The details of my surgery and beyond
It has been a long time since I posted here, but I try my best to neglect the simple task of writing. Twitter is getting a back burner too. Facebook and all its glory is only great with 3rd party games. Go figure! So I wrote a long post today instead!
Anyways, it has been almost 6 months since my surgery. You can say that I mostly recovered 2 weeks after my surgery, but it takes time to get back some things that were weakened by the tumor I had. Until now, there is no valid explanation of why I had the tumor and how many years it has been growing in me (I am assuming since my late teens or early 20s), but I am just glad it is out. I didn’t care what the consequences were, but I was grateful that it is out!
Some of you are wondering if this effected my work in any way, but it hasn’t. My sudden surgery time was a vacation were I could not be reached, and wanted to not think about computers. I was technology free when I was in the hospital.
Let me remember the details. I have a pretty good memory and I remember stuff that I want to remember. (I hope my story can help some one else in this situation.)
The day of the surgery, December 4, 2013
I wanted to be at the time oblivious to everything around me. I wanted to have basic knowledge of what I had and what I was supposed to do. Obviously, doctors knew more than me, and they had a workable solution to fix my problem. I had a 4 cm Acoustic Neuroma and I was told to take it out now. The MRI I did in October 2013 showed how big it was, and how it was pushing on my cerebellum and brain stem. It was effecting my balance nerves too because it was a tumor that grew from my inner ear. I wonder to this day how much more damage it can produce before it becomes fatal.
So, I arrived at the hospital that morning at 6 am. I spent about an hour and a half getting prepared. I wore a hospital gown, was hooked up to IV, and they did another MRI on me. After all that, the doctor came in to see how I was doing. He said he will drain the excess water in my head to my stomach. He has to make a little incision in my back for the tube. The tumor caused a cyst to form too in my head. Akh! He asked me when was the last time I ate, and marked me with a sharpie near my neck on my right side. I told him that I just wanted this whole thing over with a huge smile on my face. I wasn’t even drugged yet and I was excited. Maybe I like the unknown and it gives me a bit of hope.
5-10 minutes later, the anesthesiologist came, and told me what they will do to knock me out and numb my right side. She said something about a tube down my trachea, and a large needle in my neck. Come to think of it, it sounds kind of horrific.
Later, a nurse came in and introduced her self to me. She said that they are waiting for me now in the surgery room, and she will wheel me down there. I was laying down in the bed, and obviously I saw the sealing mostly. I wasn’t getting a proper tour of the hall way. 🙁
As I arrived to the surgery room, I saw so many pieces of equipment. Large pieces. The nurse told me to roll over to the left bed area. I saw then so many people in the room. Young people. Are they students? I didn’t know. I think that excitement I had with being in a new place got to me. It wasn’t fancy as I imagined a surgery room to be from seeing so many rooms on TV. Yet, all I was focusing on were the big round lights above me. I remembered those, and were the symbol that characterized a surgery room. I was laying down mesmerized by my surroundings and the anesthesiologist said I was the happiest patient she has ever seen. Not even 2 minutes passed, and I was knocked out.
Around 9 pm, I heard lots of noises. So many people talking and I could not comprehend anyone. I was in the ICU, and the anesthetics were fading now. My eyes barely open. After a minute or two, the voices were intelligible and I was told right away to raise my arms and answer questions. What? They wanted me to raise my arms? My left arm was fine. My right arm was in pain. I was told later that my right arm was in a weird position during the surgery and that’s why it hurts.
My throat was dry. I could not drink because I was told I wouldn’t be able to drink anything until the morning. Of all the suffering I had endured to that point, what was worse than having a dry throat and pain in your right arm?
Later, I was taken upstairs to the nuero-observation room. I was in the bed near the door. I was in pain. My throat was dry. I could not handle it. It’s surprising how much a person talks and complains by having a dry throat. I didn’t think the nurses liked me at that moment.
After my family came in to see me real quick, I felt strange all of a sudden. I think something was in me and wanted to come out. Around 11 pm, I just threw up lots of water. It came gushing out of my mouth and I wanted to cry. The nurse ran to me quickly to wipe me and make sure I don’t choke on the water. She said, “where did all this come from?”
Like I said earlier, I was near the door and the wall clock was at my direct angel. My eyes were wide open now and time was going by slowly. I felt the oxygen tubes in my nostrils and were annoying me. The nurse came by my bed side every 30 minutes to check my blood pressure and ask me questions. What’s my name. What’s the date? Where am I?
Then my eye quickly glanced at the clock. The nurse asked, “what’s today’s date?” I said, “It’s 12:05 am. December 5th now.”
Recovering, December 5, 2013
Why can’t I drink yet? Time was going so slow. My chest too was getting so hot. I felt my heart is going to dive out from my chest and roast. I raised my left arm and called the nurse. I told her my chest is so hot. She said I was given steroids for so long and that’s why I’m hot and breathing fast. They put steroids in me? Don’t athletes illegally use that? The nurse brought me a wet cloth and placed it on my forehead. That didn’t help. I placed the cloth on my chest and the coolness from it calmed me down.
As I said, time was slow. When you are waiting for one thing, time gets slower and slower. Around 3 am, I told the nurse that I can’t move my neck much. She said she will give me pain killers before it gets worse. She gave me a shot that really didn’t help much. I was determined to move my neck, and I spent my time moving my neck to the right and left.
I finally felt I was dozing off around 7 am. I kept waking up though because of the pain in my arm. Around 8 am, a group of doctors came and saw me. They asked me a bunch of questions and told me to raise my arms. They also saw my eye movements and pointed that I have astigmatism in my left eye. I was like great. What else can be wrong? My right ear hearing is completely gone now after surgery, and now my eyes.
A new nurse came, and she gave me water and a straw. I was in heaven! Few minutes later, breakfast came. I couldn’t eat, but that pudding and orange juice were calling my name. My surgeon then came by to examine me. I told him if I cover my left eye, I have double vision in my right eye. He said I have to go to the eye surgeon then.
Around 10 am, the physical therapist came, and she made me get out of bed. She wanted me to walk outside and hold the railing. I walked slowly for around 5-10 minutes, then I went back to sit on the bed. That walk was the end of my breakfast. I threw up on the floor. I started to cry. The nurse put more nausea medicine in my IV and I just laid down and wondered when will the pain in my arm go away and my motor skills become normal again.
Around 1 pm, the pain went up to my neck and I could not take it anymore. The nurse placed an ice pack on my neck. It was better than pain killers.
The day just slowly dragged on.. and it did till December 9th.
I was finally discharged from the hospital, and was given instructions to what to eat, how to walk, and what medication to take.
Anyways, all I can think of is taking the staples (stitches) out of my head, but I couldn’t do that till December 19. On December 19, what did I do? I got dressed, put a hat on, and drove my car to the family doctor to get the staples out of my head. I had an appointment later that day at the ENT doctor, and I drove all the way to the hospital. The resident doctor was shocked to know I had surgery 2 weeks ago. My facial movements were back to normal. My speech is back and no more slurring. Did I mention I drove there? I was labeled a star patient. It made my day. 😀
After the CT scan and MRI and seeing more doctors, the eye surgeon was the most excited one. In April, I saw him and he examined my eyes. He was like they are as good as new! No more swelling. I was excited. However, I knew my right eye is a bit worse now, and I needed a stronger prescription. I visited the Optometrist and he examined my eyes. My left eye is perfect. (I could have had perfect vision…) My right eye is a bit worse, but one contact lense is better than two!
Anyways, so far, so good. I can walk much better now. I still have issues with my right hand, especially grabbing things, but I guess it will get better eventually. Some things I can’t get back, but all that pressure in my head is gone now. 🙂