Sunday, 18 March 2012

4.5 Hours and I Lived....Sort Of...

With all the tests completed, Dr. Cameron schedules the surgery for December 05.  He had decided the flight to Montreal would kill me and time was of the essence.
I was wheeled into the O.R. where I was hooked up to all the gadgets that would be needed for this delicate operation.
Dr. Cameron explained that I might awake with some speech issues and I said, "O.K."

What he actually meant was that he felt I would awake paralyzed down the right side of the body, be speechless and that my short term memory would be all but gone.
This was the reality my parents had been prepared for including possible death.
All was uncertain until the actual event where the doctors revealed my brain and went to work trying to mend the damaged arteries.
The operation was scheduled to last 4.5 hours.
The night before the male nurse showed up to my room and informed me it was time to be shaved again.
I laughed at the thought there was anymore hair left below the waste.
He said its time to remove all the hair on your head.  I sighed and said "Fly at er".
He did and for the first time I realized how much insulation the hair was.  It was 70 degrees inside and I felt cold.
The first step in the operation after being put under, was to cut the skin around the skull.  It was in the shape of a question mark.  The surgical term was in fact an "Australian Question Mark Incision".
The doctor peals back the skin towards the eye and then he brings out the drill.
A half dozen burr holes are drilled and the saw is passed through one hole through to the other and a cut of the skull is made.  The skull is removed and the surgery is now on in earnest and there is no turning back.

When the doctor opened me up he was surprised to discover an artery ballooned and on the verge of rupture.
There were 2 blood clots the size of a man's thumb.
One of the clots was on the surface of the brain while the other went deep inside.
This now routine operation, if one could refer to any brain operation that way, had become more complicated.
Rather than 4 and a half hours the surgery would slip easily past the 5 hour mark, then the 6th and then the 7th hour and finish at 7 and a half hours point.
My parents obviously knew this meant the doctors had met with complications and the outcome could not be good.
Dr. Mackie, who assisted Dr. Cameron came to the waiting room, looking ashen faced and completely worn out.
He first apologized that Dr. Cameron was not here but an emergency had just arrived and he was back in surgery.
He explained the complications of the aneurysm needing to be clipped.  The two blood clots that were removed and said that he would not know how well the operation went until Kevin awoke.
He also mentioned that I could awake and then regress as the brain may still swell after the surgery and I might even have seizures.
The good news for my parents was that I lived!

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