much better now. Not sure how I made this about me, but I am really glad you’re back :)

  20. 20

    I’m glad your back. And i think i’m love with you guys. You’re the best couple! Stay strong!

  21. 21

    I’m so happy you’re back! The Internet has been boring in your absence. NOT A HALLUCINATION.

    Also, have you seen Martha Marcy May Marlene? Oddly enough, my mom and I watched it last night, and it reminds me of this post in the “is it real or isn’t?”

  22. 22
    Taryn says:

    You didn’t put yourself through all of this just for chocolate cake, did you?

    So very happy for you that the news was good!

  23. 23
    Laura says:

    “Real or not real?” Sounds like the Hunger Games! … Although maybe more fun, since your brain wasn’t reprogrammed by an evil government agency.

    I’m glad you’re doing well. I found your blog a few months ago, and I’m addicted. I’ve missed your posts!

  24. 24
    Janet T says:

    Welcome back- you were greatly missed!

    will you please share your secret of looking beautiful right after major surgery? I can’t manage to look that good when I wake up in the morning, let alone in a hospital bed. just another one of your amazing feats I guess.

    So glad you are on the road to recovery and that you did not lose any of your humor (and/or snarkiness)

  25. 25
    SarahC says:

    Hi.

    I read your posts at work, or “work”. They make my day. I was so sad to hear about Steve and am very happy to hear that he was as non-dangerous as his name suggests. Honestly, does anyone know a Steve who’s a badass? I do not, and therefore assumed/hoped that because of this leap of logic, he would be benign. Good thing you didn’t name it Vance, or Xander, or Ace or anything. Then you’d be screwed.

    Seriously though, I’m so happy that this wasn’t serious and that you are recovering.

    Sarah

  26. 26
    Marsha says:

    Yay! Glad you made it through surgery and are well on the road to recovery. Turns out neither Steve nor surgery affected your sense of humor after all…

  27. 27
    Dawn Shepard says:

    Yah! Glad to hear you are feeling better :)

  28. 28
    Lisa Sinicki says:

    HI there. I’m a new reader. Looks like I stumbled (surfed?) onto you at a very strange time. Get well soon. I’m looking forward to all of your new adventures.

  29. 29
    Jonny Miller says:

    “Just take a little off the top…” I never would have previously considered brain surgery to be a subject ripe for comedy…how wrong I was ;) Phenomenal news though – take it easy now you’re back in the real world!

    Also is there some kind of growing underground ukulele army in Seattle – everyone seems to have them up there – its awesome!

  30. 30

    Welcome back! Glad to hear that Steve was not cancerous (he was still a jerk). Take care of yourself and get well soon.

  31. 31
    Nancy Bestor says:

    I have been checking your site EVERY DAY, wondering when you would post again, and reading your husband’s tweets, which are mostly foreign to me, to try and get some clue as to your progress. So glad you are back-ish. Get better.

  32. 32
    Celeste says:

    It’s not hard to do but still. Damn you for making me cry!

    Take care, love. You have been very sorely missed. xo

  33. 33
    Theresa says:

    I’ve been thinking alot about you & wondering how things were going! So glad you are up & about! Happy you’re back & almost ready to seek out new cupcake sources!

  34. 34

    As a silent fan (until this moment) of your blog, I am overjoyed to hear your surgery went as well as could be expected. I have been content reading your blog, watching your life from a distance and laughing at your stories, but until this last post of yours I had not felt the need to speak up.
    Losing control of your life is not an easy thing to come to terms with, but tenacious people have a way of dealing with that lack of control that allows them to get through tough times with a new found strength and resolve (a good sense of humor helps too!).
    I discovered your blog a some point during the last 14 months, while I have been recovering from a life changing event of my own.
    After my first major surgery I was given my cell phone back at some point and I proceeded to call my worried family. Apparently I spoke with my sister and we laughed and joked about the days events and how I ended up in the hospital. I have no recollection of this event, but my sister delights in telling others about it.
    After that experience I began to request to the nursing staff that they no longer allow me to use my cell phone until I had been conscious and responsive for at least an hour after my remaining surgeries.
    Waking up from surgery is one of the worst experiences one can go through. You are hazy from the anesthesia, disoriented from the white walled sterile environment and annoyed by the hustle and bustle of the staff (or the lack of attention you are getting from them).
    You are very fortunate to have a good and loving person by your side through this experience and soon enough you will be back to your new improved tumor free self.
    In the mean time; keep writing, keep laughing and every now and again…it is ok to cry.

  35. 35
    Bruce says:

    I know what you mean about being in and out during recovery and I was on a morphine drip for a week. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

    Welcome back.

  36. 36
    Meagan says:

    So happy to have you back and glad your recovering well!! As many others did, I checked our blog every day to see if there was a new post, so this has made my Monday!! :)

  37. 37
    Steve says:

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better. It was nothing personal, honest — it’s just how I roll.

  38. 38
    Jerry says:

    Wonderful news.

  39. 39
    Cheryl says:

    Such a relief to learn you are okay, Geraldine! And that they did not remove your sense of humor! Best wishes for a speedy recovery from a devoted reader.

  40. 40
    Kristi says:

    I had to laugh at the no kissy picture comment :) I think that might be true! You might have to edit this post just to keep up the kissy face pics.

    Other than that, YAY! So glad that you posted. I have been stalking your Twitter account to make sure you were doing okay.

  41. 41
    Katie Hammel says:

    I’m so happy to hear you are feeling better and that Steve turned out to be the lazy, benign, loser we all knew he was! And I hope your recovery is aided by copious amounts of chocolate cake :-)

  42. 42
    Ruth says:

    Welcome back! Blessings to you and Rand. You have become my favorite couple on the internet and your stories always bring a smile. Take care.

  43. 43
    CheezyK says:

    Take care … and take your time, I’m sure I speak for all when I say we’d prefer a healthy Everywhereist to a busy one.

  44. 44
    Andi says:

    Glad you’re feeling better! I too have been stalking yours and Rand’s twitter to hear news of your surgery/recovery. This Monday was made better by seeing a post from you! :)
    Now go eat a cupcake!

  45. 45
    cailin says:

    Great news. Glad to hear you are doing better now. I’ve not had brain surgery but have had a few surgeries with anaesthesia and have definitely had some crazy hallucinations and weird memory loss. Definitely not like the movies.

  46. 46
    Melissa says:

    WELCOME BACK!!! 8*)

    You don’t know me, but I missed you something fierce!! I have not had ONE laugh that started at my toes since you’ve been gone!! 8*)

    Someone mentioned no kissy pic, but I see Rand with BOTH of his hands on you. I think that is sweeter than a make-out shot…it says SO MUCH about his love for you!! 8*)

    Welcome back!!! 8*)

  47. 47

    So happy to read that you are on the bumpy road to recovery! I think there may be a book idea in those hallucinations.

  48. 48
    Lynda says:

    I’m so happy to hear that you are back and that everything went well. Not reading your blog was like living without caffeine – painful. Welcome back!!

  49. 49
    Laura M says:

    So happy to see this today! Glad you’re on the mend, hallucinations aside.

    Does this mean I can be nice to the Steve’s in my life again now?

    • 49.1
      Everywhereist says:

      Especially since you have a pretty great Steve in your life. :) I can’t believe I forgot about him when I was going through the list of Steves I knew.

  50. 50
    Bridgie1013 says:

    So glad you are coming back! Praying that your recovery is swift and filled with lots of cupcakes.

  51. 51
    Suzanne says:

    Yeay! I was telling my guy your story yesterday, so we re-read the original Steve post, and he said “Damn, she’s funny. Or is it Steve that’s funny?!?”
    We’re both really thankful that you’re the funny one and Steve is gone.
    Praying for a quick and relaxing recovery!

  52. 52
    Bri says:

    Yay! You’re back! While I understand that you don’t know me, and I really don’t know you, I was still quite worried. Glad to read that things are getting better, and I look forward to your continuing adventures.

    PS – Sorry about the hallucinations. When my grandmother was in ICU she dreamt that she was in a row boat for a week while I swam laps nearby. When she finally returned to “normal” all she could ask me (continually) was about how tired my arms must have been… Drugs are good. Welcome back.

  53. 53
    Corinne says:

    I am so glad reading your latest post! Best wishes for a very fast recovery. I cannot wait to read about your next trip.

  54. 54
    Dave says:

    A comfy bed on wheels, carrying a woman who’s gone commando, followed by her ukelele playing husband.

    The world, back to the way it should be.

    Glad you’re on the mend.

  55. 55
    Michelle says:

    Yay! You’re back and that’s great news that Steve is gone. I’ve had brain surgery in the past for a cyst and it does take a little while to bounce back.

  56. 56
    Ann says:

    Rand is a sweetie, and you are awesome. Love your sense of humor. I’m so glad Steve wasn’t cancerous and you are doing better. Best wishes to you!

  57. 57
    GreenWyvern says:

    A friend who’s a professional swimming coach told me that after a swimmer has a general anesthetic – even for something totally unrelated to his performance, like having wisdom teeth out – it takes about 6 months for his performance to get back to its previous level. And these are super-fit young swimmers, and a short routine operation.

    A general anesthetic is tough on the body, not to mention the effects of the surgery and the drugs. So take it easy, take all the rest you need and bounce back quickly!

  58. 58
    Ian Castillo says:

    Best news I’ve had all month :)

  59. 59
    Melina Savi says:

    Glad you’re ok! Cheers from Brazil!

  60. 60
    Judy says:

    Happy to see you’re back and the forecast is clear. All the best to you, Rand and your families.

  61. 61
    cinnamon says:

    ah yes i recall that post-op haze. those medical-grade painkillers are really something. so when are you hitting the stand-up circuit? you are one funny muthaf%*a! best wishes and hugs.

  62. 62
    Iain says:

    Glad all went as well as it could. Staples sound nasty. Hope you had to endure as little pain as possible and good to see you are making progress in your recovery.

    Better times ahead, no doubt! All the best.

  63. 63
    Liz says:

    phew! Glad everything went well and Steve went on his way quietly. I relate to those bizarre post op experiences having had surgery recently, I was so out of it when the surgeon came to see me afterwards I had vague memories of thanking him repeatedly and pitifully yet absolutely no recollection whatsoever of what he said to me… Rest up and you’ll recover so much quicker x

  64. 64
    CatCatAttack says:

    Hallucinating, not as much fun as you think it will be.

  65. 65
    Dan says:

    Good to see you back Geraldine. You are a brave person. Love your post…I see that you haven’t the touch.

    I can imagine how it must have been for Rand, as unfortunately, I too have been in similar situation (actually more than once). It’s hard to describe those feelings. I am sure your love will blossom to a higher level.

    All the very best to you and Rand.

  66. 66
    Andrea says:

    I’m so glad to hear you’re back! And I’m glad you brought a little truth to the whole post-op thing. Best of luck with your continued recovery.

    On a side note, I’m glad they didn’t cut out the sarcasm part of your brain. :)

  67. 67
    Jessi says:

    I’ve been reading along quietly for a while now. I just wanted to stop by and say I’m glad you’re ok and the surgery went well! I’ve been sending positive vibes from Maine (maybe those contributed to the hallucinations? if so I’m sorry). Take care!

  68. 68
    Missy says:

    So happy to see you are okay! Wish you a speedy continued recovery and happy travelling. I just came across your website about a week before you discovered “steve” and I am so glad you are back.

  69. 69
    L says:

    I had brain surgery 3.5 years ago. Mine was on my left frontal lobe to remove a vascular defect that had hemorrhaged. I don’t think I had any hallucinations but there are chunks of time that I don’t remember due to seizures and whatever drugs they gave me. But I do remember that my anesthesiologist was super cute and I think the last thing I said to him was “You’re great, oh wow, I feel like I’m drunk!”

    Anyway, I’ve been quietly reading your blog for awhile and am really glad you’re recovering and writing. I’m looking forward to more updates.Take care!

  70. 70
    Anne Marie says:

    I’m so glad to see you back posting and that you are slowly recovering. Be kind to yourself. It’s going to take your body a while to process everything and as much as you want to just jump back in to normal life, you have to give yourself permission to just take it day by day. I’m also so glad to hear that it wasn’t cancer. What sweet and happy news. I wish you and Rand all the best as you continue to recover. Take care.

  71. 71
    Josima Luchsinger says:

    Yay! So glad you’re back! And healthy! Yay! Rest, sleep, cuddle and eat lots of cupcakes!

  72. 72
    Lori says:

    I’ve been watching my blog feed – waiting for your return post – and was thrilled today to see that you’re back! Been thinking of you and your husband. Thrilled it’s not cancerous! Take care of yourself. We readers are counting on it! :-)
    lori

  73. 73
    JoAnna says:

    Welcome back Geraldine! Glad it’s just you and not you and Steve anymore. Feel better in the weeks to come!

  74. 74
    Xtina says:

    So glad that you are back and recovering (without Steve!)!! Hope you have a quick recovery! :)

  75. 75
    kristen says:

    hi there….when i happened to be coming out of a coma…they asked “how many fingers am i holding up?”…i said “you funny idiots…why don’t you just put up both hands…they’re bigger….then i can say two…..”
    seriously….welcome back to clearing cognitive existence….my one crystal clear memory in that coma…who i named babette i might mention….was a HUGE WONDERFUL RED GUITAR…if it had stayed there…it would have been a fine memory….except for that damn highway that was running through it…..i don’t want to talk about it….glad you’re back in the land of wellness babe…..
    you entertain me on a regular basis…..kristen

  76. 76
    Jelena says:

    Great to have you back! :)

  77. 77

    Yay, so glad that you are feeling a bit better, and that the tumor wasn’t cancerous. Good riddance to Steve!

  78. 78
    Sammi says:

    Glad to hear you’re recovering; slow and steady wins the race remember :)

    you look great, by the way, like you’re recovering well too X

  79. 79
    M Hall says:

    Wishing you all the best for a speedy recovery!

  80. 80
    Jeff Sliger says:

    Glad your sense of humor and irony didn’t get removed.
    I remember waiting for a surgery to begin, although not on my head (sadly nothing of interest there) and listening to the doctor discuss the details of the operation with the small crowd of people gathered around me. There seemed to be no rush, everyone was busy playing with utensils and chatting as if I was just a floral center piece and dinner would be served shortly.
    After a while I began to feel as if the conversations were dying down and perhaps the carving was about to begin so I thought now would be a good time to risk interrupting, “Hey doc?”
    “Yes?”
    “Can you do me a favor?”
    “What would it be?”
    “Could you wait until I’m out to start? Operations make me nauseous.”
    “Sure,” he said and then turned to one of the other guests and said, “knock him out.”

    Honestly, I wish you nothing but happy memories and speedy recovery. Did they ever figure out your headaches?

  81. 81
    Prajakta says:

    Welcome back! Very, very glad to hear that it was non-malignant. You are too good to have such a things. Take good care.

  82. 82
    Hannah says:

    You never fail to blow me away lady. You are truly an inspiration and I wish you the very best of everything – plus some cupcakes thrown in for good measure. Stay well xxx

  83. 83

    Welcome back. Glad Steve has got the heave ho. And glad your sense of humour is still in tact! Glad to have you back in blogging land.

  84. 84
    jeff says:

    Wonderful update. Just found you of a tweet #btsm and sending a boatload of good mojo and positive vibes. You are inspiring many keep on doing !!

  85. 85
    Krishanu says:

    Real glad to hear that things are on the mend! You rock!

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