Friday, November 15, 2013

DBS and me

November 15th 2012 started a journey for me, which I am still stumbling along on Nov 15th 2013 when I am writing this.

I call 2012 the year of facing my biggest fear.... for some reason have always feared heart n brain surgery and now I was told that as my meds were not working it was time to consider DBS also known as Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, and i had to have bilateral, that is have two electrodes implanted in my brain, and oh yeah, i had to stay awake during anesthesia except local. This was first put forth to me in April and my first instinct was no way, then finally did some research and agreed....then followed a rigorous process from which they determine if i am physically, mentally and emotionally ready for the surgery...was given  the green signal n the date set.

November 15th came and we left home around 4.30 am as the hospital was an hour and a half away and we were asked to report at 6.30 am. It was my  husband and me and my brother joined us at the hospital...Was signed in, processed, taken to a waiting room alone first,  where i was asked to change into the sexy backless gown they provide and the dreary grey socks...asked the nurse, why they don't have pink ones..anyway was asked to pee in a cup, came lay on the bed and then started a parade of people...first the nurse taking my vitals...she asked my weight twice when i told her 90 pounds, asked if i had any piercings, tattoos, drank alcohol, did drugs etc to which my answer was a boring no.

The anesthesiologist walked in and asked for my vitals from the nurse...when she told him my weight he  was surprised....he said is she 44 or 24, turned and gave me a look:) I asked him why is he there as I have to be awake...he said they have to be there in the room as standby. And meanwhile there were a flurry of people, asked to sign different forms...then they started me on a heavy dosage of antibiotics, intravenously. Meanwhile my hubby and bro were allowed in the room...along with Shari, my DBS nurse.   She would be my lifeline, my advocate during the surgery.  As we were waiting for my drip to get over, i suddenly started having itching all over my body, i told the nurse and she immediately called someone and they determined that it was a known reaction to the antibiotic.... I really had no option, but to have the entire dosage of antibiotic, otherwise no surgery.  Luckily they found out that if they lowered the speed, it helped. would take longer but at last itching came down.

Then soon it was time to say bye to my hubby and bro as they wheeled me in to surgery, with Shari by my side. my heart was pounding, throat parched, was without meds and no fluids or food for more than 12 hours now.... The first order of business was shaving my head, which a male nurse with a cordless razor, proceeded too do so.  The surgery room was swarming with people.  it was an eye opener as to the number of people and depts involved.  Then saw my doctor who came by patted my arm and asked me how i am doing? I told him  i m ready to get screwed and drilled:)

After shaving my head they got ready for the next step, attaching what i called "the halo" on my head...they literally had to screw that on my head at four different places.  For that they had to give me numbing injections at four different places...the pain of the injections took my breath away as i squeezed Shari's hand. after the injections she patted my hands and said she had seen many a burly men reduced to tears and she was proud of me... then one of the nurse straddled me from the front while another at the back started screwing this pretty heavy thing on my pain, but a lot of pressure and noise and finally the halo was set.

Then I had to go in for an MRI where they took multiple slides of my brain....hate MRI machines and it was a real pain.... then back to the operating room where they screwed the frame screwed to my head to the surgery table.  Then started the long arduous process of measuring, taking countless xrays for them to determine the spot, discussion,, till they marked the spot on my head.  Again numbing injection, where i screamed in pain and then they cut a couple of patches on my was a weird feeling...not much of pain, but could feel the pressure of the knife cutting.....through all this Shari, kept on asking me how i am, had me covered in blankets, got multiple pillows and tried to make me as comfortable as possible.  Then they warned me that they would start the drilling process. A LOT of pressure as they pushed down and the machine sounded as if a plane was taking off right over my head.   Then one of the other doctor was trying to find the exact coordinates on his laptop....I heard an uh oh...apparently my brain was not cooperating and he was having trouble finding the coordinates...then finally a shout...yes! as i suddenly heard some buzzing noise....apparently my brain finally started talking... he rattled of some numbers to the surgeon and he proceeded to insert the electrodes.  they needed a longer electrode for my head, anyways in went the electrode.  I was very tired and ornery by this time and was ready for this  to be over....but they still had to drill in thee other one.  Though this one went by a little faster as they knew where they were going....then after almost eight excruciating hours the magic words...done...then to the anesthesiologist...put her to sleep...but i was so wired that it took them a few minutes to put me down.....then blessed oblivion...phew!!!

Awoke in the recovery cubicle, was taken for a CAT Scan to make sure everything was OK. After a while my hubby and bro were allowed to visit me and they found me sipping ginger ale and eating honey graham crackers as i was hungry...was almost 5.30 pm.... I was supposed to stay overnight and released the next just barely 24 hours after the surgery i was released in the care of my family.  Luckily my in-laws were with us which was heaven sent. Could not have done it without them.

But wait it was not over yet...After 5 days on Nov 20th I went back for another surgery. This was to be an hour surgery under full anesthesia to put in the battery pack and it was supposed to be a day trip.  But when i awoke from the surgery my heart was apparently beating unusually fast so they decided to keep me overnight for observation.

Finally I was done with the the recovery process... will be continued:)

Here is the youtube link to the video of my surgery


Vickie Roark said...

just wondering, as i am planning dbs surgery in 2014, do they shave your WHOLE head?

Su Kasib said...

Vickie, my doc insisted on shaving my whole head as it reduces the chances of infection. Every Doctor is different. Now a year later, my hair has grown back:)

Cathy C. said...

Yes, they shave your whole head...

Anonymous said...

Hey Munu,

You are really brave. You have an amazing sense of humor.
Very detailed writeup of your experience.


Su Kasib said...

thanks Sons

Cameron Von St James said...

Hi Su. I really enjoyed reading this post and had a question and was hoping you could email me. I really appreciate your time and hope you have a wonderful day!