Yes, yes, I know. Long time, no update. I've got my usual excuses – I have been insanely busy and extremely stressed. You may pick one or both, whichever one gets me out of the dog house. Sorted?
I had my six month post-brain-surgery angiogram last month and Subhanallah, my brain is all good. The repair is holding up, and none of the glue they sealed the aneurysm has leaked. And best of all, no new aneurysms – which is something I was a bit worried about, because I have basically constant headaches.
The trip itself was epic, in all the usual ridiculous Zee ways. The day before I was to fly out, I got sick. Like, REALLY SICK. In fact, I haven’t been this sick as an adult, ever. I started feeling weird in the early afternoon and within an hour, I felt like a wobbly human radiator. I finally let Mali drag me to the hospital around 4:30, so we could be ok to fly out in the morning. Turns out I had a 103 fever and raging strep throat. The docs put me on intravenous antibiotics and fever reducer and after about 5 hours in the emergency room, let me go, saying I’d be ok to fly out in a few hours. I went home, went to bed, and then at 2am, woke up delirious. The fever was back and even higher. So back we went to the hospital, and this time I had to be admitted, as they couldn't get my fever to stay down. Of course, we missed our flight. I was stuck in the hospital for nearly two days (I think) riding the fever rollercoaster, living on lame liquids, and sporting a face so swollen I looked like a cavewoman. By the second day, I decided I couldn't keep postponing our tickets and appointments (the doc had a three month waiting list), so I told the doc “give me your strongest med and release me, I gotta get my brain checked.” He gave me the whole “I don’t approve of this but you're an adult” shpeel and let me go, 102 fever and all, and off we went.
We got to Chicago and after a few days of recuperating, drove down to Nashville for my brain angiogram. Alhamdullilah, despite the bad winter weather and the rash of anti-Muslim hate crimes, we got to our hotel in Nashville fine. Checked in. Had my last meal before starting my pre-procedure fast. Went to bed. Woke up and headed out for the procedure, on time and all ready. Except, we weren't. Cuz I’m me. The Maflunctioning Robot.
We were five minutes into the drive when Mali says “huh, no traffic this time. Weird. Last time, there was so much rush-hour traffic going in to the city.” I thought about it and replied “It’s probably because it’s Saturday.” *pause* *blink* *think* “Mali, today is Saturday? But, the hospital doesn't do procedures on Saturdays.” *pause* “ZEE. WHEN IS YOUR APPOINTMENT SCHEDULED FOR?!” We stop the car and I pull out my appointment slip, which I’ve had in my purse the whole while, and check it. Lo and behold – my procedure was the day before. I had mentally misfiled the date of the procedure. We missed it by a day. Cue complete Zee meltdown.
We spent the rest of the day frantically calling, trying to see if we could reschedule. Finally, by the evening, the surgeon himself got back to us and told us he’d fit us in on Monday. We just had to wait around in Nashville – yes, the country music capital in that lovely state that only recently tried to ban Islam – for the next coupla days. Oh joy.
Mali and I spent the next 48 hours camped out in the hotel room, eating halal gyros cooked in a microwave, watching old episodes of Castle. Other than my regular "I CAN’T BELIEVE I GOT THE DAYS WRONG” pity parties, it wasn’t so bad. Though I’d be happy not to see gyros again for at least a year.
The angiogram procedure went well. They did the usual – opening up the femoral artery and then threading a catheter through my circulatory system, up to the base of my brain, where it released a dye for 3D imaging. Weirdly, this time I was awake on and off throughout it. I remember opening my eyes and seeing this big black circle over my face and thinking “WHOAAAA, IT’S THE MAGNET THEY USE TO PICK UP STUFF IN THE JUNK YARD. BUT I’M NOT A JUNK CAR. AM I?” Turns out it’s something called the ‘image intensifier’. I also remember periodically being told “Ok Zee, hold your breath now.” Apparently that’s so they could take a picture of my brain without my breathing shaking the image. This is the third angiogram I've had and they never had me do that before – dunno why this time. Ah well. I am also very proud of the fact that this time, I made sure not to try and talk while anesthetized. Cuz you may not know this, but your brain does not realize it's compromised and thinks it's A-OK and wants to be friendly and talk to people when it's drugged, so you mumble bizarro things at them and they try and respond with a straight face. At least, I think I didn't do it this time. =___= And this go round the docs and nurses made for damned sure that I didn't pop open the artery and bleed all over the place, by squeezing the gumption out of my artery for nearly an hour. It seems they still remember the last time I turned their bathroom and recovery room into a horror movie scene.
So yes, Alhamdullilah, my brain is all good. I’m supposed to go back again in 6-8 months for another angiogram, and then another a year after that. The doc took me off of the heavier blood thinners I’d been on, so I am no longer constantly covered in bruises and randomly bleeding at the slightest provocation. Now, I get to what I’ve been needing to do for the longest – HAVE A BUNCH OF OTHER SURGERIES. Sad, but true. Smallish and medium ones. Inshallah. Worry not.