Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Stillness Between Two Waves

Oh my gosh I'm here typing with one hand from my hospital bed -- me, not Ethan.  Whew.  I really want to give you the whole blow-by-blow of this whole (did I accidently call it some sort of adventure?! Dummy Cathy! Naive!), but I'm still having a bit of a time focusing and proofreading, so we'll see how far I get tonight.  On last Monday it all seemed fine and goofy, about 7 of us ladies getting trapped in the main women's bathroom on the first floor of UVA Hospital, with useless maintenance guys on cell phones and Ethan saving the day by jimmying the broken latch with a credit card (That's my husband!) to save the day.  Nearly one week later things are very different for me and I'm trying to find and channel my original peace and strength in dealing with this.  I actually thought recovery would be easy! Vacation, sloth, easy I see that the body cannot be directed in that way or even be predictable anymore.  I guess I didn't learn much at Target afterall!

I had hoped to be amblin' around Thursday, home by tonight...but I'm still tethered to the hospital for one or two nights.  There have been many tears but also many visitors, which has helped to bring humor and happiness to the situation.  And thank God for nurses, my lifeline to humanity in those dark and early hours. 

The bottom line is that the actually surgery was the easy part, though my friend Leah took a picture of my head and I could not believe how big my scar is! I really just needed fetynal (sp) once and I've had Tylnol ever since.  Take that skull! I get the staples out next week (ewww) and hopefully can wash these natty dreads out of my hair.  I'm definitely feeling a bit ripe.  There's a small clipped spot in my hair but I look the same.

The problem right now is no use of my left hand.  I can lift my shoulder, use my tricep, bicep, left leg, can walk, etc...but I can't squeeze or grip my fingers...and my arm is kind of like dead weight right now.  NOW -- I can handle this, once the swelling ceases and I get a little physical therapy, it should come back in 3 weeks.  BUT, I am now experiencing seizures in my left hand.  The first one was my whole arm and neck, maybe on Wednesday and the docs just kind of watch and time you while you helplessly thrash about with wide eyes.  I immediately got an injection of Ativan (a favorite) and then put on a hefty dose of Dilantin, in addition to my Keppra (both antiseizure meds).  These meds have localized the seizures to my hand, but it keps happening.  Sometimes my hand bounces around for 4 minutes, other times 30 seconds.  Either way, I feel as if I've stuck my hand in a socket and I feel embarrassed in front of my visitors.  It won't stop yet, and now I'm stuck here until they try to figure out my medication levels.  The Dilantin should be high enough to hold these things off -- but everyone's different.  It's such a bummer! I did not antipate the seizure problem but Dr. Shaffrey did say my brain is a bit irritated at me rght now.  I'll have to come back to UVA to meet with the Epilepsy doc pretty regularly.  I'm troubled by this obviously. 

I have so much more to post, mostly amazing moments, lots of pictures of people who have helped me through this, thanks to visitors and some funny moments...but I'll get to that in good time.  Once I'm home, our door is open to whoever wants to visit, have a mini-vacation in our super-exciting Lynchburg, or just hang.  I hope some of you can make the trip, I may be gimpy but we'll treat ya right!


  1. I love you so much Cathy. So very much. What a crazy ride you are on my dear. One certain thing gone- the tumor- and so much new uncertain ground ahead. You are gorgeous. So damn brave and beautiful. I still wish I could be there to read you the times and give you a foot (and hand) rub. I am here in my lame little way. love- sar

  2. Seizures seem to be the body's way of adjusting or complaining or something. My mom had several after her kidneys failed (totally unrelated to your condition, I know) and it was scary. Being out of control and being able to watch it happen . . . I'm glad you have good doctors who are on the case! We want to come "up South" this summer and will definitely stop by Lynchburg!

  3. CAP- that must have taken you AGES to type with one hand!! You must be exhausted!! Thanks for the great update.
    To all- Cathy made me promise not to let the pic of her scar go I won't be posting it. However...I LOVE Dunkin' Donuts coffee (living in Boston did that to me) and can be bribed...all on the down low...of course!!
    Just kidding..I wouldn't do that to you Cathy.
    I LOVE YOU!!
    I'm coming to visit you at your new Rehab B&B in Lynchburg and we'll have a turban party damn it!! I bought all of this gauze!!

  4. Hey Honey -- so glad to have you back and in such fine form (siezures not withstanding).

    It's all a process, right? You're body will adjust and adapt and all will be well.

    In the meantime, I keep dreaming that you and I are on vacation in Mexico, lying on the beach (you have a big, floppy hat on), drinking local tequila, discussing all of life's complexities and conundrums, enjoying the fanning talents of young Latino men named Raphael and Paco.

    I love you dear.