July 15, 2008

Part Two: Visit to the Hospital

So, my Mom, sister and I got up early (EARLY) on a weekday, before school, and went over to the hospital ambulatory care (which now, I would think, would be Day Surgery). After an hour or so of signing in, getting a room, and prep work, my doctor comes in and is ready to withdraw the "fluid" from the large, egg sized bump on the top of my head. He injects a little bit of an anesthetic to dull the pain, and then uses a wide-bore needle to do the aspiration. After 15-20 minutes of poking and trying to withdraw ANY fluid, my doctor decides to make a small incision to see what the problem might be. For me, it sounded like he was cutting through leather, and I could feel little pokes, like he was making a dotted line. After a worried, "Oh", he tells me that he needs to get a neurology consult and leaves the room to go talk with my mother, who is in the waiting room with my sister. He comes back into the room a few minutes later with a neurologist and after a serious amount of mumbling and checking, the neurologist leaves and my doctor starts closing the wound. Before the last 5 stitches, the anesthetic was starting to wear off and I could feel quite a bit of pinching. I told the doctor that it was really starting to hurt and it needed more anesthetic. He told me that I was a big boy and there were only 4 more stitches to go. It was really painful. Even after he finished, there was throbbing and sharp pains at the top of my head. My doctor told me that they were going to do a couple of tests and that I would be staying in the hospital for a while. There was also talk about doing surgery right away to remove whatever it was that was on the top of my head.

The nurses wheeled me down to the radiology department where I was to get a CT Scan. I got into the room with this seven foot, doughnut shaped machine that had a table coming out of the hole. Very frightening, I remember seeing something like that in a movie once and thinking to myself, "I hope I never need to have a test like that". The radiologist asked me if I'd ever had a CT scan before, and I hadn't. He started an IV (which, at the time, I did not have the extreme phobia of needles that I do now), and put me up on the table that was part of the CT Scan machine. He told me that I'd have to lie very still, and to make sure, a couple of techs put straps on my calfs, thighs, chest and arms. They also put my head in a plastic cradle and strapped my head down at the forehead and chin. After 45 minutes of loud buzzing and the table moving an inch or so every 2 or 3 seconds, they stopped and had me wait for another 15-20 minutes, never telling me exactly what they were doing, still lying uncomfortably on the table. When they were done, they came back they told me I had to lie on my stomach so that they could get the back of my head. They did the same thing as before, except this time I was on my stomach. Same straps across my legs and back, and this time, they had a special piece for my chin where the plastic cradle was for my head. The piece my chin was in looked like a mouthpiece from a football helmet, and because I couldn't keep my head still, they put rolled up blankets on either side of my head and strapped the back of my head down, very tight. It was the longest 45 minutes of my life. They also had me wait another 10-15 minutes while they did whatever they did. Although, every 5 minutes or so, they would say, "Ok Michael, just another couple of minutes." I've had several more CT scans since then and that was by-far the worst. But also the most important. After they wheeled me out on the stretcher, my mom put her hand on my head, and I remember telling her if at all possible, could they wait until the next day to do any surgery.

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