The following article is meant to serve as a decision making guide to help you organize your thoughts should you be contemplating elective surgery.
Step number one is done. Today, Renee and I met the neurosurgeon to explore the benefits and risks of DBS (deep brain stimulation). We were both impressed with his bedside manner. He succinctly went through the procedure he would do, as well as the risks (brain bleed/stroke, infection, misplaced wires, etc.) and expected benefits. He listened to our concerns and answered our questions in a caring way. We both liked him.
Step two is deciding if I’m going to have DBS. Many of you know that I have a unique way of looking at statistics. In his hand, the risk of a significant brain bleed is around one percent. In my experience, it’s around one percent for the masses; but, for the individual, it’s 50%. Yep, either you are going to have a stroke or you aren’t. I already have neurologic deficits, a bleed would mean a worsening of my deficit.
Step three involves deciding when and where to have my surgery if I should decide to have DBS. Recovery is 6-8 weeks and I love summer, gardening and swimming. That means the soonest I would contemplate surgery is October. Certainly, the decision of when is predicated on the progression of my disease. At my current rate of deterioration, I’ll be able to wait till October.
Steps four and five are the hardest. Step four is losing weight and getting into better shape. There is nothing like the threat of surgery to motivate me to get into shape.
Step five is to write ironclad advanced directives. Should something catastrophic happens, leaving me more disabled than I already am, my family needs to promise to let me go. I am never to be admitted to a nursing home or bedridden in my own home. (Well, maybe if my nurse’s aids are hired at the local whore house, I’ll consent to a few days as a bedridden invalid before I’m dispatched to wherever we go when we are dead.)
My decision is not going to be an easy one. It won’t be easy for me or my family. For the time being, I’ll live with the deficits I have and make the best out of them.
Renee, I need another shower. ….. I know it’s only been 2 hours but I’m sweaty. …. OK, if that’s not a good enough excuse, I spilled pickle juice all over me……. I forgot I used that excuse this morning. ……Oh no, I’m incontinent! I really need another shower.
Here’s your joke for today:
I called my wife at work and asked, “Do you ever get a shooting pain across your body, like someone’s got a voodoo doll of you and they’re stabbing it?” Sounding concerned, she said, “No.”
I responded, “How about now?”