DBS Journal: Taking Stock

Skyline at dusk, 11/15/09

Skyline at dusk, 11/15/09

As the anesthesia wears off, I’m finding it slightly easier to talk and form sentences. It can be deceptive – you think you are feeling fine, but then try to talk and everything comes out jumbled, stammering and lacking syntax.

As of right now, I can’t really complain about anything. My energy level is great. I have some pain, but it is manageable. If it wasn’t for the complication, I’d probably be ready to head back to the gym. I know I shouldn’t. Maybe the complication is a good thing, by forcing me to slow down and relax for a week or so.

I’m not experiencing tremendous pain, thank goodness, but the aches and other feelings are becoming more specific. When it gets to be a little too much, I can take a Percoset. There are four areas that we have to watch out for.

At the drilling site on my skull, there isn’t much happening. There is a large bandage in place there, and an occasional ache. The lead inside the brain is just there. It doesn’t cause any problems, because the brain itself has no pain receptors.

I can definitely feel the extension that is tunneled under the skin on the left side of my head—just a bit of a tug, to remind me it’s there. I can feel the wire near the pulse generator when I move my head through the range of motion. Sometimes this area aches and throbs.

The pulse generator is placed just below my left collarbone, and it only hurts when I move it. When our friend Sally moved in for the god-bye hug, she accidentally put her shoulder into the unit. That hurt. But it went away quickly.

Then there is the site of the complication, where the doctors inserted a Foley catheter only to discover some old scarring that they had to push through. As recently as Saturday afternoon, there was bleeding at the tip of the urethra, around the catheter. Yikes!

But it seems to be getting better, faster. For the first time since the surgery, I’m actually feeling comfortable down there. Suzanne went to the Gap to get me some looser-fitting pants and knit boxers, the better to handle the tubing and leg-mounted bag that I’ll be wearing for (augh!) another week.

The complication is tough luck. Why they couldn’t just hand me a jug, I don’t know. Even if I ended up breaking the sterile field, the violation would have been far less than the soaking that apparently occurred when the anesthesiologists put me out at the first sign of trouble. I was still damp after my second stretcher transfer, following the second MRI. Alterman’s PA said that was the second time he’d seen this problem in 20 years. Like I said, just my luck.

2 thoughts on “DBS Journal: Taking Stock

  1. Hey Bill, if you’re beating those kind of odds, perhaps you should buy a lottery ticket!

    In all, it pleases me to read that all effects sound uncomfortable at worst, but manageable. Just behave yourself – short term sacrifice is worth long term gain. The gym etc. will be waiting for you when you are ready.

  2. Great news, overall. Hopefully, the various post-op challenges will ease with the passing days and you’ll soon be in a new routine. Super photo, too.

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