Oy, an e-missive from the Patient Site of my healthcare conglomerate.414 pages of scientific links related to my condition. Hell, Chiari Malformation? if I have it no one has stopped by to tell me about it. Please do not reply to this message, as it is auto-generated.
My two other choices going forward with hydrocephalus? A medication that too often does no good. Or ‘minor brain surgery’ which implants a shunt that will drain excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) out from my brain, down a tube to my abdominal cavity (aka belly).
‘Minor brain surgery’ — I’ve heard this from so many voices by now — is my only chance. So let’s look at it. ‘We make s small hole in your cranium.’ The surgeon repeated what I’d read up and down the internet. Small hole.
When I woke up half my head was shaved and a sturdy S curve of stitches had been carved in my scalp. I remarked it looked like a baseball and a surgeon confided they call this the baseball stitch. To think I’m usually reassured by metaphor. Beauty, even recognizability, were of little concern to me. But I was tethered to a hospital bed that would sound an alarm if I tried getting up without assistance. Nurses would come pounding down the hall. Neurosurgery ward, recently fiddled-with craniums. Big falls bad news.
As I will reveal anon, I hallucinated for the first three days.
I learn later that my first stop was a step down unit. After a description I realize it’s where they ease your wacko balloon slowly from the ceiling.
I may have set the alarms off ten times that first night. My bladder had needs. Nurses exasperated. No one had prepped me for this role out of Cuckoo’s Nest.