Surgery From the Kid’s Point of View

KatieRose has had two Microvascular Decompression (brain) surgeries, one just a few days after her twelfth birthday, and a second two months after her 13th birthday  (additional compressions not found in by first neurosurgeon).  For a recent writing assignment, she had to write an essay about something that has happened to her, and chose to write about the first surgery.

Living through a terrifying yet a great life-changing experience can make someone stronger, and that’s what happened to me. I remember the night before the scary, stressful experience. My mom and dad took my sister and me out to Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a beautiful restaurant, and the food was a steamy, delicious delight, but I wasn’t thinking anything of it. I can’t remember if I’d really eaten anything either, I was too deep in thought and as nervous as a mouse to notice. All that night my stomach felt as if there was a pool of thick liquid and feathers mixing around.

Soon we arrived back at our room in a house for sick children. My mom and dad used the two twin beds, and my sister and I used blown-up mattresses. Lying in bed, I was tossing and turning in nervousness. I did soon fall asleep, but it seemed in a blink of an eye I was waking up again. It was still very dark outside, around five-thirty in the morning. Tiredly and groggily, I got ready to leave, my mom gave me a glass of water and a few pills and told me that was the most water I was allowed to drink for today. My mouth felt foamy, so I drank it with relief.

I can’t remember if we got a taxi, bus or rental car, but we piled into a vehicle and headed for the hospital. When signs passed directing drivers to John’s Hopkins Hospital, I’d close my eyes and try to gulp down my dread and fear. Taking deep, slow breaths helped as well, but every now and then I’d find myself fidgeting and shifting uncontrollably. I could hardly believe I was driving straight to brain surgery a few days after my twelfth birthday. Due to my Trigeminal Neuralgia, I was willing to do a lot to stop the invisible knife stabbing me in the face.

Finding myself sitting in the waiting room, I tried to fall asleep. Unfortunately, I’d find myself staring blankly at the floor, ceiling or walls. My dad gave me his laptop so I could play some games. This helped passed both the time and some of my fear—until one of the nurses, who I was surprised was even awake at this hour, called my name. We headed through a door and into the preoperative room where I got changed into a hospital gown and into a bed. Again I played on my dad’s laptop while the nurses put intravenous needles in me. I could feel something like a warm yet chilling ball in the pit of my stomach, probably fear. Later, they wheeled me into the operating room with my dad following me.

One of the nurses gave me a face mask and some sweet smelling chap stick. They told me the gasses would smell bad, but I could rub the inside of the mask with my favorite smell. In the operating room, I lay down on the metal operating table and waiting for them to place the mask on me. My stomach was swimming, yet I felt strangely relaxed. Little did I know they were giving me some sort of medication to make me relaxed. Putting the mask on me, the doctors told me nothing was going through it yet except oxygen. I took the mask off and replied, “Yeah, except the carbon dioxide I’m breathing out.” Once I placed the mask back on blackness followed.

Hearing voices, I was still wondering when they’d turn on the mask. My head was throbbing, and everything sounded muffled. Through a hoarse voice I said something along the lines of, “What happened?”

My mom replied, “It’s over.”

I told her I needed water. My mouth was like a sandy desert. The nurses and doctors said I wasn’t ready to consume anything yet. All of my other emotions were hidden somewhere, I was just very thirsty. After I had gotten ice chips, I was very tired and fell asleep. When I was conscious enough to think, I was very relieved and surprised the microvascular decompression went by so fast and went so well.

I had survived brain surgery.

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