When Life Changes Forever: Part VII
When I opened my eyes, I saw the nurse smiling and remembered what just happened.
I had brain surgery.
I felt very groggy, but I knew right away where I was. I remember feeling like the surgery must have happened long before, because my concept of time was so warped right then.
It all seemed like I was looking at things in the recovery room from someplace outside my body. The medication I was on certainly had something to do with that, but somewhere inside me I knew that I had leaped a huge hurdle.
Not too many hours into my recovery, some physical therapists came in to help sit me up. Since I am a fighter and hate to be thought of as helpless, I did my best to ignore the dizziness and sit up in my bed.
These therapists looked so young. I asked them with a chuckle, "How old are you girls? You don't even look old enough to be in college!" But they knew exactly what to do.
They asked me to draw a square and write my name - simple requests like that to see if I had any brain damage during my surgery. Sort of sarcastically - but happily - I replied, "Of course I can draw a square! I'm an artist!"
And I wrote my name quite beautifully too.
Looking back now, at the pictures with the bandages on my head, I understand why they thought that was a big deal. Things were looking good, even on my first day.
The three days in the hospital were as best as can be expected when one goes through something as intense as brain surgery. I knew I was recovering amazingly well and was surprised at how "normal" I felt - especially since I was expecting a whole lot worse.
The medicine, for starters, was obviously heavy duty for the first few days. I can't remember, for the life of me, what exactly it was, but I know the medicine wore me out. I did have to nap quite a bit while in the hospital.
There was some therapy I had to do too. I couldn't go home until Dr. Gutin saw that my balance was close to normal and I could walk OK. Needless to say, I was working on that quite a bit.
I couldn't wait to get home to my girls. Just home to my life.
When I was released that Sunday, it was a freezing, cold January day. But I can clearly remember how sunny and just how incredibly beautiful it actually was, and how it felt, as my husband and I left Sloan Kettering.
We both looked at each other and smiled because we knew it was finally over.
NYC was so quiet on that Sunday morning.
We got home in less than an hour. Home never felt quite so good.