I deeply dislike this sketch. For a number of reasons. Firstly, it is an ugly chair in the waiting room of the MRI area in the windowless basement of Foothills. Dreary doesn't really do it justice. The staff in this area is sweet and kind. So that helps. I wrote "Interesting to note - it's ard to know where to start. I find the big picture doesn't come easily. I had a bit of work to line up all the ways the chair intersected properly. Not great. Not terrible Jan 12 2018"
A little bit of rambling about the drawing stuff before I get to my main topic. I feel like I don't quite know how to assess the image as a whole. I can see it, but it takes a real effort to account for all the variables and make a decision on what would be the best place to start. Apparently, this was far more intuitive pre-seizure and it took me a while to be able to articulate this. My written note on the above picture was a bit of a scratch to the surface.
On another note, I realize my photos are kind of blurry. Unprofessional. I apologize. A lot of my digital navigation is by feel right now and not by knowledge. My phone is being funny about giving me high quality pictures and I don't have the capacity to fiddle around for a solution. So bear with me in the meantime. At some point, maybe I'll redo these shots, but truth be had, I probably won't. They sort of suit how I feel right now. Blurry.
After the first sketch, I felt strongly that I needed to take that information I'd gleaned and see if I could find a work around. By going into the drawing knowing I had a disadvantage there, it felt easier to stop and gather information. I guess because I knew I wouldn't do it automatically. Teaching helps, because I go through what I've told students before to solve their problems and it worked for me. This drawing feels more successful. I wrote " At the MRI place in the basement of Foothills. This drawing was better because I made sure to pay attention to the big picture part. I forgot about drawing a border (which I prefer) Can't win. Jan 12 2018"
I'll be honest. I'm in such a weird place today. In less than 24 hours I'll be whisked away on a day I'll probably not remember much from but will be one of the most important days of my life. It's a bit overwhelming.
One of the questions that comes up is usually worded like this "how do you like your Neurosurgeon?" Which is code for "Do you think they will do a good job? That's kind of a big deal" I have met my neurosurgeon exactly once and really know very little about her. Yet, my husband and I left our consultation last week feeling really good that she will be the one to remove this Meningioma.
A few thoughts that made the decision easier. One is that we didn't get the chance to choose. Since I needed the surgery fairly promptly, they found me a surgeon who could fit me into their schedule. The other is knowing that I have no idea what qualifies someone to be a neurosurgeon but Foothills does. Since Foothills is a pretty decent sized hospital in a decent sized city - my chances are good. We realized that people who rate doctors on those medical sites are usually rating them based on bedside manner, so we didn't really hold too much weight (good or bad) to that sort of thing as well - I figure if there was some sort of awful outcome it would be noted but the rest would be based on how long the doctor listened etc. Stuff I would find out for myself.
Things That Made Me Trust My Neurosurgeon:
- She works primarily as a pediatric Neurosurgeon. I have a LOT of respect for that. I also think in it's weird way, that is a good fit for someone such as myself for a multitude of reasons. (insert jokes about juvenile sense of humour here) The fact that parents trust this doctor with the life of their child speaks volumes to me. I've been a parent with a kid going through surgery. That consent form feels a heck of a lot different than one for your grown up self.
- She works primarily as a pediatric Neurosurgeon. I want to stress this again. You can tell a lot about a person's character by the way they speak to and speak of children. She brought up a few examples of some situations her young patients have faced and I noticed three things: she was VERY protective of their privacy, she spoke about them VERY respectfully and you could tell there was a genuine kindness towards her young charges.
- She recommended that we name the tumor. She laughed when we said we had already done that. She then spent the rest of the meeting referring to Sally by her Christian name. (the theology of that term seems a little odd, but I don't have a way around it and I think it's amusing that my tumor has a Christian name. I know I could use the term "given name" but I refuse to)
- When she said "you won't know this about this about me, but I'm primarily a pediatric Neurosurgeon" I interrupted and laughed and said "yes I did, I absolutely stalked your RateMD page" and her response was to chuckle about that.
- When we asked her if she hears the same brain tumor jokes over and over again, she nodded and said "yes, every single day" and then laughed.
- When we asked if people were allowed to keep the tumor she said "no". and laughed. This made me trust her because very clearly, if anyone in this arrangement needs to be the grown mature person, it should be her.
- When MY HUSBAND asked if we could have a photo of the tumor, she laughed again and said "absolutely". (again, there are advantages to having a doctor who is used to children. None of these things phased her in the least.) While she was very doctor like and efficient, she very clearly had a sense of mirth around her.
- When I got a little emotional, she had TWO boxes of Kleenex in her office. For anyone who deals with people in emotional situations, you will recognize that as a very pro move.
- When she learned I was an artist, she asked what type. I told her about the painting and printmaking etc and she said "I pulled a print once!" and then proceeded to tell me of a special moment she had on a trip. It just so happens that the place she went to is one that I have long wanted to visit.
- She was good at explaining ALL the steps involved, all the possible risks. Like a doctor should. When we asked about recovery etc. Her advice was "all of this is based on ideal outcomes, at this point that is where we are going to live. Yes, there could be complications, but we are not going to live by worst case scenario" You have no idea how much that advice has stuck with me since then. About all sorts of non-surgery related stuff as well.
I told her to have an EXTRA relaxing weekend. I hope she took my advice.
I go into surgery tomorrow. I'm mostly ready but getting loose ends tied up and things packed is eating up my day. I see all your well wishes and I quite possibly will lose track of getting a response to you in the coming days. Just know your support during these difficult few weeks has lifted me up beyond measure. My next blog post will likely be an update from my husband. He might not format it the same way, he might not post it to social media, so if you are looking for an update in the next few days and haven't seen one, come back to my blog.
To my family and friends especially - just know how much I love and appreciate each of you. I'm looking forward to beginning the next chapter of this experiment.
To read the whole story of my Meningioma click here.