Monday, March 19, 2007


I just got off the phone with my son, who, now that it is evident that I am on the mend, kindly filled me in on some of the gaps in my knowledge about my brain adventure. I really am lucky to be alive. Not just the timing - that if I hadn't collapsed in the office I'd be dead now - but the particulars of the aneurysm and the surgery. Because Boy of course went online and did research he knew enough to be freaked out. This was not a minor thing. I'm glad I don't remember the pre-surgery time. I really, truly was near death and I'm glad I wasn't aware of it.

This is what I had.

This man saved my life and left me with all of my brain functions intact, which under the circumstances is really quite remarkable. I was right to have faith in him. He took care of my husband twice - once after a car accident and once for renal brain mets - and he has this wonderful aura of calm and confidence (which should be a prerequisite for cutting on people's brains all day) and I had total faith in him.

I also understand now why the hospital staff was gawking at how well I was doing - the surgery I had was high risk and normally has a very long, slow recovery time. I bounced back in about 10 days, which is really unusual. Usual is several months. Per my son, Dr. SL was concerned about damage to my motor skills on my left side, but my condition was serious enough that they didn't have any other options but go forward with the surgery. My left side motor skills are totally normal and functional. He's my hero.

Amie asked about my vision - I think it is getting better. It's hard to tell whether it is because the "smudge" is going away or if my brain is just adapting to looking around it. Small print is still difficult, but a week ago typing an entry here was very difficult, like squinting through a smear of Vaseline, and now it's easier.

Yes, this is a knitting blog sometimes. I finished another hat for Dulaan, and started a scarf.

Yesterday L picked me up and took me out for lunch and to hang out at her house. We hadn't seen each other in a long time, though we do email regularly, and we had a lot to catch up on. When I think about moving, I hate the idea of leaving behind longtime friends like her, but at the same time, I've had an anvil dropped on my head, like Wile E. Coyote, and I think I'd better listen.


Sue Woo said...

I am so glad your are doing so well. You didn't die because you are not done yet. My thoughts are with you.

the otherJanet said...

Wow. I couldn't even get through the whole wikipedia entry it was so hairy. I can't imagine what it must be like for you to read that--or what it must've been like for your kids.

And there you are, knitting already!

k said...

Been off-line for a couple of days. Jefe's gone? I think you should be too. where, I don't know.

Catherine said...

Yeah, Jefe was let go the day after my brain blew - no connection between the two events. I'm looking at my options, and definitely putting the house on the market this year. Girl is planning her own future and we're going to try to coordinate our exodus to greener pastures (Amie, my daughter is looking at moving to Baltimore).

carlarey said...

Wow indeed. You are a lucky woman. I had a feeling Jefe wasn't long for that world. The disfunctional don't like to be shown the cracks in their system.

One of my friend's husband just went through the same brain thing, and when he woke up, his accent was gone.

My verification word is projenue. I imagine that is an old hooker.

poormary said...

Shit Fire!!

Well, just glad you came out the other side. Can't think of anything else to say.

Amie said...

Baltimore is lovely, and we have a wonderful raunchy raucous knit group she'd be welcome to join!

You mentioned losing your taste for coffee - after my surgery, I like chocolate. I never did before - didn't dislike it, but it was never my choice. But now I actually want it sometimes. Surgery does funky things to us, but it's a fair trade while it's saving our lives, right?

(and your surgeon looks very cheery and comforting. Good man.)

KnitNana said...

Wow is right. Congrats to you and bless your surgeon.

dragon knitter said...

that man deserves a medal. or something.

are you superwoman or something? it sounds like it! able to leap up after death defying strokes! holy cow.

how's the coffee thing going? i once spoke to a woman at a LYS who said she used to knit socks in days, and after her stroke, she struggled with garter stitch. she said she was getting it back, though. maybe you'll get the coffee back, too.

when the doctor clears you, are you going back, since jefe was canned? or have you told them adios?

Catherine said...

I did not have a stroke. I had a subarachnoid hemorrhage from a leaking aneurysm. It can cause a stroke, but it isn't a stroke.

Coffee came back today! I woke up at 2:30 a.m. with a wicked headache, took some Tylenol and eventually went back to sleep, and when I woke up this morning I decided I wanted coffee, and it tasted like coffee again. Weirdest damn thing - until today it tasted like bitter dishwater, though I didn't notice anything else tasting "off," coffee was nasty and undrinkable - same coffee I always make, in the same pot, made the same way, tasted horrible. Today it tasted good again. I have no idea if that is somehow related to last night's headache.

I've been told that chronic headaches are a lingering memory of a subarachnoid hemorrhage. I'm going to ask Dr. SL for some other pain meds on Thurs., I don't want to keep taking Tylenol. My brain appears to be on the mend, I don't need to kill my liver.

Amy in StL said...

I'm so glad to hear that you're doing better. I can imagine that such an event really does make you evaluate your life and what's important - versus what's easy. You were already so great at doing that in a level-headed way, you're bound to make the right decisions. Good luck with the headaches, I can't imagine having to live with daily ones!

Catherine said...

Dragon Knitter - I stand corrected, some websites do call a SAH a stroke, and others don't. The neuro staff drew a distinction, said I didn't have a stroke. Maybe because it didn't cause any neuro damage? Boy, I need to stop reading about this, it's scary as hell.

Lynn said...

Ok I've been reading your blog since there was a link from Whoopsie Daisy's blog abt your collapse and subsequent condition. I just happened to click on your brain dr and OMG he's in Orlando!! I live an hour north from you!
I'm glad you are feeling better and its amazing the improvements you are making so quickly. That was some scary stuff....