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Showing posts from July, 2013

Brain Boy: Days 15 and 16: Does this come with a matching robe?

The last couple of days, headgear has been uppermost on my mind.

Being the fashionista that I am, I've been trying different designs for a "brain wrap".  Yesterday, for example, I visited the neuro clinic to check out a design (left) that would actually stay on my head in the middle of the night. My last wrap wound up on the pillow.

You see, another practical benefit for the right apparel is that applied pressure and a stable bandage will hopefully stem the outpouring of internal brain fluid that has caused some pain and pressure inside my skull.  This is not necessarily the norm ... but not unusual after surgery to have swelling from internal fluid leaks. But in my case, the leaking has been a little problematic because it doesn't seem to want to slow down. Must be my active brain (or just plain big head).

The "hat" is the key... the sleeker the design the more it will restrict the flow and seal the leak. Unfortunately, stylish as it is ... last night, th…

Brain Boy: Day 14: Did anyone get the number of that bus?

Minor setback.

I've been kidding about my forehead getting so big that it should give birth any day now.  Well ... it's gone past "term" and the doctor told me to come in to induce labor.

Translation: The fluid pressure has increased since surgery. Headaches and tenderness prevented me from sleeping through the night ... so Dr. Harry told me to come in.

He did a biopsy and then drained about a bathtub full of fluid (okay, I exaggerated ... A half bathtub). He then wrapped my head with two bandages which restricts the fluid as it comes back.

I wear this for a few days.

Seriously, still not feeling great. Hopefully I can get some relief ... But you have to admit, I finally have a great prop to show off.

Tony Soprano will love it!

Brain Boy Day Day 13: Tired

Sunday ...


... I rested.

Brain Boy Days 11 and 12 The Perks

I just started Season 5 of The Sopranos (yes ... I'm back at it. Even Debbie is into it now.) Just had a break in the action to change DVDs so I asked Debbie if she would make me lunch ... "Honey, can you fix me something?"

Debbie answered, "Okay ... give me a minute. I've got to make a few calls."

"What do have to make calls for now? Never mind ... F**k it, Carmela."

"Did you just call me Carmela ... TONY?"  

I'm not sure I will be allowed to see Season 6.

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This recovery period has perks. Food for instance comes to the house by the truckload thanks to our wonderful friends and family. My boss, Judy sent me a big box of delicious cookies, friends at All Children's sent me a huge box of fruit, some of my staff sent me gluten free cookies, pot roasts, pasta, Kevin and Kathy sent some pirate stuff to go with my eyepatch. Lee made stew, Dennie made soup ...

... and my brother in law Mark brought me every Ben and Je…

Brain Boy Days 8,9 and 10

I took Tuesday and Wednesday off.

My head thought it was a good idea. Apparently, my head has a mind of its own. (Did I really just say that?) I didn't physically go anywhere on Tuesday ... but amusement park rides filled my dreams ... not the fun kind. The ones with scary clown faces and roller coasters that aren't anchored to the tracks.

Yesterday was doctor's day ... the day my stitches were coming out. Well ... I thought they were. I dressed for my "coming out" party. Even shaved ... and put on a nice shirt for the first time in 10 days.

Dr. Harry checked out my head. "Let's wait another week before we take out the staples. Fluid is leaking ... spinal fluid ... it needs more time to dry out and heal. This happens in the healing process. Your head will probably get even bigger."

"So ... " I calmly asked as I pictured myself picking up pieces of my brain from the floor and folding them in my scalp. " ... is this a bad thing ... you…

Brain Boy Day 7

Debbie took away the Soparanos Tape today ... I think it was the last 3 hours of .... "I'm gonna break your f***ing kneecaps you f***ing sorry m*****f***er." Or maybe it was the last fourteen bloody death scenes.

Anyway ... I opened Mel Brooks an few minutes ago ... Silent Movie might work.

Brain Boy Day 6

It's Sunday ... end of week one for me.

I got two packages that just made my day. My buddy Mike sent me the Mel Brooks movie collection and Steve and Colleen dropped off the Sopranos series (all 6 seasons). Since I never saw the Sopranos ... I decided to watch a few episodes. I'm hooked.

Uncle Junior,  Big Pussy, Paulie "Walnuts",  Silvio, Tony, Carmela, Meadow ...  what great names and what a great cast. Just finished Season 1. Okay ... sure you probably watched it 14 years ago with everyone else. I'm just catching up. Only 60 more shows to go ... Uh oh Big Pussy just came back to town. Gotta go.

Later ....

Brain Boy Day 5

My lower front teeth woke up yesterday afternoon.

I was happy to hear from them, but I'm not sure they felt the same way. They must have been having nightmares while they were out because they woke up angry at my jaw.

Thank heavens for painkillers. Today, my teeth seem to like me again.

Now if only I can get the rest of the right side of my head to wake up with a better attitude, life would be sweeter.  

For now... my forehead, my right eye and the right side of my nose still have no feeling. But I know I have to be patient ... I just went 20 rounds with Ali.

So I started to imagine what I could do with this numbness "talent" in the meantime:

1. Stupid Bar Tricks.  Picture this ... walk into a bar and slam a few drinks down. Look down the bar at the biggest and meanest dude in the place and tell him that you bet you can jam a fork in your forehead without flinching. Better still ... he can jam it in your head ... or ... better still ... take bets that you will buy anybo…

Brain Boy Day 4

Day 4 after surgery and I thought I'd attempt a post. If I start to drift zzzzzzz zzzzzzzz zzzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzzzz just hit the computer and I'll wake up. 
So here's the timeline (it's a work habit, huh?):
5:15 AM Arrive at TGH for admissions and surgical pre-op waiting area. Five people asked me my name, DOB and what I was having done. (didn't they know?)
7:03 AM Wheeled into actual pre-op. Lot of activity here ... I remember most of it ... TGH is a teaching hospital so there were about 8 nurses helping me, a nurse anesthetist who put my first IV line in (funny guy ... enjoyed his job. Nice to see), a surgical nurse that came by to say hello ... she remembered me from my days at All Children's ... then it got busy. Two neurosurgical techs put monitoring probes on my feet and my hands, four neurosurgical residents (I swear) took patient histories, somebody (I think another resident drew an arrow on my head. HE knew what was happening), I know there were more ..…

Brain Boy

Thank you all ... friends and family ... for all your wonderful messages and prayers. Special thanks to Dr. Harry van Loveren who is the most incredible neurosurgeon in the world (true), my fantastic kids Josh, Alissa (who came in from DC) and Nikki (Dr. Preggers who came in from Savannah to be with me) and my incredible wife Debbie who has done everything for me including wearing a buzzer (not really ... but a good idea huh?)

More special thanks to my terrific family for being there for Debbie and me while I was in surgery for 8 hours! Steve, Dennie, Tom and Keli who even came in to look at my catheter in recovery (a story for another day).

I love you all ... wish I could thank all personally.  I promise to blog all the gory details soon ... but I tend to doze off now and then from the pain zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz killers.

Son of Sammy

Thinking about projects I want to do over the coming weeks when I'm recuperating from surgery. One of the things I always wanted to do was a screenplay about Sammy.

So I wrote the opening scene ... tell me what you think.

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EXT. STAR OF DAVID GERIATRIC CENTER -DAY

SAMMY is sitting outside in a wheelchair at the entrance to the Star of David nursing home. He is staring into space with his hand resting on his chin. Slumped in his chair, he looks skinny and drawn. The nurse comes out to check on him.

NURSE LOLA
Mr. Sam ... are you sure there is nothing I can get for you.
SAMMY continues to stare blankly into space.

     NURSE LOLA (CONT’D) Mr. Sam? MR. SAM?
     SAMMY (he looks at her) What?
     NURSE LOLA
I said ... are you sure there’s nothing I can get for you?

     SAMMY
What? I’m wearing my shoe.

     NURSE LOLA
No ... no ... I said: What can I do for you?

     SAMMY
A few what?

     NURSE LOLA
Lawd Mr. Sam ... you forgot to put in your hearing aids aga…

My grandfather always said," Don't watch your money, watch your health." So one day I was watching my health and someone stole my money. It was my grandfather.

This is my month for doctors.

On Friday, I visited my new Gastroenterologist ... Jackie Mason!

His name tag reads: Dr. Haim Pinkas, but he can't fool me. It was Jackie Mason. I was set to get an endoscopy from him when he told me, "You know ... you don't really need to be knocked out for dis procedure."

"Really? Do you do these without anesthesia?"

"Only on myself. Colonoscopies too. It's like playing a big video game."

"Well, I think I would rather be knocked out."

"Okay boychik ... ve do it your way." He looked at Debbie who was trying not to laugh. "Is dis your vife?"

"Yes ... this is Debbie."

"Nice to meet you. You a nice slim goil ... vat you doin with dis vun?"

"Dr. Pinkas ... " I spoke up. "I'm sitting right here."

"Not if you don't lose some veight."

Pinkas could easily make it as a stand up comic. He looks EXACTLY like Jackie Mason ... except olde…

Heady Stuff

"You should get your head examined!"

That's what Dr. van Loveren tells me about every six months. It might be because I drive him crazy with questions about my puny brain ... or it might be because he's really interested in the results. My last MRI was not the picture I expected.

The schwannoma (I Was Born Very Young: Cyber Memories / Oct 28, 2011) that I wrote about in 2010 ... had grown back.

It is still benign and still in the same place it was when it was zapped with the cyberknife. I was prepared for this because I knew this would happen some day ... but from what Harry had told me, it would be at least 20 years or so.

"So what should I do?"

Harry studied the films. "Well, you could wait a few more years. It's still growing slowly."

"20?"

"No ... more like 4-5." He looked at me and leaned across his desk. "I'd say the sooner we get this out the better."

That was a few months ago. When I picked my chin of…