There is an endless supply of residents, interns, and other assorted junior woodchucks in Chief Of Neurosurgery At Prestigious Hospitals entourage.
Apparently all of them met me at some point, assisted in surgery, or harrassed me in ICU.
Elfin Allergy Afflicted Redhead is the one I'll always recall, as she was the first head poker I encountered and sneezed through most of the exam. She also taught me how to play what would become my least favorite game, Touch Your Nose With Your Finger And Touch My Hand, No Faster, Now Switch Hands, Now Do It Again, closely followed by I'm Gonna Stick This Cotton Swab Down Your Throat, On Both Sides, And See How Quickly You Gag.
I saw her in ICU on day one..or two..or three...or maybe all, except I was so hallucinatory and stoned and close to stroke I can't be sure. I remember her hair, and remember she made me play TYNWYFATMHNFNSHSDIA, and I remember at some point thinking she sung me happy birthday, even though my birthday was in September.
I saw EAAR again on Stroke and Brain Trauma Recovery floor, on day three...or four..or five..or maybe all, but I was so stoned and so tired I can't be sure. I remember she pulled the dressing off my head and made me play IGSTCSDYTOBSASHQYG.
My second post op visit to CONAPH and his woodchucks I met The Intern Who Looks Like The Nasty Friend From Lucky Louie But Cuter, who apparently assisted in surgery, or came in during the second half of the 6 hours, or was involved in bolting me to the table, but I was so tired and so sore I couldn't be sure. I remember him from ICU on day two..or three, and making me play the Follow My Finger With Your Eyes And Tell Me How Googly It All Is. I know I told him when my heart beat, I could see it in my eyes, and he told me " Don't know what to tell you about that".
My third post op visit I met again Asshat Woodchuck, Whom I Recalled Meeting Right Before Surgery, Who Took That Time To Inform Me He'd Been The One To See Me In September During The Neanderthal Episode, And Oops His Bad, He'd Discharged Me. I had no recollection of him being the one who made me play Recite The Presidents Backwards, but I did recall the convo AWWIRMRBSWTTTTIMHBTOTSMISDTNEAOHBHDM had with me right before the Versed kicked in, and I'd asked him as he checked my incision if he'd regained any of his cred after his misdiagnosis.
Today was my four month check up with CONAPH and the 'chucks. I saw TIWLLTNFFLLBC again, and he asked if I remembered him. Sure, I said. You assisted or rechecked or helped diagnose or something ( yes, I have mad, mad game...). We played TYNWYFATMHNFNSHSDIA and IGSTCSDYTOBSASHQYG and his fave, FMFWYEATMHGIAI.
I told him about my kind of returning owie headaches and my definitley numb and misbehaving left arm and he nodded and told me progress with this was not measured in weeks or a month, but months to years. My syrinx was maybe around, or maybe reducing, and my arm would maybe get less numb, or maybe stay that way, because maybe the damage was permanent.
He reiterated the surgery was major, the problem had been dire, and that I had ants in my pants.
My post surgery scans had all looked like my brain liked it's new home, with the floor to ceiling window, and that as long as Syringomyelia had tacked on an addition of plywood and sheet metal and was no longer making her 15 kids sleep 4 to a twin bed, that this was success, and he couldn't call Social Services on her butt because she was cooperating. CONAPH likes to play conservatively, and generally follows the addage that a child does best when remaining in it's own home, so wouldn't be pursuing further charges against Ms Syrinx until 6 months hence, which should be due time for her to get a Section 8 voucher and move the brood to better surroundings.
CONAPH then came in, with angels heralding his arrival, like they do, and a sudden blue aura surrounding his head, like it does, and I grinned like a dweeb, like I do, because i have a mad crush on him for not killing me on the operating table and saving me in general from bunny stomping pain and future paralysis.
CONAPH told me again that success was not measured in weeks or a month, blah blah blah, and that at 4 months things were no longer worse, but far from better, and I'd have to coast along at this crest of crap for a good many more months before I started to feel fixed. Because this was major, the problem had been dire, and I had ants in my pants.
I came out today with a new understanding of why some people think it's funny to say when you have a headache, cure it by dropping a bowling ball on your foot. And I hate that damn joke with a passion now. I know, rationally, it's all good, and it's getting better, and it will continue. But I also know that in fixing the REALLY BIG SHIT they had to give me ALMOST BIG SHIT which frankly, right now, feels worse than the REALLY BIG SHIT, which at least only felt godawful a few times a month and still gave me total range of motion in my shoulders and neck and the ability to have pasta without wanting to curl up in the fetal position and die afterwards and the ability to lift 50 pound bags of flour and a lovely, scar free neck.
So here I am, riding the crest of the wave, which started with pain beyond pain, and rose to pain beyond pain, and now has leveled off. And I'll stay on this wave until we get nearer the shore, not in weeks or a month but in months and a year. And I'll hurry up and wait, and I'll try and exterminate the pants ants, and I'll remind myself every day that the bowling ball that crushed my foot 4 months ago and my shoulders once like Atlas now shrunken and my neck with crap range of motion and my pasta difficult to consume and my really rockin mad street cred scar is better, so much better, than what would have happened had CONAPH and The 'Chucks not done this at all.
I am greatful, every day, for the hole in my skull. But every day, I hate it, too.