From December 1-7, 2017, I waited to have my surgery at the hospital. I had things to do before I went into surgery, even though my mind and body were failing me. My parents were helping me to walk as I slowly limped across the hospital corridors. I also had a lawyer meet me, to sign a personal directive, or living will, authorizing my husband to make decisions for me if I came out of surgery a vegetable. Or as I had termed it, a butterfly. As I had told my sister, I was hoping to come out of surgery not as my husbands butterfly.
The Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Alberta also asked if I would participate in a study. I of course said yes. They are testing an iMRI machine, or GPS for the neurosurgeon, taken throughout the operation, instead of MRI pictures which are only taken before you go into surgery. So, any “brain shift” the ‘unpredictable movement of the brain during surgery can result in the maps becoming inaccurate as the operation proceeds’ can now be updated. The shifting happens on ‘brain tracts’. Brain tracts are ‘critical structures’ where the brain operates. The fact that these can move to me is mind-blowing. The iMRI will involve additional scans during surgery and ‘the surgical site will be prepared by filling the surgical cavity with sterile fluid and bringing the innermost coverings of the brain (dura matter) together.’ Or closing the brain back up. Then you are opened back up again for the surgery to proceed. Precautions were taken to minimize any increased chances of infection when this is happening.
Then December 7 arrived.
My husband had to drive home with one of his friends to take care of things, like selling cows. But he would be back today by the time I got out of surgery. My sisters were there too, the morning I went in at 6:30 a.m. They told me how brave I was. I don’t think you can be brave if you have no choice. I think the act of bravery involves some choice of what to do or how to act. What could I do really? Scream and cry? That would get me far. Or I could take a positive attitude and approach it as one moment at a time.
I remember saying goodbye to my sisters and being wheeled into the large operation room. It was huge. And everything was stainless steel. And cold. The nurses transferred me on to a stainless steel bed, that was more like a table. Their were lots of monitoring screens. Lots of room for lots of people. I felt really small now. There were three doctors in the room with me. An anesthesiologist, a female, another nurse/doctor, a male, and another nurse, female, folding towels. They quickly put a mouth piece over my mouth and nose and asked me to count down from 100. I think I made it to 96. Then I was out.