Saturday, April 3, 2010

Crisis of Cranium Crackage!!! Part net! (the finale)

Hey there everybody! I made out to the other side and as can be expected I have the tale of my trials for you recorded in this last installment of ....

Warjournal: Crisis of Cranium Crackage!!! Part net!!!

March 1, 2010
(day of the surgery)

4:00 am
Awoken to a screaming alarm clock, I groggily grab my pre-packed bag. Filled with nothing but PJ's and movies, it's easy to trick myself that I'm heading for a slumber party with all my 'besties' instead of heading to a hospital to have my head peeled like a grape

4:05 am
I sit staring at my previous Cranium Crackage entry with complete and utter remorse. Hoping against all logic that maybe if I phone and kindly inform the hospital that I'm not completely happy with a random blog I wrote and would they patiently wait while I fix it, maybe just maybe they'll see my reasoning

4:10 am
My dad, Howie, has walked into my room. His eyes haven't quite yet figured out how to open and his arm seems rather occupied with rustling his hair into a bird's nest. He stumbles towards me like some sort of drug induced wise man, placing his hands upon my head in solemn prayer while faintly mumbling a blessing that I'm pretty sure translated into "Hmm, bye, bye hair"

4:30 am
After much posing, eyebrow arching and lip pursing my mother does a quick toss off her always fabulous red locks and exits the hair spray fog now collecting in the bathroom. I awkwardly readjust the hoodie on my head and begin to wonder about what the proper dress etiquette for a surgical head scalping is

5:30 am
At the hospital in the OR prep station. At this point on your journey into the OR you have a feeling like you've just been drafted into a very nasty war and you're the last line of defense. Your comrade in arms are a one armed portly fellow who is sensitive to light and an old man who surely served as a general in the war of 1812. A nurse then assigns you a numbered cubicle and unceremoniously tells you to disrobe and put on a thin unflattering sheet of paper and some plastic baggies around your feet. In the war against germs and bacteria I have been armed with newsprint and sandwich bags. I'm starting to think either hospitals or those antibacterial commercials are full of S@#%

6:00 am
Sitting on my stretcher trying to best decipher how to make my hospital garb accentuate my pectorals, my mom starts repeatedly questioning me as to whether or not I'm nervous about the whole situation. I keep answering no but get increasingly more concerned everytime she asks and start to question my mislead trust in these Doctors.
What's their sign? Their favorite color? If you were taking my head on a first date, where would we go, what would we do?
The important questions I could've and should've asked before letting these strangers pick apart my noggin

6:45 am
In the operating room. The room is cold with giant blinding lights swiveling above your head. I expect at anytime to turn my head and see E.T. next to me being dissected by the MIB. My main doctor, Dr. Louie comes by and gives me a pregame speech to get me all pumped and excited for my surgery. He describes the entire operation in great detail
"And I'll just be shaving a small strip of hair where the incision will be made, so you'll keep most of your hair"
Now my first thought was "HECK YES!!! I can hold onto some small shred of my once luscious hair!"
But my second thought was "F@#$! Now I'll look like a jack@$$ after making such a big deal to everyone about being bald!"

6:50 am
Dr. Louie is just about to wash up and asks if I have any other questions before I go under
"Yeah, just one .... who gets to keep my sinus?"
"Well when you take my sinus out, who gets it? Me or you? Like can can I keep it in a jar or something, like a trophy for my mantelpiece? Or do you guys want it to study it and junk?"
"Umm, your sinus is just a space between the bones in your skull, there's technically nothing we could put into a jar for you. We're just removing that space in your skull"
"Oh ...... cool"
"Any other questions?"
"Nah I think I've embarassed myself enough."

7:00 am
The nurses are prepping me to be knocked out. They drop important info between small talk to mask the severity while calming my nerves.
"What do you do for a living? P.s. we'll be inserting a cardiac thing into your arteries to make sure your heart doesn't stop during the operation"
"I'm a comic book artist ... wait what?! That sounds rather alarming"
"OH COOL! A comic artist! Never met one of those"
"Yeah we're kinda neat-o ... so back to this whole heart stopping thingy"
"So what arm do you draw with?"
"My right...."
"put the IV in his right arm and the cardiac monitor in his left. So what comics have you done?"
"Ummm one called Merc ... Is my left arm is some sort of danger? Cause i kinda like him"
Just then I feel some freezing get injected into my right arm. I start freaking out thinking Dr. Louie's gone all McGyver on me and wants to do this low tech. The nurses assure me its just prep for the IV. A tad wary seeing as they never froze me before any other IV's I decide my stomach will be better off if I don't take a peek at the harpoon that will keep me thoroughly drugged up during the procedure.

7:10 am
My OR nurse is kindly smothering my airways with a gas mask while carrying on small talk. She's chats excitedly and I nod my head in agreement while fighting to hold open my eyes. A deep and ungrounded nightmare has settled in my head that if I relax and close my eyes, they'll most certainly come at my head with hatchets all to eager to start chopping without noticing my panicked eyes frantically trying to signal my consciousness

7:20 am
not a care in the world I drift off into a relaxing and peaceful sleep.


5:00 pm
Still heavily induced I'm not entirely sure whether or not I'm awake or if this is a dream. I can make out my mom and dad next to me, a nurse going about her business caring for my health, all while a very angry sounding voice somewhere to my right is yelling at a doctor. Clearly this is reality otherwise Aquaman would be there with Rhubarb pie .... instead he's brought pumpkin pie

7:00 pm
You're told before going into a big surgery like this that you're not supposed to make any important decisions within the first 24 hours after the operation. I can see why, although at times I was conscience I barely remember anything that happened that first night after surgery. It's like drifting through a modern art exhibit of reality. You remember basic shapes and sounds, that fit together at random, and you're left feeling rather stupid for not being able to make sense of it all. Where as those more enlightened than you are moved by the powerful messages conveyed through the artist's vision. My mom took advantage of my ignorant stupefied state which lead to a glorious photo of myself with drool dripping out the one side of my mouth and my head bandaged up like turban

10:00 pm
feeling a need to empty my guts the nurse has provided me with trusty puke bucket. I hold onto it tenderly nuzzling it to my chest like a security blanket. My one friend in a nauseous world. My attending nurse Steven, keeps saying how cute I am all snuggled up to my steel bowl. Too sick to ditch my bowl, but still concerned about the male nurse hitting on me, in my hazy state I try to make myself appear 'uncute' while clinging to my one saving grace

March 2
9:00 am
I'm startled awake to a crazed wheel chair bound bum poking my leg. Turns out to be my neighbor, Kevin, a man who was electrocuted, broke a leg and dislocated a shoulder. Thoughtfully he decided that the best thing to be awaken to after an 8 hour surgery is a haggard smoker showing you what happens to a leg that had 10,000 volts burst through it. I can tell we're gonna get along just swimmingly

9:30 am
After a disturbing wake up from my friendly neighborhood meth head Kevin I've finally noticed a morbid balloon/tube combo sticking out of my head that is collecting the blood to keep the wound clean. With this alien object residing inside my head I realize that at some point it will eventually come out. I choose ignorant bliss as my medicine for this and remove the thought completely from my mind

10:00 am
A dietitian has come by for a little Q&A with me. I let her know that everything's fine, but my my jaw hurts a little so maybe not to send carrots and other foods that are on the harder chewing side of things
(Warning: Never ever say this to your dietitian in a hospital, it may lead to them blending every possible meal they send you. Even the turkey which they will deceptively mold into a proper turkey thigh only to have you poke it with your fork and have the mush loose all solid form and become a unsavory meaty sauce, slishing and sloshing about your plate)
Kevin kindly informs her the food here tastes like S#@$ and that she should be ashamed of herself. He then delves into a harrowing tale of his exploits to acquire McDonalds BigMacs while in here in order to sustain himself

1:00 pm
I'm enjoying a chat with my mother while Kevin is in a heated argument across the room claiming that it was the doctors that broke his leg and not his 50 foot fall from the roof he was electrocuted on. A nurse comes in to change the bandages on my head. Pulling them off she reveals my still mostly full head of hair
"Why didn't they shave you completely?" the nurse asks in astonishment
"I don't know, the doc just told me he was gonna shave a strip. I wasn't gonna argue with a guy with 10 years of schooling behind his belt"
My mom then comments "But you look sillier with just a strip shaved off"
"well yes, now that I look like a ugly puffy headed girl wearing a headband, I'm sorta regretting that decision"

1:10 pm
My mom is inspecting my newly acquired head spanning scar and lets me know that it's being held together by staples. Big metallic staples, the kind used to hold reports and school projects together. An image flashes in my mind of the doctors prying them out of my head later with a crowbar.

2:00 pm
Jessica a friend of mine has come by for a visit. We chit and chat about this and that, mostly catching up on current events of friends from school. Kevin blinded to us by a thin curtain still feels a need to partake in our visit, adding in his insights and advice between his crackled chuckles and hectic coughing up of lungs. After a few minutes he uses his expert crack-addict logic to switch the coarse of our conversation from friends with new babies to his cell phone bill, which unexplainably rose sometime during the transfer from his hometown in Calgary to Edmonton. He tells us how he's not one to usually get frustrated and cause a stir but this odd "long distance" charge crossed the line! And how he wished they'd give him back his "wacky tabaccy" so that he could calm his nerves, but a half a pack of smokes will have to do for now

3:00 pm
A doctor who I've never met before comes by to chat with me. Apparently he worked on my cranium in the surgery along with my other doctors. This pattern starts to become increasingly similar as I'm slowly introduced to about 5 other doctors that also worked on me. It's starting to feel like the classic clowns in a car gag, with my head being the metaphorical compact car from which the clowns emerge. They explain why i was in surgery for 8 hours instead of the scheduled 5, turns out I messed up my head worse than they had thought. He says how they had to clean the pieces of hair and hoodie from inside my skull. My dreams of placing a time capsule inside my head were not so far fetched after all

March 3
10:00 am
My personal nurse for the day Rosalyn is changing the dressings on my head. I must confess that my daily head cleanings have become the best part of my day. I get to sit contently for about half hour catching up on the latest gossip from the nurses while she methodically cleans and tends to my disheveled head. I now know what all the hoopla about chimp lice preening is all about

2:00 pm
Kevin seems to not be able to comprehend interactions and relationships with members of the opposite gender for any other reason beyond sex. Everytime someone comes by for a visit lacking the Y chromosome he immediately hobbles into his wheelchair very loudly announcing he's generously giving me 5 minutes of "alone time". I'm not sure what concerns me more. The fact that the vast majority of these female visitors were my family and he still figured I needed "alone time", or that he calculated 5 minutes as more than enough "alone time" for me to finish the dirty deed

Warning: the next entry is not for the weak at heart
2:30 pm
Lucky Jessica has timed her second visit right on cue with the removal of that creepy tube/balloon thingy in my head. The doc firmly grasps the tube in one hand and braces against my head with the other making me feel like I'm a pull start lawn mower. I inquire as to the estimated length of the snake incubating in there to which he shrugs, then asks me if I'm ready. I close my eyes hoping this will be like a band-aid clean and quick then nod my head. He tugs and my stomach flips as I feel movement in the opposite temple. The doctors stops and Jessica describes the look on his face as one of complete shock. Now both of us prepared to enter unknown territory the doc holds on once again and tells me to breath deeply. I take a long slow measured breath then release it all in repulsive shock as I feel this indescribably horrific tube worm its way through my skull and out the small incision. The doctor looks at the newly freed tube and says "Wow! that's long" Still in shock from the process I forget to reply properly with
"That's what she said"

4:00 pm
A doctor comes by and asks if I'd be willing to be interviewed by a couple of medical students tomorrow morning. I enthusiastically say yes seeing this as way for me to feel superior to people much more accomplished in their lives than me. I figure that they chose to interview me due to my enigmatic personality and sage wisdom and not because I'm the only patient in my room currently not trying to fist fight with the nurses because they won't let me rent porn from my hospital bed

March 4
(last day in the hospital)
8:00 am
I've been awake for the past 3 hours wearing my finest Aquaman PJ's eagerly awaiting my interview. The medical students lead by a doctor waltz into my room and introduce themselves. They are Richard, Sarah, and Tim. Richard seems like an over-achiever, he is carrying around portly belly wrapped in a sweater vest and haircut resembling macaroni, and glasses he seems to have stolen from my grandma. Despite his 90's white boy handicap he walks about with the swagger of a gangster hustler. Sarah is a definite over-achiever and commands her two colleague's with the authority usually reserved for Egyptian queens. Her dress is one of simply elegance that looks both suitable for prescribing Ambien to insomniacs and to host a large gala event to raise money for Dodo birds. Tim seems to be the underdog in this group, quiet and unassuming he fumbles with his notes and worries entirely too much about the placement of the glasses on his face.

8:10 am
The interview has begun and it is to be a full examination of my entire medical history and health.
"Any noticeable changes since the surgery?" Richard inquires
"My head feels like a coconut right here" I poke the top of my head
"Can you explain that further?"
"Yep, I have no feeling on the top of my scalp anymore but the doctor told me to expect that. So when I rap on my head like so ..." I tap out a little tune for them "It feels like a bongo drum!"

8:15 am
"And how does your head feel? any headaches?" Tim nervously questions
"Not really, just sometimes when I move around too much my head feels like I'm wearing a really, really big helmet"
"Umm, I'm not sure I understand"
"You know how if you have on a really big hat and your head feels weird and too heavy, that's how my head feels. Like I'm walking around with an over-sized hat"

8:45 am
I never fully realized how thorough the interview was until this point
Sarah "Are you single?"
"I have a girlfriend .... what does that have to do with my health?"
She ignores my question and continues on "Any erectile dysfunction since the surgery?"
"Noooo ... but it's not like I've really had an opportunity to check. Getting back into the sack wasn't exactly my first order of business after having my head peeled."
Then Richard helpfully butts in "and how about previous to this?"
"Mast rose to to the occasions"

9:00 am
Things have turned from Q&A to a hands on approach. Tim is awkwardly feeling around my neck trying to find my carotid artery.
"Ummm, I don't think there is one ... I can't find it"
I quickly pip in my 2 cents "I'm pretty sure they're there, cause otherwise my mangled coconut head would be the least of our worries"

9:30 am
The doctor is giving them helpful hints and tips about the examination process. They listen intently scribing his every word while I piggy back onto his intelligence by firmly nodding my agreement with his every word. As if I'm somehow the apex of intellect in the room, when in actuality the last great thing my head did was be used as a very effective goalie against a thick piece of plate metal

12:00 pm
I am released for the final time! I say a tearful goodbye to the lovely people of the UofA hospital and bid a fond farewell to my source of entertainment for the last month. And now I'm stuck with the problem of finding something else to occupy my writings with

And so ends the great Crisis of Cranium Crackage saga! I hoped you all enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed chronicling the events in my life for the past month. I probably had entirely too much fun for someone in my situation.
Looking back on it all I know that more than anything I'm thankful for everything. Thankful for still being here to annoy and pester you all. Thankful that I never lost a part of myself. Thankful for those that love me and wished me well during the whole ordeal. And in a weird way I'm thankful that this all happened. I've turned a corner in my life a I need to get out there and make the best of it. As my friend Bob so perfectly put it "This was God's V8 style slap to your head, stick to comics". This was a blessing in disguise in multiple ways and I'm bound and determined to prove it to the world. I'm not sure where I'm heading but I'm excited for the ride!

Thank you everyone for reading and for the encouragement! And as always .....

See ya back here,
Same Dan-Time!
Same Dan-channel!

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