Parkinson’s Deep Brain Stimulator Implant surgery
Part 4: The second surgery
April 17, 2008:
One week after having the deep brain stimulator implanted deep within the depths of my brain (shucks – I forgot to ask the neurosurgeon if he found the loose screw that connects by brain to my mouth), I was back in to have the battery pack installed. I figured that this surgery would be a cinch compared to the marathon eleven hours of the first surgery. Turns out that the second surgery is only easier for the doctors.
Hubby drove me in to the city to be at the hospital at 5:45, which meant leaving home at 4:00. No problem for me, that’s when the pain usually wakes me up anyway. We got there on time (see – I can be punctual sometimes!) and joined the line up for assembly line day surgery. I met Vivian again, with her colourful hat. This time she was there to put me under. No halo this time – Praise the Lord! Apparently some neurosurgeons do the first surgery in two steps as well, which means that that medical device from some evil medieval torture chamber has to be screwed onto the patient’s head twice. Another IV needle was torture enough for me!
The next thing I remember is the trip back to the surgical ward to sleep for the rest of the day. I have a vague recollection of lunch. I told one of the nurses my standard pain med joke: if pain killers don’t help, try ice cream. She was sweet enough to find me some ice cream, but I was so tired I had to get hubby to feed me. It’s been awhile since he had to spoon feed anyone, and I ended up falling asleep with a sticky face. After a short nap, I went back into restless/exhausted mode again.
The pain from restless legs is hard to describe, and codeine doesn't help much. It’s a spring fever of some sort – you spring back & forth, in bed and out of bed, it just hurts too much to stay still. It is a relentless pain, and I am sure it leads to insanity. I probably kept the whole ward awake with my endless pacing up and down the hallway. I know I kept my roommate awake with the constant bed adjusting (why is it that the more restless patients get the squeakiest beds?).
Around 5 in the morning, a nurse commented that I seemed awfully young to be in so much pain (I'm 42), and then I lost it. I started to cry like a homesick puppy. Then, to make matters worse, I knocked over my pill tray which held a week’s supply of meds while fumbling in the dark to find some Kleenex, so I had to call the nurses back, turn on the lights, and they swept the floor. They must have thought I was suicidal, since they took my pill tray away. I called home, woke up Hubby, and – sweet, sensitive man that he is - he put my sister in charge of waking up the Munchinettes for school, and he drove in to see me. He got there before breakfast. (If anyone would like to order my manual on “How to Train a Husband by Getting a Chronic Debilitating Disease” it will available in paperback soon – but I’m sure that you won’t want to try my method). We stayed long enough to see my doctor, apologize profusely to my roommate for keeping her up all night, and headed for home.
Hubby stopped for ice cream on the way home. Perhaps you would like a copy of my manual after all.