Monday, November 21, 2011

The One Year Anniversary of My Surgery (Craniotomy)

Just about a year ago, I had my first operation and my memory of that day is still rather vivid.  Evanston NorthShore Hospital, where I was scheduled to have my surgery, is a first-class hospital just up the road from Northwestern University’s lake shore campus.  Nestled into an area between a nicely kept up older neighborhood and a local par-three golf course, the hospital is surrounded by big old trees and green grass. The hospital building itself completed a major renovation not that long ago; and is clean, modern and well-kept.  It’s also busy. The lobby positively bustles with patients, families, doctors and technicians walking in and out and about.

It also seems right-sized.  It’s large enough to house experts providing a full-range of services without seeming to be as big and overwhelming as the Pentagon or the Merchandise Mart (i.e. a Chicago building owned by the Kennedy family that used to be the biggest building in the world). All-in-all, if you have to have surgery, it seems like a good place to be.

As best I can tell, the doctors at Evanston NorthShore hospital are not night owls.  They like to have operations early in the morning. So I and my entourage (wife, son David, daughters Sara and Jenny) all went with me to the hospital at the crack of dawn. 

The day before the operation, I started to wonder about what to bring with me to the hospital.  As an afterthought, I threw in a book—The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—which my wife recommended.  I also grabbed some newspaper Sudoku puzzles with the vague thought that maybe I’d need to brush up a bit after surgery.

My room, much to my relief, was private. I stowed my stuff in the closet. I walked around and noticed that if I stood up by the window I had a nice view of the Baha’i[1] temple (a strikingly beautiful building and local landmark). Then the waiting began.

I put on my flimsy robe.

I fidgeted.

We talked about the Spartans and their strong early start to the Big Ten football season.

We made pithy remarks about the weather.

David and I discussed the hamburgers we ate at Kuma’s (quite possibly the best burger in Chicagoland) the day before.

Much like the lead-up to my visit with the Ophthalmologist, we talked about everything but the “elephant in the room” my brain tumor and my impending operation.

Finally, somebody came in to start up an IV. I’m sure when I was being wheeled down to surgery; I started to talk to the orderly.  I was nervous and I wanted something to take my mind off the operation. At the same time, there’s this guy pushing you along the hall about six feet from you, it seems rather impolite to ignore him.

I have bare shreds of memories of the operating room.  The drugs kicked in quickly and quite effectively.

To be continued.

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