I have given myself adequate time. It’s been almost two months since I went under the knife, and the results couldn’t be more of a mixed bag. I’ve gone from highs in realizing that my tremor may finally be under control, to depths-of-despair wailing because the surgery, as predicted, brings out all my bad habits. I have much ground to cover, so forgive me if this is a lengthy one, but first and foremost:
Rest in peace, Christopher Reimer. Though our meetings were limited to the odd-Stampede BBQ here, or the after work drinks your sister, Nikki, and I had there…needless to say our face-time was limited. But in the 2 or 3 years that we got to know each other, Nikki, I discovered, had a wildly perceptive sense about her. It manifests itself in her work which I implore you to have a look at. I can’t imagine what she’s feeling right now – my sisters and my mother are my best friends, and to lose one of them would be catastrophic. Chris died in his sleep; he suffered from a heart condition, and it decided to take him February 21st. He was 26 years old. Please keep Nikki and her family in your thoughts as they attempt to deal.
All this suffering is tempered by me, at least a bit – I have felt the stirrings of a new lease on life; preliminary results are looking optimistic. Anyone who has been following my status updates on Crackbook has seen the incredible results – I did post a short video of me drinking a cup of coffee without a straw; this, as expected, did not last. As I continue to heal and the edema, or swelling, goes down, the Stimulator (the pace-maker-like device I now have routed firmly in my chest) needs to be adjusted. This is accomplished painlessly and non-invasively; a “wand” is placed on top of the stimulator, over my skin and clothing, and wirelessly adjusts the voltage via telemetry. I am now forced to carry that stimulator wand with me everywhere I go to make certain that the stimulator doesn’t get turned off by some random electrical field.
I was very much awake through day 1 of the surgery. Just like that, I was being rolled into the OR. The interns, the nurses, Dr. Sadikot, et.al assembled, and they asked me: “are you sure you want to go ahead with the operation?” And in my most vulnerable moment, I smiled. And said “I asked you all to be here today, so thank you; yes, let’s do it..” The experience was surreal. I didn’t get to do much watching, but once Dr. Sadikot began the stimulation, I felt pins and needles through my entire right side! It was truly astounding; I felt pins and needles throughout my legs, which have not had much sensation since 18 months after my diagnosis, circa November 2009. He then proceeded to perform some stimulation, calling out the number of volts so that it could be recorded along with my reaction to the various settings he programmed.
It was approximately 5 hours later that the back of my head was being stapled shut with a bone-crunching “thunk”. I don’t remember much more than that of the surgery, but I do remember Dr. Sadikot asking for four or five gown changes. Blood much? I wish I could’ve seen it!
And so, the second days’ surgery was uneventful. I shared some passing remarks with the Anesthesiologist apropos some of my bad habits. From the installation of the stimulator, I was wheeled up to 4 West, rm # 406 – and, for some time while I was under anesthetic, I saw my mother, my sisters, and their respective boyfriends/husbands while I was CRACKED right out. I’m pretty sure my sister asked whether I’d be lonely, and I believe I broke into song more or less immediately…
“lonely–i am so lonely…*
It was bad, but I was high outta my tree, and so…
And then the rehabilitation process set in. I spent another week at the Neuro, being well taken care of by the nurses and having access to my Neurosurgeon on a daily basis, as it was crucial to have the implants calibrated. They then called a code purple, which at the MNH, means that they’re at 200% capacity and to empty as many beds as possible. I wasn’t quite ready to go, but I knew enough to know that staying in a “non-ambulatory ward” was more detrimental to me than rehab at home. This meant I couldn’t even transfer from my chair on my own. There is a simple truth when it comes to MS – you don’t use it, you lose it, and here I was for 2 weeks, not even able to shower on my own.
Lucky me, my buddy Quentin, or Q, was there at my place to help me out. We’re talking putting me in the shower, getting me on and off the toilet, and the best housekeeping I’ve ever enjoyed since my sisters came over and did a big ol’ cleanup before I went in for my surgery. So my words to Q are nothing but thanks. This is my very best friend and I am lucky to have him around.
And so, the calibrations continue as I heal. I’m seeing Dr. Paniset at Hopital Notre-Dame for future calibrations. I’ll be sure to follow up with everyone in a few weeks’ time.
Until then, yours in health,