Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The days before surgery.

So I will be completely honest, I was a bad nurse...or bad patient. Maybe not, depending on how you look at it, but I did not look up anything before my surgery. Except for my surgeon, I read everything I could find about him, and he seemed pretty legit to me. But no googling brain tumors, crainiotomys, none of that. In fact the first time I thought about...actually even heard the word "crainiotomy" was when I called my supervisor at work to fill her in and she was the one who asked me if I was having a crainiotomy. I didn't really know how to answer her because I hadn't thought about it...but the answer of course was yes. That was the first and last time I thought about what was actually going to happen until after my surgery. I don't think I was denying it or avoiding it, it was more like "just do it" and be done. Excessive research on google because I don't have access to proper research sources wasn't going to change anything. As a nurse I knew and understood the language they were using, tests they were doing, I had confidence in the people I met and I had a general knowledge of what goes on in major surgery. For me that was enough. I was going to get this thing out of my head and was very happy to be getting rid of it. I was, and am, also extremely lucky to have had a tumor found in a spot that was deemed "easily accessible" by my surgeon and low risk as far as neurological effects. Now I don't think anyone should be "lucky" to have a tumor anywhere, but I understand that the placement of my particular tumor has made for a much better outcome.

That weekend my uncle was awesome enough to fly both my brothers down to DC to visit me so I hung out with them all weekend which also made me less likely to google anything. Luckily they are easily entertained because while the decadron makes it hard to sleep, the keppra made me extra sleepy and after two nights of not sleeping in the hospital, keppra was winning the sleep battle. They got entertained from my couch while I napped on and off. Actually, it was the first time I was present for an entire Carolina Basketball game viewing with Katie & Shannon...though I did sleep through most of it :-). We did go out for a few dinners though, brunch and a general wandering around the area, I just wasn't up for touring the museums and monuments which was fine with them.

They both left Sunday afternoon and I spent Sunday evening and part of Monday "preparing" in what I thought was the appropriate way. I did three weeks worth of laundry, made sure my cats had enough food and clean litter, and I made an attempt at cleaning my room. My surgeon had told me he estimated a 48 hour hospital stay but I knew things could come up and I wanted to make sure those little errands were done. I packed an overnight bag for myself complete with extra sweats and t-shirts, plenty of "Friends" episodes and my laptop. My parents arrived Monday afternoon and we all, with Katie, went out for dinner. We ended the night pretty early (though I think I still got to bed late) because I had to be at Hopkins at 5:45 for a pre-op MRI and it takes about an hour or a little more to get there. My 4am wake up call came way to soon!

Strangely enough, I was not nervous and despite my past history of severe anxiety over trivial things like erg tests and care plans, I had none. I think, for the first time in my life, I accepted that this was something I was not going to be able to control on my own and I was ok with that. I had trust in the hospital I was going to, in the team members I had met and yet to meet. I had more people than I can even imagine or possibly ever thank praying for me and sending good thoughts and vibes my way. I was going to be fine. I had a strong and supportive wind at my back bringing me through this.

If you hold on to the handle, she said, it's easier to maintain the illusion of control. 
But it's more fun if you just let the wind carry you 

- StoryPeople by Brian Andreas

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