A Day to be Endured!
The day of my stereotactic radiosurgery (gamma knife) at Allegheny General Hospital, to remove a small tumor from deep inside my brain.
We arrived at AGH at 5:30 am and wandered empty hallways, looking for the elevator that would take us to the 11th floor – to the ambulatory care center. We finally encountered a human being who led us to the correct elevator. In contrast to the empty hallways below, the waiting room there was jam packed! We waited. Coffee for Larry, shut-eye for me. Individually we were called to the registration desk, and from there sent down to a ready room to await the next step.
I changed into a hospital gown and waited on my gurney until they were ready for me on the radiation floor. At that point Larry left for home, to pick up some forgotten items. Costly, he used his validated parking ticket and had to pay full price upon return.
I was first given an MRI and then taken to a room where the frame was fitted. They had warned that the worst pain of the day would be from screwing the frame into my skull. Owwie! They were right! But the pain subsided after the frame was in place and set. The frame was uncomfortable, being heavy enough to impede head movement, and I could not put on my glasses behind it. Nor could I eat or drink.
After the frame was set in place, it was back to my room to wait until the computer that controls the gamma ray machine was programmed. This took several hours. Larry was there, and had brought a book to read, and I listened to an audio book by Amy Tan – “the Bonesetters Daughter”.
Finally, at long last, they were ready for me. Back down to the 4th floor. I was wheeled into the room with the gamma ray machine, and my frame was bolted into the bed that is wheeled into it’s hole. There was no movement of my head whatsoever. I was in place about 20 minutes as the gamma machine moved around me, shooting its rays into my skull. I was fully awake and aware the entire time.
When we were done, I was wheeled into another small room where the frame was removed. Owwie! For the second time today, I was feeling pain. It was short lived. I was released from that frame and sent back upstairs to recuperate.
A hot meatloaf dinner was waiting for me. Without the frame, I could get a fork to my mouth. Larry, who had in the meanwhile gone down to the cafeteria for his meal, shared my dessert.
By 5, we were released to go home. It had been a long day, and I was tired.
And by the next morning, I felt fine. Back to my old self again.