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The Chaos Mini-Series

Welcome to my chaotic life of FIVE small children and a traveling husband! This blog is actually a "work in progress" and serves as a loose outline for a humorous non-fiction book I strive to publish by the end of this calendar year. Each entry builds upon the one just prior to it so it is best to begin with Part I. This story begins just four short years ago when a tsunami of unfortunate, tragic and hectic events brutally pounded us one right after another. As my family and I endured and eventually overcame each wave of misfortune, we kept our heads (barely) above water and held high, eyes wide open and hearts on "stand by" as we witnessed new opportunities and blessings emerge from the CHAOS...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Send me into Orbit and Let´s Kick Ass! Part VI

Rise and shine everyone, its showtime! I wanted this dark invader out of my head already. I wanted my senses back. Wanted to walk and see and bend and eat and blink like a normal working body. I had become a robot made of flesh and bone. My transformation happened so gradually over a period of many months, that I hardly recognized all my deficits. Meanwhile, my body continuously struggled to cope by reorganizing, regrouping, and adapting as each sense began failing.

That morning we were off to an early start as we made our way across the city to the hospital. The crazy New York cabby was driving the Indianapolis 500 and I was ready to puke all over his fine vinyl seats. Not even upon telling him that I was pregnant and with a brain tumor, did he make an effort to slow down as he had us bouncing all around the back seat like toddlers in a jump house. So much for compassion.

Upon arriving to the hospital, we went straight for admissions to work out all the financial issues (kinks). As we finished with the heap of paperwork and having signed our lives away, we were escorted directly to the Neuro Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to our complete surprise. At that point I instantly lost all my freedom of mobility, albeit wobbly. I was ushered up to my room in a wheelchair and from minute one, was confined and bound by IVs, heart rate monitors, fetal monitors, and other in descript electrical apparatuses.

The head nurse of that unit explained to me that the neurosurgeon wanted me under close surveillance for four days prior to the operation. The attention I received prior to surgery was second to none. These people were so overly thorough that I was beginning to wonder if I really merited so much medical attention. Was I really so ill that all this was necessary?

Within four days of preparation, I had two ultrasounds performed on my abdomen, one on my legs, (for clotting tendencies I was told,) another MRI, every type of blood work and urine test imaginable, medical allergies tests, hearing tests, vision tests, throat swabs, metal cables stuck up my nose and down my throat to test my weakened vocal cords (this was my favorite, very pleasant feeling.) Additional tests were done regarding my tear duct performance (tears were shooting out of my left eye like a geyser), and measurements were taken to determine the amount of facial paralysis I had already endured. Oh, and I almost forgot the kidney and gastro crew; they had subjected me to an entire gamma of their own examinations.

Anyone who has ever gone through major surgery or has spent several nights in a hospital must know that it is the worst place to get any sleep. In my case, teams of doctors and hordes of residents were coming in by the half dozen with their nifty little clipboards asking me to perform the same God-forsaken dexterity, coordination and vision tests over and over again like some trained circus monkey. I just wanted to tell them to practice their new found knowledge on some other poor captive. I wanted a shred of privacy to have a conversation with a visitor, reflect upon my unknown fate, or urinate without the permission and witnessing of the entire staff unit.

Despite the sheer humiliation of having a team of medical personnel decide whether or not I could evacuate by myself, a few interesting and funny experiences did occur during those few memorable days pre-surgery. One of them really sticks out and to this day makes me hysterical just thinking about it.

Our unit was a lofty bunch, mostly women and mostly normal, very healthy, active and young-ish. Curiously, despite the fact that many of us never even caught a cold, we all had suddenly and inexplicably ¨come down with¨ these random unprecedented brain tumors. One post-op patient was especially friendly and she earned her bragging rights as she apparently got through her surgery like a champion. She was up and about the following day, walking around, chatting about her entire experience and trying to inspire all of us frightened lambs as we too awaited our turn under the knife.

She was really so gregarious and just before I met her I heard her yapping away to my neighbor in the bed next door. Suddenly, it’s my turn for a visit and in she walks with an entourage of family members. Upon seeing her for the first time after having listened to her voice for the past hour, I experienced severe cognitive dissonance. Her voice was a normal heavy New York accent and she sounded very educated and down to earth.

However, her face was another story. It was so tragically bruised and beaten that it looked something to the likes of Rocky Balboa at the end of the fight when he was defeated mercilessly by his Russian contender. She had her eyes so blackened that it was painful just to look at her. Her nose was pushed completely over to one side of her face; dried blood covered her scalp, ear and drip-dried mid-flight on her cheek. Her head was bandaged with so many layers of white gauze that her head was the size of Don King on an extra ¨big hair day¨.

Meanwhile there she stood, chatting away about how amazing she felt. Her husband, upon seeing all our squeamish reactions, casually mumbled under his breath that they had not allowed her to yet look in a mirror. You don’t say? Wonder what her reaction would be? The poor thing was as though running for mayor of the ward and prided herself as the new Poster Child for brain surgery and looked like a train wreck. How cruel of her family to let her out. She was scaring the living daylights out of all the patients by her beaten-up appearance.

To Be Continued...

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