I woke up in the post-op room, but I don’t remember feeling any pain whatsoever. Frankly, I felt high as a kite! Those were some gooood meds! My whole family was shocked because I was wide awake, cracking jokes and acting as though everything was fine. My surgeon came back to see me and I continued to joke telling him, “I’ve had worse hangovers!” (My relationship with my neurosurgeon has always been light and sarcastic, which I love)
The nurse eventually told my family I needed to rest and once they left, I don’t remember much of that post-op room except for feeling strangely comfortable there. (Again, they were some gooood meds!)
It was when they moved me to the neuro-observation room that hell broke loose. The meds began to ware off. I could feel the intense pressure of the awful gauze turban. (I HATE that thing) It was also nighttime. I had a horrible fear of nighttime/bedtime suffering from years and years of insomnia. I also had new nurses, who I particularly didn’t like much. It was dark in there. I was closed off in my own little section, curtained between three other patients who themselves had just survived brain surgery. It was not a pleasant space.
The worst came when they advised I would have to undergo a post-op MRI. It was then I suffered the first panic attack of my life. I’ll be honest. Looking back, the nurse and the nurse’s assistant did not handle it well. The nurse said in a slightly obnoxious tone, “She’s having some sort of panic attack.” The nurse’s assistant, a very large and aggressive woman, held me down. Kindly, they at least IVed some meds and I did calm down.
Thankfully, and because my neurosurgeon is A-mazing, there was a total resection of the tumor. I was technically “cancer free” which is a term I still don’t apply to myself even now.
Although I understand it and accept it now through therapy, my husband refused to stay with me that night. Was it the best, kindest thing to do? No. Did he handle it well? No. However, I forgive him. It was all just too overwhelming for us.
So, after he left, the second panic attack of my life came on. I don’t remember much of it or how the nurse handled that one, but I know it happened. Maybe I’ve blocked it out, for good reason.
Eventually, it came time to leave that dreaded area. I hate that I’ve returned there two more times since.