I am cutting my hair very short today so a man can drill a hole in my head.
Long hair has been my last luxury of youth; a hold out against becoming a little old lady in purple polyester pants and cat’s eye glasses bobbing on my ample chest from a bedazzled string. I am told that it will never come to that for this child of the 60’s. I’ll be resplendent in my latter day hippie chick attire for the rest of my days.
But the hair’s got to go. I am doing it in stages. The last harvest in December sent twelve inches of auburn hair to Locks of Love. This crop will not yield those kinds of results.
All this angst and concern is because…? I will be having Deep Brain Stimulation surgery in a couple of days. It will, with any luck, reduce or eliminate some of the tremors, ticks, freezes, falls and, yes, pain that Parkinson’s creates. And the time is right since the medications I have been taking for a near decade are no longer working.
Dr. Foote and Dr. Okun do a TED talk. They are so COOL!
In fact, they sometimes amplify my symptoms causing me to rock and flap and kick my legs is a hellish ballet. Sometimes my toes cramp up so hard they feel as though they will break into shards. My left leg is turning inward causing knee and hip pain and a strange loping way of walking. And the beat goes on…
Brain. Beautiful brain.
There is electrical chaos in a part of my brain called the substantia nigra. The cells there, in stages, have gone rogue or died ceasing to function; ceasing to send the synchronized signals to my muscles. The celebrated Dr. Kelly Foote of the University of Florida Movement Disorders and Neurological Surgery Department will open a hole in my skull about the size of a nickel and will thread electrical leads into my brain carefully searching for the “target.” A device similar to a pacemaker imbedded in my chest will then control those maverick electrical pulses rounding them up and organizing them into nice synchronized herds..
Airport security is going to be a treat now with all those bionics. And, I may come to fear garage door openers…
I will be fully conscious throughout this procedure. My head will be enclosed in a cage rendering me immobile while a CAT scan and an MRI work in tandem to locate the target. It is going to be wickedly scary and difficult because my neck and shoulders will fight hard against being forced to be immobile.
H. Bosch's depiction of a primitive brain surgery scenario.
We've come a long way from that
Here is a comforting fact: Apparently boring holes in people’s heads for medical reasons, called trepanning, has been a widespread practice since 5000 years B.C. for “medical” reasons. From fossil human remains they found that some survived the ordeal and lived a long time. Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville, Florida is assuredly a far superior place to wield the skull bore and poke around in my brain, so I am encouraged.
The act of typing is hit or miss, and the constant typos I tap out wear me out. Too shaky. I rest and recharge between typing paragraphs, which is disappointing. I really want to write again and add to my collection of short subjects. But, on the bright side, where I choose to hang out, when we get through this we’ll have a toast.
I am the best martini maker ever.
Shaken, not stirred.
Friends, If you all would kindly send your energy, prayers, meditations, out of body presences to me Wednesday, September 18th when I will be undergoing this amazing technologically advanced procedure, I know I will feel wrapped in connectedness and healing because you’ll be right there with me in spirit. It will be life changing…