I ran & I cried

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I ran and just to clarify no one was chasing me. Running might not seem like a big deal but 8 weeks post brain surgery it is. Running was the last thing on my post craniotomy “to do” list. My brain tumour issues started over Christmas break 2014 when I got sharp pains in my head from an increase in blood pressure. Running was one of the few things that my doctors suggested that I didn’t do when I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. As a result it has been 9 months since I have been running or done any form of vigorous physical activity. Running had been my only form of exercise because it’s free, easy and fast. We were given a treadmill so it’s both free and convenient. I don’t have to arrange childcare to exercise, and I can run at any time.

'Other runners may be faster but I have the most fashionable running shoes.'
‘Other runners may be faster but I have the most fashionable running shoes.’

When I was diagnosed with a brain tumour I stopped exercising. In truth when I got diagnosed I stopped doing everything but as the weeks progressed I started getting back into my old routines. Exercise was a struggle and I started packing on the pounds. So my husband and I changed our eating habits to compensate. Eating clean helped and I walked and things were under control. Then I went in for surgery and for 4 weeks post surgery I didn’t do much in the way of exercise. The first few days in the hospital I couldn’t eat, but then I was starving. My logic was that my body was healing from a pretty invasive surgery and if I was hungry I would eat. I wasn’t eating grass clipping (salad) though, I was eating whatever I wanted. The weight that I had lost before surgery had crept its way back during my recovery. I went to my GP after 4 weeks and was told to hold off on the running until I saw the neurosurgeon. I saw my surgeon 8 weeks post surgery and he said to try running and see how I feel.

In truth I was a little scared to try running again. What if I got dizzy, fell and hurt myself? I am a little worried about bumping my head now. But I ran anyway. I ran for 10 minutes stopped and cried. Not because my head hurt, not because I was dizzy but because I did it. Running marked the END. I completed everything on my post surgery to do list. I have come full circle and I am back at a new beginning.

cartoons-wearpatternP.S when I run now I don’t cry. I just run and watch Netflix :).

Happy Thanksgiving

18-thanksgiving-cartoonI picked my three year old up from preschool last week and they had just finished a thanksgiving project about what they are thankful for. I couldn’t help but laugh when I read his response. He is thankful for the snacks in the snack box. I supposed that I am thankful for the snacks in the snack box too, especially around 3 in the afternoon. But I wouldn’t say that the snacks in the snack box are at the top of my list.

I can’t help think how different my “Thanksgiving List” is this year. Last year at this time I didn’t even know I had a brain tumour. Now here I am 9 weeks post surgery. Here is my top ten things I am thankful for this year.

I am thankful:

  1. to be alive and healthy without a brain tumour
  2. that it was me with the brain tumour and not my kids or my husband
  3. that my husband took the “in sickness and in health” part of our marriage vows to heart. We pulled each other through this brain tumour fiasco together.
  4. for my kids because even on the bad days they gave me a reason to get my crap together
  5. brain surgeonmy neurosurgeon’s steady hands
  6. that neither Timmy or the neurosurgeon did any permanent damage to my brain
  7. for my parents who took care of the kids and the house so that all I had to do was get better, and all my husband had to do was take care of me
  8. for my family, friends and blog readers for the guidance, free childcare, meal-train meals, cards, gifts, flowers, prayers and support you all rock
  9. that a brain tumour cost me a grand total of $33.00 ($8.00 for the drugs my drug plan didn’t cover and $25.00 in parking at the hospital for the week so my family could come and visit me)
  10. plus all of the things that I am thankful for every year

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, I am thankful for you.

Climbing A Mountain

In July I saw a call for artists for a Brain Cancer/Tumour art show. The deadline to register for the show was the day that I was supposed to have brain surgery (July 31) I of course saw it as a sign. I can convince myself that almost anything is a sign such as a Monk on a cell phone in McDonald’s parking lot. One morning I woke up with an idea, I reached over grabbed my sketchbook from beside the bed (blew off the dust) and got drawing. I could visualize my emotional brain tumour journey in paper and colour. This is my sketch.

sketch

I have written about my brain tumour experience and shared some details that I know some people think are intimate. I never felt as though I was divulging too much of myself, I was totally comfortable with the words and pictures I used. But showing this piece is much more difficult because it’s like showing my soul. I feel naked, exposed and raw. At the same time it was really what I needed. I needed to get those emotions out and have a good look at what I went though. I am a visual person I needed to see the journey.

I am sharing because creating is how I deal with everything. I was planning on making this piece for my recovery time, I needed a focus and a creative outlet. Often I am making to distract myself from reality, or to feel a sense of accomplishment. In this case I am blatantly dumping out my emotions onto paper.

After surgery on August 7th I began working on this piece as part of my recovery process. I finished it just before the September 10th deadline. The timing of this exhibition was perfect for me. I am so thankful that this show was happening at this time it gave me the inspiration to create.

Climbing a Mountain was inspired by my recent brain tumour experience. On March 18, 2015 I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Through the use of paper I depict the emotional journey of being diagnosed, living with and having surgery to remove a meningioma brain tumour. The journey starts in the bottom right of the piece and travels along the white path of hope past depression (grey/blue), fear (black), anger (red) and anxiety (yellow). The seven black 2.9 cm paper circles represent the hours spent in surgery and the size of the tumour removed.

This piece will be on display at the “Brain Cancer Got Me Thinking” exhibit which runs from October 7-13 at the Visual Space Gallery in Vancouver. A preview of the show is available here.

October is Brain Tumour Awareness Month

BTawarenessToday, October 1 kicks off the first day of Brain Tumour month in Canada. Last year at this time I was oblivious to brain tumours. This year is a totally different story. I have been living 8 weeks without Timmy the brain tumour!! Yesterday I had what I hope was my last appointment with my neurosurgeon. He confirmed once again that he got all of the tumour and it wasn’t cancer. Even though I have heard it before it’s still pretty exciting news. The chances of regrowth are very slim.

"Don't use any big words for a few weeks."
“Don’t use any big words for a few weeks.”

I have noticed a rather odd side effect to the surgery. Occasionally I struggle with spelling. This is probably not even something that I would have noticed if I wasn’t writing assignments for graduate school. Every once in a while I struggle to get the letters in the right order. It’s been so bad that I couldn’t figure out the second letter in a word that I should know how to spell, so spell check and google are no help to me. Words with c’s and x’s are particularly troublesome. If I am still having an issue spelling after Christmas I will have to go back and see the doctor.  Aside from the fact that I won’t be winning a spelling bee anytime soon I don’t think that it will have much of an effect on my studies.

The only thing left on my to try after surgery list is running. It is what got me into this mess to begin with.  Because my brain is still healing inside running can cause dizziness or nausea. My surgeon said to give it a try and see how I feel, so I am going to give it a shot. I am still slowly regaining feeling in my ear and the area around the scar. My scar is healing well and my hair is growing back. I think at this point its pretty safe to say that I have recovered, hooray!! Don’t tell my husband though because then he might stop cleaning the bathrooms.

The first week back

It’s been 5 weeks since my craniotomy to remove Timmy the tumour. This past week was also the first week back to school. My oldest started grade 1 without any tears, which was a very big deal. I started back to school pursuing a MBA online for my third semester. My youngest starts preschool next week which we are both looking forward to. My husband was at a conference all week and basically came home to change and sleep. On Thursday he flew to Ontario for the weekend to spend much needed time with his family.

For the transition back to school I was pretty much flying solo and by Friday I was so proud of myself. I had S to school everyday on time with a healthy lunch and clean clothes. I managed to complete the course work for the first module in two of my classes. I finished an art piece for a juried Brain Tumour exhibition. The kids had an after school play date three of four school days. I hit my fitness goals twice in the week by walking S home from school. I even managed to bake a cake for my cake decorating class. My house was moderately clean which is about as clean as it ever gets. I felt like I was on top of the world. After four weeks of resting it was a busy week.

I had registered for a cake decorating class in June and after the first class the instructor had to cancel because he had to have surgery. Then I had to have surgery so we coordinated schedules and I am back to class in September. This class requires that I bake something every week so that I have something to decorate. Which also means that I have way too much baking in the house thankfully our babysitter accepts payment in cupcakes!!

Saturday morning my youngest had a runny nose which isn’t such a huge deal, but then my oldest started throwing up. He had a fever and it was probably the sickest he has ever been. He slept with me so I could keep an eye on him and we have an en-suite. I knew that the kids would be fine they bounce back from being sick so quickly. But I have been afraid of getting sick since I had surgery. I am not interested in a head cold because my head is still healing. I am really not interested in throwing up for many reasons but primarily because I am supposed to stay away from jarring activities. Plus does anyone ever want to get sick.

The chances of making it through the weekend without getting sick were not in my favour. Saturday night I got a sore throat and was congested. But on the bright side I can now sleep on the left side of my head! After 5 weeks of only sleeping on my right side it a welcome change to sleep on my left. It was pretty much a necessity to be able to switch sides so that I could breathe. Perhaps this cold is my body’s way of telling me to slow down and rest again, or it’s those germy kids either way I am going to have an afternoon nap. If I have learned anything from this brain tumour it’s that we should listen to our bodies, we only get one and it’s a gift that needs to be taken care of.

One month later

IMG_20150902_182425_editI can’t believe that it has been a month since I had brain surgery to remove a tumour. I have made an incredible recovery at least in my opinion. Life is pretty much back to normal now. I had a check up at the doctors at the end of last week and I can resume most activities. I am allowed to drive which is great and just in time to bring the kids to school on Tuesday. I can resume moderate exercise as long as it’s not jarring to my head. I am still cautious of activities like picking up Lego, cleaning the tub and yoga where I could get dizzy because of the position of my head. My hearing is back which is a relief. The smell of iodine in my hair is finally gone. My incision is healing nicely and my hair is growing back. I am not on any medication and haven’t been for weeks, so I have reestablished my relationship with wine.

The only issue that I have which is quite minor is that I don’t have feeling in the top of my left ear or in the area around the incision. The doctor said that it might come back but it could take a year. In my opinion it’s not really a big deal either way, if that is my only issue after brain surgery I am pretty happy. If the nerves don’t grow back I am sure that I will get used to the lack of feeling.

brain cupcakesI am happy to be alive and with each day I feel better and stronger. I have been in a celebratory mood and have gone out on a date with my husband to ring in the new year. We also hosted a joint 3rd birthday party for our youngest and a Timmy the tumour eviction party complete with brain cupcakes.

Tomorrow I go back to school in pursuit of an MBA. I know that it’s a big undertaking even if I wasn’t recovering from brain surgery but I am crazy enough to do it anyway. You would think that I might slow down and take it easier for a while but it’s not who I am. I thrive when I am busy, learning and doing. I have rested and now it’s time to move on and see what else life has in store.

Happy New Year

HAPPY-NEW-YEAR-2013-WALLPAPER-xnys7Today I am celebrating a new year because the last one wasn’t all that great. On August 13, 2014 I lost my job which wasn’t the worst thing that happened in the last year, but it wasn’t fantastic either. I had decided to go back to school to pursue a MBA before I lost my job but the job loss was a shocker all the same. I started back to school in September as my oldest started Kindergarten. It was an adjustment for all of us. My youngest wasn’t the biggest help as I attempted to study and care for him simultaneously, I guess two is a little young for graduate school.

Cartoon-2Being a student can be a little demanding on the body and mine wasn’t used to the neck and shoulder strain, so I spent a fair amount of time with a physical therapist trying to undo some of the student induced tension. My physical therapist suggested that I get tested for rheumatoid arthritis because of some of the pain that I was having. The jury is still out on that condition but some of the neck and shoulder tension can be attributed to my stretching meninges.

I was looking forward to Christmas as much as my kids were. But my desire for the holidays was more to do with the break from school and less to do with the arrival of Santa. Once I unwound from school and got into the Christmas spirit there was about a day before I had my first blinding headache. It was more like I got hit in the head and dropped to my knees.

weightLike any thirty something woman with two kids and a sedentary lifestyle I made the same promise that I always make to myself come the new year, and that is to lose weight. Enter the second blinding headache. Part way through my first workout of the new year I found myself lying on the living room floor hoping that the pain would subside. Being that I am a graduate student you might think that I would be smart enough to realize that two blinding headaches in the span of a week might signal me to see a doctor but no such luck.

The third blinding headache took a day to get over it was more severe than the first two and again you might think that maybe I would call the doctor. But no it was only when I made an appointment for my son to see the doctor that I casually mentioned these random headaches. My family doctor thought that his resident would be interested in listening to my issues and he was right. The eager resident attempted to do a bunch of tests while my two-year old was riding my foot like a horse and neighing for good measure. The resident was not distracted by the horse-play (I couldn’t help myself) and wanted me to head to emergency right away for a CT scan. After the resident chatted with my doctor they decided that it probably wasn’t an emergency and they requested an urgent CT scan.

March comes I have the scan. Then I get a call from the doctor’s office to come in for a follow-up to the scan (which is never good news), and then they cancel and reschedule, and cancel and reschedule my appointment again.  The resident warned me that if I ever have a sharp pain that stops me from moving again I should head to the emergency room and so I do. But this time it’s not a pain in my head, it’s a pain in my gut.

1100My symptoms were all over the map that day and as it turned out I had the flu (which my husband and son had the next day) and a particularly painful ovarian cyst. I happened to mention to the attending doctor in emergency that night that I was eagerly awaiting the results from a CT scan that I had in that hospital earlier in the month. I asked if he would mind telling me the results of the scan. I hope that March 18, 2015 will forever be the worst day of my life. Standing in my pajamas in the hallway of the emergency room I learned that I had a brain tumour.
It was a rough month which included among other things holding my crap together for my kids and fighting with my school to get my exams deferred. I managed to see a neurosurgeon in April and had a MRI which confirmed the presence of a tumour. In June I was able to get back into see the surgeon and surgery was tentatively scheduled for July 31. Before surgery I was determined to finish the exams I had outstanding and studied like a crazy person for weeks. The break in my studies from April to July did not help me as I found it necessary to relearn most of the content in order to write the exams during the month of July.

A few weeks before I was supposed to have a craniotomy I got a call to bump the surgery date to August 7th. My parents rearranged their flights and I breathed a sigh of relief. I really wasn’t looking forward to having my skull cut open. I was also interested in getting rid of the tumour which was hanging over me like a dark cloud but one week wasn’t such a big deal in the grand scheme of things. So on August 7th I headed to the hospital willingly wanting someone to cut my head open. On August 12th I was sprung from the hospital. It was exactly a year after I lost my job and my bad year started.

NY 2In theory I should have started the new year on August 13th but I was so high from the drugs I didn’t know what day it was for a while. So today I am kicking off the new year. I don’t want to wait until January and every day begins a new year anyway, right?

HAPPY NEW YEAR

The first 2 weeks after brain surgery

I have been writing about my experiences living with a brain tumour and the surgery to remove a brain tumour for 5 months. On March 18th of this year I was diagnosed with a meningioma that I promptly named Timmy. It was a long couple of months of patiently waiting to see what the next step would be. There was always a next appointment, another scan, or test. It was a process that seemed like an eternity but really it was less than 8 months from the initial head pain that sent me to the doctor until the surgery to remove the tumour.

Timmy was removed on August 7th. On August 12 five days after surgery I was released from the hospital. The recovery thus far has been so fast in comparison to all of the waiting pre-op. When I first got home I spent the better part of the first couple of days in my pj’s resting. My lovely parents were here with my husband to take care of the kids and I so I actually got to rest.

I was told before surgery that I could expect to be sensitive to light and sound after surgery, and I was very sensitive to light for a few days. I am still sensitive to sound 2 weeks later. The surgeon advised that it could take 4 weeks until my hearing went back to normal. My son was crying the other day and I couldn’t tell where he was, I went looking for him in the house only to discovery him outside. I am not hearing everything with an echo anymore so there is defiantly an improvement. I can tell that my hearing is slowly coming back, but it has been a bit of a process.

L
A little help with my hearing

Thankfully I am no longer dizzy when I stand up or when I walk because that was beyond annoying. We live in a two-story house and for a while I was gripping the railing for dear life. I am pretty happy that phase is behind me.

The bruises are almost healed. In another week I suspect that you won’t be able to see all of the places that I was poked for IV’s. The spot where I had the central line in my neck is still noticeable and I am going to guess that I will have a scar once it is totally healed. For the better part of two weeks I had a lovely bruise on my neck that looked like a hickey and then my neck bruised all the way to my collar-bone. Very attractive.

bruises
Bruises, Yuck

The staples that were holding the incision together were removed exactly one week after surgery, and then I got to wash my hair. It was a very exciting day even though I needed a spotter in the shower. I still wasn’t very steady and it was a long process to wash all of the surgery crud out of my hair. It has never felt better to wash my hair because it was crusted to my head.

They like tape in the hospital. For days after I was home I had tape residue all over my body. Most of it was a mystery. It’s like the crop circles of surgery. Why on earth was there a tape square on my belly?

There were a few surprises in the process besides the ECG pads and tape that I found still adhered to my body days after surgery. I didn’t realize that my hearing would be so impacted. I didn’t realize that the central line would cause my neck to be so sore for so long. I didn’t anticipate that my right hip would be sore when I woke up every morning because I am not moving in my sleep, I am only sleeping on the side of my head that wasn’t cut open. I have had some digestion issues as a result of the diet and medication that I didn’t count on. I was shocked that my leg muscles became total mush in the three days I was in bed. But most importantly I didn’t think that I would heal so quickly. I really thought that I would be medicated, in bed and dizzy for much longer than I was. In about 10 days I was off all medication. Within three days of surgery I was up and walking around and the dizziness lasted for about a week.

Now two weeks later I am up and about. I can’t drive yet, bending down to pick up Lego is on the “Do Not Do” list and I will not be scrubbing floors in the near future but other than that life is slowly returning to normal. In the midst of all of the brain tumour madness I received the news that I passed all of my exams in July and successfully completed the Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, the first step in the pursuit of a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. In the same week I received a call from the neurosurgeon’s office that my pathology report had come back and that the tumour was completely benign (which the surgeon had told me) and Grade 1 (which is the most common type of meningioma and it is unlikely to grow back). Three years ago also in August I had my second child and graduated with a Bachelor of Design in the same week. At the time I didn’t think that I would ever have a week like that again but last week was a close second.

I will be resting for the next two weeks in preparation for the start of a new school year. My oldest goes back to school, my youngest starts pre-school and I return as a graduate student. Just because he doesn’t want to be left out my husband will resume flight school. Here’s to the last two weeks before we all get back to school because it might actually be like a summer vacation.

Lessons from Timmy

After I was transferred from ICU to Close Observation following the removal of Timmy (my previous brain tumour) there wasn’t much to do for entertainment. For the first day or so I was resting with my eyes closed, I found the lights too bright and it was a little hard to focus. I wasn’t able to read, or talk for long periods so I would just lay there and listen. My husband was by my side when visiting hours would allow but he’s pretty quiet and he just let me rest.

Being that my only real source of entertainment was the action happening in the close observation ward I listened, and listened, and listened. I was in the ward with three other people but with nursing staff, visitors, doctors, housekeeping, food services it was a hot bed of activity.

Neighbour J

The neighbour to my right was a 17 year old surfer stuck in the body of a 27 year old diabetic alcoholic that broke his back in a car accident. He was in the hospital to stabilize his back, blood sugar, and to detox before surgery. He was having some pretty crazy hallucinations, yelling out in his sleep, and was forever confused. We both had to answer the same questions everyday:

  • Do you know where you are? His answer Philadelphia
  • What month is it? October
  • What year is it? 2005

Considering that we were in the hospital in August of 2015 he was a little out of it. I also learned that he just moved here from Ontario, and Niagara more specifically which is where I grew up. He had a huge suitcase with all of his possessions in the hospital because he didn’t have anywhere to live yet. He was forever trying to get out of bed, and the nursing staff had to keep a very close eye on him. His mom would call daily to learn of his condition, and I couldn’t help but think about my own kids and how scary the situation would be if that was my child lying in the hospital far from home. As his surgery got closer I could hear how scared he was getting. The nursing staff was trying to reassure him that it would all be ok but he I could still hear the anxiety in his voice.

you got thisBy this point I had nothing but empathy for the kid because I had also panicked about my surgery. So I asked the nurse for a pen and paper and I made him a card. On the front it said “You Got This” and on the inside I wrote him a note about my experience. He went off for surgery and returned later the same day. He was in a lot of pain but he was on the road to recovery.

Neighbour M

My neighbour on the other side was an eldery man with teenage grandchildren he also had a broken back and pneumonia. He couldn’t speak and was having a hell of a time being understood. He was asked to write out what he was trying to communicate but was struggling to make the words legible. He asked for water constantly but wasn’t allowed to drink. When he needed something from the nursing staff he would bang on his tray table. He needed to cough and have his throat suctioned hourly (which was a pretty gross sound) and it probably hurt like hell.

listenI listened as his son did an amazing job advocating for him. I listened as his daughter in law lost her patience and became a total bitch. I listened as his grandchildren told him about their days. I listened to the nurses, doctors, and respiratory specialists day after day try and help this man, some with more patience than others. One doctor who treated this man was truly wonderful, he was able to communicate in a way that no one else was able to. He seemed to be able to understand the mans writing and gestures. It gave me a sliver of hope for the patient.

Because I was in the position to listen all day every day I began to understand what the man was trying to say. When he wrote electr…… and the nurses guessed electricity (and then tried to make sense of electricity) he was really trying to ask about his electrolyte levels (which had just been tested). It was hours before someone figured out that he was asking about his electrolyte levels because most people saw a man that couldn’t communicate and unfortunately saw him as confused. I came to realize that he was intelligent, and he really wanted to get better.

What I noticed was that he would start trying to explain himself to one person and very rarely did anyone have enough time to figure out what he needed. So he would continue where he left off when the next person came in. The trouble with this is that no one listened to everything he said and it took forever for them to put the pieces together. His son was really great as was one of the doctors, but everyone else could have listened harder. By the third day I could understand him and his method of communication, and from the one sided conversation I could guess what he was asking and would occasionally shout what I though he was trying to say.

The morning that I was moved to out of Close Observation a doctor came in and told him in no uncertain terms that he was going to die. He was getting worse, and they couldn’t seem to get the pneumonia under control. They asked if he wanted to go back to the ICU, but they also said that there was a pretty good chance that the ICU wouldn’t take him back. My heart was breaking for this man who was really fighting to survive.

Neighbour T

When I left the close observation unit I was moved into a semi-private room with another patient. She was a 52 year old healthcare worker that had just under gone back surgery and was simultaneously quitting smoking. She had a morphine pump, and was mobile with assistance. I learned that she had become a single mother when her husband passed away when her daughter was 5 months old. I learned that she had to bury her first born grandchild, and her teenage niece. I can’t even image how difficult life has been for her.

diamondShe has a great sense of humour and an excellent outlook on life. We got along instantly, and because I was slightly more mobile than she was I was able to get her ice packs and drinks from the bar (aka the fridge in the hall). When I was screaming out in the middle of the night she buzzed the nursing staff to check on me (which I have no recollection of) but I have done it at home since so I am sure that it probably happened. During the day we laughed so hard that it hurt both of us, it was like a sleepover party for the injured.

I also learned although she didn’t specifically say it, that she has never had much money. She mentioned that she had always wanted to buy a house but couldn’t, and that she had only been on vacation out of the country once. She described her apartment building as the worst one in the city and I knew exactly which one she was talking about. Yet both she and her daughter love people and choose to work to help others as healthcare workers. She is truly an inspiration.

Lessons from Timmy

worthitHad I not been diagnosed with a brain tumour and gone through with the process to remove it there is so much that I wouldn’t have learned. I have never been very compassionate, I have always struggled to be empathetic, I am not the best listener and even though I practice patience I still get frustrated easily. This experience has taught me how important it is not to judge others, we are all humans doing the best we can with what we have. I have learned how to be more compassionate, how to be quiet and listen, and the importance of patience. Timmy is gone and in the process I have learned so much about myself, and my husband which I am truly grateful for. Timmy is gone and now I can continue on with the lessons I have learned. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.

On the road to recovery

Before I could be discharged from the hospital they needed to make sure that my pain was manageable without heavy narcotics. To be honest I was a little worried about where they would move me to because I had been out wandering the halls of the Neurosciences ward and it was pretty scary out there. The hallways were lined with wheelchairs that belonged to the residents of the floor. Everyday there was an elderly woman parked in the same location regardless of the time. One person had decorated their room with pictures, and another moaned all day. It was all a little depressing. I was also concerned that I would be in a room with elderly men cause that would make me uncomfortable. I had learned at my pre-admission appointment that the ward rooms were co-ed and had been worried about it ever since.

Fortunately for me I was given a semi-private room with one other woman. She was lovely and I will tell you more about her in another post. When I was moved I walked from one room to another while my husband, youngest and the nurse moved my furniture and belongings. I no longer had anything but band aids and staples attached to me and it was wonderful. I decided it was time to take a shower but I still wasn’t quite 100% sturdy on my feet so my husband was nice enough to help me. It’s pretty humbling as a grown woman to get someone else to help you put on your underwear. Thankfully it was just once but it made me think about how much of my health I take for granted.

Drawing pictures in my hospital room
Drawing pictures in my hospital room

My mom had come to visit and I decided that I was ready to go outside. Neuroscience was on the sixth floor so to get outside we needed to take the elevator. When we got off on the main floor there was a huge lineup for the elevator being that one was out of service and there were only two to begin with. At the end of the line I saw a woman that was about to give birth. Even in my semi-drugged state I realized that she should have been moved to the front of the line. I asked her if she was in labour even though it was clear from her sweaty red face. She said she was going to take the stairs and my mom pointed them out. I was making a small scene telling her and everyone that could hear how rude people could be. I suggested she flag down a porter pushing a patient in a wheelchair because he could probably get her into the service elevator, and about 10 minutes later my mom went up the stairs to make sure that she wasn’t having a baby in the stair well.

The following day I went for a longer walk and tried the stairs for the first time. I made it one flight when my husband looked at me and suggested the elevator. I was still experiencing quite a bit of dizziness because the tumour was removed from the part of the brain that controls balance. I needed a little lie down after our adventure outside, it was a little sad.

My doctor had been in the day before and said that I might be able to go home on August 12th. He also said that he was going to be going Salmon fishing for the day with friends from out of town but if I was ready to go home I should have the nursing staff call him. They did call him and at 8 pm I was released. I was so happy to get out of the hospital and it was time.

My super crusty hair.
My super crusty hair.

We had to stop at the drug store on the way to get my pain prescription. My hair was crusted to my head, it still had iodine and blood in it plus 6 days of dirt. But I couldn’t wash it until I got the staples out. I thought that I would have the worst hair in the store but no, there was a young guy there that had just dyed his hair blue, and his neck, shirt and belly. No one was staring at my dirty hair, band aid on my forehead or train track staples in the back of my head.

When we got home the kids were waiting for us in bed. I was still pretty sensitive to noise, and we talked about making sure not to yell in the same room as mommy. But then the kids asked things like, can we talk? can we play trucks? what if I have a nightmare can I call you? and the rules were tossed out.

After spending 5 night in the hospital I was so happy to sleep in my own bed I made myself right at home.

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Home sweet home