Brain Surgery to ICU

On August 7th I had a craniotomy to remove a meningioma (brain tumour). This link explains the procedure from a medical perspective. I am sure that the patient craniotomy experience would be different from person to person but this was my mine;

  • an IV in my right arm which is where they injected the anesthesia
  • a second IV was placed in my opposite arm
  • a central line (another IV) in my neck
  • a catheter in my bladder
  • a breathing tube down my throat
  • sensors were placed in my face to monitor nerve activity and align the MRI image
  • my head was clamped in 3 placed to the operating table (2 along my hair-line in the front and one in the rear)
  • the MRI was aligned with my physical head
  • my skin was cut
  • a loonie sized piece of my skull was removed from behind my left ear
  • the tumour was removed and the point of origin was cauterised
  • a titanium plate that looks like a snowflake was screwed to my head and my skin stapled back together with 14 staples
  • a dressing was placed over the incision with 3 staples
  • when the clamps were removed my forehead started to bleed, after 15 minutes of pressure the surgeon couldn’t get the wound to stop bleeding and placed 3 staples to stop the bleeding

I was wheeled to the operating room just after 8 am, surgery was completed by 1:15 pm and I was transferred to the recovery room and at some point the breathing tube was removed. I woke up in the ICU around 2pm and man did I have a headache.

What I remember from my ICU stay was;

  • My first thought was “I am alive”
  • I had a private nurse her name was Debbi and she was lovely
  • In addition to all of the tubes mentioned above I also had oxygen tubes, a clip on my ear and a pile of wires
  • I wore electric compression stockings which filled up with air and massaged my legs, I loved them
  • throwing up within hours of brain surgery was the worst
  • my chest felt like someone was sitting on me
  • every 2 hours I had my blood pressure taken, had to squeeze the nurses fingers, wiggle my toes, raise my eyebrows, smile, shrug my shoulders, have a light flashed in my eyes, and answer questions
  • all of my pain and anti-nausea medication was given intravenously
  • the beds were cool but I hated them. The bed was similar to a massage chair where there was movement under the surface. It would have been lovely had I not just had my brain messed with, so they turned off the movement feature.
  • I had blood taken a few times from one of the IV lines
  • my eyes were crusted shut for a while
  • sleeping connected to so much stuff and being woken every 2 hours meant that I didn’t get much sleep

These are some of the pictures from my 24 hours in the ICU. It gives an idea of the shape I was in. There were 10 beds in the ICU and I was the least sick person. I can’t even imagine how the other people were feeling because I wasn’t doing too hot.

The most important thing is that Timmy was removed in his entirety and that he wasn’t cancer. The operation was a complete success.

3 thoughts on “Brain Surgery to ICU

  1. Megan August 14, 2015 / 11:38 am

    Thank you for sharing. Thank God it wasn’t cancerous. Big sigh. The worst is over. 🌷


    • spaleksic August 14, 2015 / 11:43 am

      Thanks Megan, I think that the worst is over too 🙂


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