The Brain Surgery Experience
The Waiting Is The Hardest Part
My wife and mother were getting pretty regular updates, but it must have been an agonizingly long day for them. When I finally started to regain consciousness I believe it was after 8pm that evening. I felt pretty good considering what I had been doing all day. I noticed the nurses kept running over to check the machines attached to me. They kept beeping every few minutes. Although I felt relatively relaxed I figured out that my pulse was soaring and I could even see the machine displaying my BPM. The numbers flashing were 150+. As a cyclist I’m very familiar with my heart rate, and numbers like that are what I see when climbing hills. It was the strangest feeling because I could see the number, and I could feel my heart throbbing, but again I felt pretty laid back. Eventually, a nurse told me it had to do with “bare receptors in the brain” acting up when they are exposed for a while. Whatever you say.
I was in this recovery room for quite a while, hours I believe. Apparently there was a full house in the Neurosurgery ICU. Then, finally, there was a vacancy. “Moving on up” Four nurses that were either out of shape or generally uncoordinated moved me into my bed. To be more precise, they kind of dumped me in it. I’m sure they were trying their best, but in addition to pulling all the lines hooked up to me the sudden landing hurt my weak shoulder and head hurt so bad I screamed. Oops. And the lines, one of those getting yanked was my catheter. I won’t say more about that other than at least the tearing of the tape off my leg first slowed it down some.
I was becoming more lucid. My head hurt, but shoulder hurt even worse. My clavicle, although it had a plate and some screws in it, hadn’t healed very much yet based on my x-rays. I wondered what they had done to me. I found out later that they have you strapped tightly to the operating table because they need move it around to correctly orient your head. In addition to the body straps they obviously need to secure your head. They use some sort of fixator that my doctor calls a “crown of thorns.” It’s basically a metal frame with some screws that press against your head. In my case I had a couple punctures on the back of my head and one left a pretty good scar.
(Final video of the dermoid cyst surgery.)