DBS Journal: Rest, Recuperate, Reflect

I received Irene’s photographs of the surgery via e-mail this morning, and that led me to think about just how graphic the account of the surgery ought to be. I’m going to go graphic, because I think you want to know details. Knowing these details helps to imagine the scene, safely inhabit it and develop coping strategies.

I don’t to scare anyone off: I am an advocate for the procedure. The benefits definitely exceed the costs. You’ll know that to be true in the moment during the surgery when they enervate the target. You’ll know that the programming will work, that your tremor is going to totally stop, even that internal tremor that’s so hard to describe. And you will cry.

I would have made more progress on the essay detailing the DBS procedure itself, but I learned an important lesson: writing and Percosets don’t go well together. It took that as a sign that other things weren’t working as well, so I took the day off, just like I’m supposed to.

Today’s pain report:

Percosets do work well for pain. And that is starting to diminish. The chest site, where the IPG resides, is getting less sore by the hour. I’m quickly regaining full range of motion in my left arm. I’ve figured out that the sore forehead and rear suboccipital areas correspond to the four points where the halo (stereotactic head frame) was screwed into my skull. The forehead pain is nearly gone, and I can only hope that the neck pain that was so intense this morning will soon start to go away, too.

The most persistent pain today is just above the left ear, where the extension takes a little dogleg. It’s at this point that I can feel the extension along much of its length, as I turn my head to the right in a range-of-motion test. It’s not that I’m doing this over and over to deliberately injure myself (although I have to admire the doctor’s craftsmanship in hiding the wire —  this is the only way I can feel where it runs along my neck on its way to the IPG). I’m kind of glad that the wire tugs at that point and not at the burr hole. At that site, the itching feeling is starting to increase. That’s a good sign!