It’s now been 20 days since I had my brain fixed. Which I typed as ‘fidex’. Which is one of the odd post-brain surgery kinks that I am still discovering and hoping will vanish soon. But Alhamdullilah, time has just flown by. And yet, also, I still feel very much recently invaded and glue rocked.
I tried taking myself off my heavy duty pain meds 5 days back, in the hope that I could manage without them to do the remaining Ramadan fasts, and also, preempt any dependence on these potentially habit-forming happy pills. That was quite an interesting wake up call. Till then, I was pretty sure that my surgery was no big deal, and I was quite recovered. But without a 4-times daily influx of barbiturates, hot damn did I feel poorly.
Like, whoa. Amazingly weird headaches, sharp eye pain, strange squeezy feelings in my brain, plus full body ache and shocking fatigue. The first day off the pills, I couldn’t get myself out of bed till I’d clocked over 12 hours of sleep. The second day, I did a solid 11, and I think I also took a 3 hour nap in the day. The third day, I tried replacing my barbiturates with a barrage of OTC pain pills. Max doses of Panadol and Aleve just took the edge off it and barely got me through the day. And then, on the fourth day, not even the total quota of Panadol and Aleve could dull the pain in my head enough to let me sleep, so I took one of the barbiturates. And the next day, I had to do it again. Sigh.
I know, taking your prescribed pain pills is nothing to be ashamed of, weak, or immoral. I just don’t like to be dependent on meds, especially for pain, which I find my body tends to acclimate to in time anyways. And plus, I think I’m just always the kind of person who is very much wanting and willing to believe I’m cured and better. I don’t need anything. I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong with me. Etc. (Which is, on a side note, why I always take it very personally when people imply that I’m a hypochondriac or it’s all in my head. Cuz punk, I did not fabricate my lab results and diagnoses, and any given week I soldier through what would knock you flat or send you running to the ER.)
So now, I am ‘taking it easy’. I surprisingly took the full extent of my medical leave, till July 22nd. Plus I have permission from my boss to work from home till the Eid break ends in 13 days. I just popped in to the office today to sign some forms and show my face, so they know I’m here, alive with new and improved rock brain, and back on the job – albeit, with limited eyeball battery life and energy. Also, cuz I am a nutter with guilt issues and the great kindness they have shown me in facilitating my surgery has left me feeling extremely indebted. So I will work from home on the book the office is still waiting on me to finish and intermittently respond to emails and edit requests. And when needed, I will take my barbiturates and not beat myself up about it. Scout's honor.
In the meantime, I am hoping my brain stops throwing a fit about its perimeter being breached after 31 years of impenetrability and the installation of outsider in its midst. The headaches, exhaustion and speaking/spelling/writing issues I’ve been having are harshing my chill. I’m a writer, I have to at least be able to get words close enough for spellcheck to swoop in and save me. Lately, she’s as lost as I am. If Microsoft Word, my near constant companion of the past 12 years, could speak, she would, in the voice of Sarah Vowell, say: “Dude. I cannot even begin to fathom what you are attempting to spell there. Do you want me to switch to a Klingon dictionary?” The doc says the pain and weirdness should subside over time, as my brain adjusts to the 10mm glue rock left behind in my brain and my body recovers from the intensity of having two large catheters thread through my circulatory system. I’m just impatient and slightly delusional.
But again, I am also extremely grateful. I could have died. I didn’t. I could have had brain damage. I didn’t. I could have suffered loss of vision in my left eye from the procedure. I didn’t.