Saturday, April 15, 2017

How To Tell When You Need Brain Surgery

My friend Linda popped by the other day and we sat on the front porch in the sun and chitty-chatted. What was I up to?  Well, I was just trying to make a lasagna with skinny little slices of zucchini in place of the pasta. Oh? Did I use a mandoline? I didn't. I used a grater. And then you salted and sweated the zucchini? Why no I did not. I don't like to sweat anything. Ha ha! Well Linda's a great cook and we batted around a few more ideas about dinner and talked about the weather, which had just turned nice. I'm surprised you're not out in your garden on a day like this, I said to Linda.

Oh, she said. I'm not supposed to bend over at all because I just had brain surgery.

Let me just say right now that if you just had brain surgery and you do not lead with the information that you just had brain surgery, and instead you toss out that little tidbit twenty minutes in, it's definitely a sign you needed brain surgery.  If I were facing brain surgery, everyone on my Facebook page would know about it well in advance. I would collect hopes and prayers and secretly hold out for offers of baked goods. I would start out with a wry statement, preferably including a pun of some sort, designed to make me look upbeat and resigned in the face of fate. More posts would follow in the ensuing weeks, any of which would serve in the capacity of last words, in order to keep my impending brain surgery in the minds of all. The closer I got to my brain surgery, the more philosophical my posts would become, with an undercurrent of desperation detectable only by my closest friends. The second to last post would just be oh mommy oh mommy oh mommy followed by a brave and somewhat flippant statement demonstrating my cheerful non-belief in an afterlife and including, preferably, another pun, just in case I wouldn't be capable of coming up with one afterwards, and then as soon as it was over I'd be all over the internet whooping and hollering again. People on the other side of the planet would know I had brain surgery. Small woodland creatures would gossip about me amongst themselves.

Photos by Tom Fritz
Linda got brain surgery by dumb luck. She had the dumb luck of mixing up her prescription meds and took a mess of Conflagra when she thought she was hoovering Lixavixen, and she went all loopy. Her husband Pete was worried and hauled her into the ER and by the time they'd finished looking for the nonexistent stroke, they'd unearthed a brain aneurysm and a companion carotid embolism all plump and ready to pop. Well, there are all kinds of things that people say are not brain surgery, but brain surgery is not one of them. They kept her for days and did some head-drilling and some flipping-back of skull bits, but the actual brain surgery was conducted from an entry point in the crotch, even though she's not a Republican. They used wires and cameras and intuition and, in this case, Obamacare.

I've heard of this kind of thing before. Gal goes into the doctor complaining about tipping over too much and they go to town on her, looking for some neurological nightmare, and accidentally stumble over an arsenic-laced land mine of a tumor in her left butt cheek, and excavate it, and she comes out good as new and with a slimmer line.

So that's my advice. Fake a stroke and add in some symptoms that make no sense and go to the ER and let them have at you. They'll be entertained, you'll be thoroughly checked out, and it might not even cost much. Although I'd hurry.

48 comments:

  1. I don't know Linda, but I'm glad she was examined and the embolisms discovered before they went kablooie all through her brain.
    Going in through the crotch area is common too, they select a nice strong vein going in the right direction and send up whatever is needed; in my ex-husband's case, a shunt to keep open the blocked artery that had caused his heart attack, and while they were in there discovered a couple of other arteries in need of future attention.
    Modern medicine is a wonderful thing.
    I am glad the you would give us all plenty of warning if you were soon to be undergoing brain surgery.

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    1. I'll give you my address and bank account number too.

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    2. But, trumph said it'll be affordable and great, like the country......you sayin' he lied???

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  2. Man! If it were I in that situation, I would degenerate into an ohmommyohmommyohmommy panic from the get-go. I hate to leave things for the last minute. I'd be stopping strangers on the street and bending their ear about it, while they plot their escape while trying not to antagonize me, just in case I was psychotic. Whoo! She's a brave one!

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    1. She's sturdy all right. Pretty blase about the whole thing. Maybe that's another sign?

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  3. I'm with your friend Linda. I'm the type who phones up one of my kids to ask for a ride home from the hospital in a few days, because they say I can't drive myself home. Oh, because I'm having a bit of surgery done.

    I think it's because it makes it real to talk about it, so I just don't.

    Linda is probably just incredibly brave. I'm not.

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    1. Well of course she thought she was going to the ER to find a stroke, so she didn't end up having all that luxury of time to dwell on it.

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  4. My daughter had brain surgery for an acoustic neuroma, an always-non-malignant tumor. She's fine except for some hearing loss, but the whole thing was mind-numbingly scary. She was calm about it all, but I sure wasn't. She told us afterwards that she was only calm on the outside.
    "Don't need brain surgery," is my advice.

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  5. I have a bonifide brain tumor, a trigeminal schwannoma. I've worried about developing many thinga but a brain tumor wasn't one of them. They are 98% benign but I really don't want surgery, even if they go through my nose...ugh.

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    1. Gosh. Maybe especially if they go through your nose. I'd be using my nose for other things.

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  6. "The actual brain surgery was conducted from an entry point in the crotch, even though she's not a Republican." Best. Line. Ever!!

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    1. Ditto! I was feeling low before I read this post and laughed out loud at that line! Thank you, Murr!!!

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  7. "...surgery was conducted from an entry point in the crotch, even though she's not a Republican." You are funny.

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    1. We don't want to be drilling my head. No telling what would leak out.

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  8. You forgot the bit about writing a funny, wry, endearing obituary in case the surgery didn't pan out!

    Linda is a lucky woman, from a long-range kind of viewpoint.

    And your point about not having the luxury of time to worry about it? Right on. When my retina began to detach, the surgery was all over before I could work up a proper lather. Now every time I have the least flash or possibly-new floater, I'm terrified.

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    1. I think I put my obituary in Trousering Your Weasel! I wonder if it still holds up.

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  9. P.S. Love the surgery photos. Tell Dave he's supposed to shave your head before starting, though ...

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    1. Although it may SEEM like there's nothing I won't do for a blog photo...

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  10. Puts a root canal in a dark corner.

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    1. I've got nothing to compare any of it to except a colonoscopy and a...that which shall not be named.

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  11. I'm a little concerned about your surgeon, are you sure he is trained at this? Ha ha.

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    1. He just needed a little whiskey to settle his hands.

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    2. And who among us in the medical profession do not??

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  12. Dave looks like he's trepanning for comedy gold.

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  13. Last time they went into my head I asked if they heard the voices in there. The least they can do is let out the evil spirits.

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    1. I let my evil spirits out the other end.

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  14. Hooray for Linda. And her surgeons.
    The person I share my life with is a (sometimes dangerously so) nonchalent stoic.
    The current cat and I are not.

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    1. I have to give Tater some credit because we just came home from an all-day walk and discovered the door to her poop box has been closed all that time, but she seems to have held on.

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  15. That was quite a story your friend told! And your take on it was fabulous. I haven't been keeping up on my favorite blogs (yours, e.g.) and this post made me realize I better hop to it!

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    1. Lixavixen? Conflagra? I suspected you made this up but googled just to be sure. Yeah, you did. You're so darned clever!

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    2. Mad you look! Just you wait, though.

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    3. I looked up the drug names too! But when I got zip for Conflagra and was typing in LixaVIXEN I caught on. And in hindsight, Conflagra is, from what I can tell, a made up word based on conflagration. But was it a drug mix-up that did cause the ER run? Or ED--I was in the ED in September and if I said ER I was corrected. Emergency Department. Sigh. ;-)

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    4. ED? Oh that's just wrong. Shouldn't ever name that after a perfectly nice fellow.

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  16. Replies
    1. You should see him in his little white hat.

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  17. My sister-in-law deteriorated over a year waiting for her doctors with Kaiser (UGH!) to figure out what was wrong. Could not walk, use her arms, etc. My mother called my brother and said to have the doctors test her for Cushings. Turns out that is exactly what was wrong, and it had caused 2 tumors in her brain! Kaiser operated but in a few months she had 2 more, so they operated again. A few more months and she had two more! The doctors finally said they did not know how to take care of it and paid for her to go to UCLA Medical center. The doctors at UCLA said they would have diagnosed her Cushing's right away just by looking at her, then removed the 2 tumors and she never had a recurrence again!! They saved her life after she suffered for 2 years under Kaiser. Just had to rant...

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    1. They're famous for apocryphally removing the wrong kidney, but I likes 'em! Glad she is better.

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    2. I'm glad your sister-in-law FINALLY got the correct treatment. People I know who have Kaiser run hot or cold about their treatment. Nothing in between. Strange.

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  18. Wow. Please give Linda my congratulations! My dad's brain aneurysm wasn't kind to him or his formerly wry and wonderful personality, and nobody caught it before it blew. He survived it, but only because my mom sensed he was having an event; she was driving; she was literally a few hundred feet from the rescue squad; she U-turned into the ambulance bay and said, "Take him to St. Mary's please!" They told her nobody could have acted faster or better. Yay Ida.

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    1. Holy cow. I hope I'm like Ida, but I doubt it. I'd probably start doing donuts in the intersection and yelling MOMMYOHMOMMYOHMOMMY and--way worse--telling the stricken soul that it was probably indigestion. Some people are superb in a crisis, and maybe the rest of us can rise to the occasion if we need to. Not genetic, I hope?

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  19. good advice - I went to the emergency room to get a breathing treatment and left 5 days later with 2 stents! Who knew?

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