On February 8th, I went into surgery at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto. A customer allowed me and my husband to stay at his house so that we didn’t have to leave Monterey at 3am in order to be there at my 5am check in time.
When I arrived, they were basically waiting for me. As I was being prepped, the anesthesiologist came in to say hello, and so did my surgeon. They were both enthusiastic about the process and reassured me that all would be well.
I was undressed, in a gown, my head secured in a brace when I was wheeled into the operating room. I was put to sleep. I woke up three hours later, feeling as though it was just a few minutes. My scalp was full of staples where they had opened me up to install the chip. With the chip are two stimulating wires directed at either sides of the brain.
I was so sleepy when the nurse came in to check my vitals, I barely noticed her except to tell her my name and birthdate. She asked if I knew where I was and why. That first time, I had to think about it, but I was able to give the appropriate answers as needed
My surgeon came in to see me and let me know that all went well. I could see by the look on his face that he was pleased. He wished me the best and moved on. Then my husband came to see me. With him was the man who let us stay with him. I was surprised to see him, but very glad to see that he truly supported us, as he had also been a Stanford patient. He knows the routine.
The pain was a bit intense, as the skin of my head was stapled together in a few areas. The largest area was on the right side of my skull, with a few on the left. It felt as though my head was laying inside a bowl smaller than my head. Especially when I laid down. Still does with the staples removed, but the bowl is broken and I’m laying on parts.
Everyday, the pain subsides and my comfort level gets better. Every few days I am in need of the Norco prescribed for the pain, but I only take it when the it is severe. It also helps with the pain I’ve been dealing with in my right hip for a long time.
Right now, the chip is getting to know me and my activities. It can record these activities, and be useful to my doctors at Stanford and research for their students. In late March, I will go back up to Stanford to have the stimulators turned on.
When the stimulators are in action, they will work to detect the seizures. Basically, when the stimulators sense that a seizure is about to start, they will send a message to the chip and a message will go back to stop the seizure.
The hospital gave me a set of items to record and send back to Stanford. In the set, there is a magnet. This is to wave over the chip when something happens, which will draw the information closer toward the chip. There is what’s called a wand. This is connected to the computer that they also provided. As I hold the wand near the chip, it will record the info into the computer. When all is drawn, I will then send what’s recorded to Stanford. The computer is set up to make it all very simple.
It’s a very fascinating system, and all I can hope is that it works well, and that I can feel confident in myself and be seizure free. Be able to do things that I can’t do now without being dependent on others for help.
For a couple of months, I need to take it easy. No lifting of anything over 5 pounds, which in my profession is extremely difficult. Luckily, I have help everyday. I cannot put my head below my heart, which I need to think about when I pick something off the floor. No stress on the body or on the mind.
In other words, take it easy. Those who know me know that will be a challenge.