Yo Gamma Gamma

5:15 a.m. should not exist. What a bloody miserable time to wake up. That’s the time we arose in preparation for Shade’s Gamma Knife Surgery, the scariest named surgery on earth. The worst part of waking up early for an important medical procedure is that my brain is on high alert for the alarm to go off, or even worse, to NOT go off, and so it never really rests, growling in my head like an antsy guard dog, barking me awake every 15 minutes with the worry that we’ve overslept and missed the appointment. Aitza had the same issue. So we woke up at the dreaded quarter past the hour with that heavy cloak of weariness that shrouds insomniac victims for the rest of the day.

In this zombified and creaky state, I had to carry my increasingly heavy son down to the car, pack up our supplies (novel, computers, pillow pet, blankey, snacks), and head to Florida Hospital. On the way to the hospital, we got a call from one of the nurses: “Where are you?” Flashback: Two months ago we got a similar call on our way to the hospital for Shade’s first angiogram. We were late because admissions had called us the night before and told us to arrive at 8:30 a.m. instead of the previously requested 6:30 a.m. and we ended up getting bumped until the afternoon. Wouldn’t you know, we got a call last night with a similar order to arrive at 6:30 a.m. I questioned the lady on the phone, explaining that we had been bumped previously for showing late. “Well, whatever you do, don’t arrive before 6 a.m.” she said. “No one will be there if you come earlier.” Yep, she was full of it. David from the hospital was the nurse who called us this morning asking where we were. Luckily we had left the house quicker than expected and were only 5 minutes late. I relay this story as a warning to anyone going to any hospital appointment. Do NOT listen to the mysterious voice that calls you the night before and changes the time on you. From what I gather, that person is usually from hospital admissions and not from the doctor’s office. That person is clueless and will ruin your day. That person needs to be force cathetered with a garden hose for dealing out faulty information.

Back to our story. Shade had numerous procedures to suffer through today. He first got an IV tube inserted. (It took two times.) Then blood drawn, but not from the IV tube because it was a separate office and they said it was against procedure, so they stuck him in the other arm. After dressing him in a backless gown that was designed for Jabba the Hutt (they were out of kids sizes and, presumably, human sizes), he was wheeled to the angiogram room where he was dosed with happy juice and knocked out. He then had a Frankenstein helmet, also called the halo, attached to his head. This boxy contraption was actually screwed to his skull with four needle-tipped screws, two in his forehead and two on the back of his head, and was used to secure Shade’s head to the Gamma Knife. At this point he was given his second angiogram in two months, this one in his left groin area, so he has cool matching scars. The angiogram was to pinpoint the exact location of the AVM for the gamma knife. That took about an hour. Then they wheeled him to get an MRI, also for AVM location purposes. Once all those procedures were done, they took him to the Gamma Knife room. Dr. Trumble, the master of the Gamma Knife, attached Shade to the futuristic droid surgeon via the halo, flipped the switch on the computer and then sat back and read a magazine. I’m assuming. The doctor’s work is really all pre-procedure. He gets all the data to enter into the computer, which then it does all the beam shooting by itself. The doctor hangs out and monitors what’s going on. We found this out when he came to the waiting room and told us, “Shade’s having the procedure right now,” to which we raised eyebrows high.

Meanwhile, Aitza and I jumped from waiting room to waiting room, failing to take naps in too bright rooms with too cold AC and too loud TVs blaring too dreadful daytime talk shows. At least the Gamma Knife waiting room had an espresso machine.

Finally, Shade was rolled into the recovery room to, well, you know. When he finally awoke, an assistant came out to us in the waiting room and said only one parent could go back. One parent?! In 5 months, after three hospitals, including PICU units, and innumerable procedures, we have never been told only one parent can go see our kid. The sneering cow that led Aitza to Shade didn’t even make an attempt at some sort of commiserating explanation as to why. She just snorted, turned and loped away. I was fuming. 10 minutes into my smoldering, PT Melody popped into the waiting room. She works at the hospital on Tuesdays and dropped by to check on Shadey and bring him cookies. And because she had a badge and knew a back door, she was able to sneak in before me. She encouraged me to fill out a “suggestion” form to complain, but I was interrupted in mid-bitch when Aitza came out. The same heifer then led me back to Shade. I tried to burn holes in the back of her head with my lava glare, but it didn’t work. Her thick skull was reinforced with years of layering on the hard-headed act. Once I saw Shade, I forgot about the she-buffalo. Shade was still droopy eyed, but he was ready for a cookie and soda. It took about an hour before Shade was allowed to leave.

He’s done pretty good so far at home. He’s complained a bit about his head aching but that’s it. While I was writing this, my brother came by with Dadabob, who has just flown back from frigid Spokane. Dadabob hadn’t seen the boys for a month, so he bent down and gave Shade a hug and a firm tousle of his hair. This normally would be fine if you didn’t just have screws stuck in the back of your head that morning. Shade yelped and cried, and Dadabob felt awful. That’s a less than pleasant reunion on both sides. So now Shade’s whimpering on the couch with Mami, trying to calm down and settle after a double dose of Tylenol. He’s got two Bandaids stuck on each side of his forehead. I told him if anyone asks about them, to tell the person that you are growing devil horns and then hiss. It’s an effect of Gamma Knife Surgery.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Fantastic Voyage | Shade's Progress

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