The Brain Surgery Experience
Living In The Limelight
The next day I got my bandages off while an audience of brain surgeon wannabes watched. They looked at me like I was just another specimen in some med student classroom. I didn’t care. They were learning something, and I could finally cool off with that temporary turban removed. I don’t think I got a look at my head until I was home. They put some gauze pads over the incision and covered that with a sort of mesh do-rag.
Prior to that though I had to have an early morning CT (computed tomography) scan. I don’t remember much about it other than the stretcher ride to get the scan was brutal. I was feeling the pain completely by this point and I was also feeling every little bump. I can’t remember if I got the contrast dye (gadolinium), but I do remember it being over quickly. At some point my doctor mentioned that everything looked good, but that something had interfered with the view of the colloid cyst.
All day I had a nosebleed. The doctor had mentioned that this might happen as a result of the work around the perforated area of my skull. The plan was to patch it, but sometimes there are leaks and they usually heal. Fortunately, that’s how it was in my case. Within a day or two it was mostly gone.
My surgery was on a Wednesday morning. Between the hourly check-ups and my elderly neighbor’s constant moaning or yelling I wasn’t able to rest at all. Finally, on Friday night they gave me my own room. All things considered I felt great the next morning, Saturday. Someone, maybe a nurse, told me that before I could leave I had to able to walk two laps of the ICU I was in. As soon as my father got there I told him “get my robe and let’s do some laps.” We knocked them out without too much effort and spread the word. “I’m redtogo, y’all.”
They had been giving me a couple different narcotics for pain, but when I checked out I told the doctor I only needed regular Tylenol. Maybe prescription strength so I only had to take one pill, but the regular stuff without codeine. The narcotic stuff just made me dizzy or sleepy without much actual pain relief. They also gave me a prescription for the anti-seizure drug, Dilantin. I was told the risk of seizure was pretty low, and this was just as a precaution for a couple months. I found out later that drug leaves you with some serious cottonmouth and I was glad to get done with it. Other than that I didn’t notice anything, which I suppose is the point of taking it.