So after my 8-hour surgery and emergency 2-hour surgery to remove the clot that had developed, I was sent to the post-op room and placed under observation for a few more hours. In the meantime, my family and friends that had expected to hear from the surgeon sometime in the late afternoon were freaking out because it was now almost 10:00pm and they had not heard a thing.
The next few days are pretty much a blur. I’m told that I had conversations that I don’t remember having. Doctors and nurses did things to me that I don’t rmember them doing. I remember the occasional blood test, but that’s about it. The first thing that I really remember with any type of detail was having my neurosurgeon’s fellow surgeon sitting on the foot of the hospital bed (ironcally, he’s the guy that I had met with to discuss the potential of Gamma Knife treatments). He was asking me questions, and the first one that I caught was “Repeat after me… ‘No ifs, ands, or buts.’” It took me a second and I had no idea why he was asking me to do this, but I did and he had a shocked look on his face as if I had done something miraculous. He asked me a few more random questions and then said he was going to send in a nurse to help me get up and start walking a bit. Walking was tough as the entire right half of the vision is each eye was gone, and what I did have on the left side left me seeing double. The nurse (who spoke in quite broken English) had me trying to read signs on the walls, but I was so confused and my vision was so messed up that I stood no chance. Nevertheless, the doctor sent me home the same day. I only remember bits and pieces of the following week.
The recovery time of an estimated 1-2 months turned into 6 months, and later into 9 months. I could barely read, my short-term memory was completely shot, I was replacing words with other random words and didn’t even realize what I was doing, I could barely remember names, I referred to my new bride (whom I had already been with for about 6 years) by my ex-girlfriend’s name, couldn’t figure out how to use a TV remote control, every food that I ate tasted completely different to me, the entire right side of my body had become weaker than the left side, my balance was almost non-existant, and I was beyond frustrated that no one understood what I was going through and I couldn’t explain it to them. One of my biggest fears was that I would have lost some of my abilities that have long been a very important part of my life. I have for a long time been into music. I sang in choirs all the way from high school and through college. I was in a band with some friends up in Monterey. I had finished recording my own solo CD just a matter of months before my surgery and here I was, having all of these issues to deal with and I was afraid that I would not be able to sogn or play the guitar. The first time I did try singing, I had lost any sense of pitch that I previously had, with the exception that I was able to tell that I was way off. So I sat, staring at my guitar for a couple of weeks, afraid to try to play because I didn’t know what it would sound like when I tried to play.
Well, two months of various types of therapy (physical, mental, emotional, occupational, etc.) I was back to a point that sort of resemled the old “Me” but I still had a lot of catching-up to do. I continued going in for monthly appointments with multiple doctors and for follow-up MRIs. After 9 months, I was back to work and to a point where anyone that did not already know me would have no idea that I had been in such bad shape just 9 months earlier. Those that do know me were still impressed by the recovery I had made, but the part that was really rough is that I still knew what I had going on inside my mind. Now here I am, back to the regular routines of daily life. I now have a son that is going to be turning 2 on February 5th. Oh… And the flavors that I am used to for food are back to normal, my tone-deafness was just temporary, and I can still play the guitar just fine.