Emergency Brain Surgery

14 Sep


It really isn’t as bad as it sounds. Especially when you don’t know that it’s going to happen to you and you wake up completely oblivious after the fact.  I had fought the doctors long and hard against having the surgery, but my body made the final decision for me.  It seems that I had surgery on a Thursday morning (I say “it seems” because all I remember are Wednesday and Friday). I guess that was a pretty good excuse for missing the Hebrew exam I had the Monday afterward. All things considered, I would rather have been there to take the exam, but I wasn’t too concerned – I had the material down pretty well and thought I’d be able to get back to class quickly.

At any rate, after the surgery I was able to get up and walk around the hospital, and I was in a better cognitive state than most of the men in my ward. The man in the bed next to mine, who was a translator and who had forgotten all of his foreign languages, could only say, “I, I, I” and couldn’t move the left side of his body.  The man all the way on the other end of the room had been shot in the head, and the bullet was inoperable, so he was bed-bound and relied on a portable television with his own personal speakers for entertainment. The last man in our ward was very confused about where he was and what day it was, even though it had been explained to him several times. He kept thinking that he was in France, which I suppose was normal given that he was actually from France.  He kept trying to escape down the hall to the “kitchen”, insisting that his hospital bed was not his own.  The nurses finally had to call security to deal with him and find him a new room.

I had no trouble with the date – I read the New York Times online every day and kept up that way.  The nurses were required to ask us four times a day whether we knew the date and where we were, and I got a great opportunity to play a brilliant trick on them one night.  They had gone around asking all my other wardmates what day it was, and they had responded that it was the 31st.  I was the last person they came to, and the clock had just flipped to 12:01 am.  So when they asked me what day it was, I told them that it was the 1st.  They were quite concerned until I pointed out the time, and then we all had a good laugh.  You have to find a way to mess around with them a little bit – getting asked the date and time four times a day can begin to wear on your nerves.

So, nobody needed to worry about me.  I was decently clothed and moderately coherent. My head bandage and bruises just made me look like a rock star who’d had the heck beaten out of her. It was quite bruised and swollen, and my neck and ankle were pretty tender. But if my neck and my ankle were all I had to complain about after brain surgery, I guess that wasn’t so bad.


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