Christmas CheER and Another Surgery Countdown

I’m back in Toronto after a few mostly nice weeks in BC with my parents.

For suspension-building purposes, I’ll start with the good. The trip was pleasant in that it was, on the whole, relaxing, a great opportunity to see friends and family and to take care of myself while recovering from my recent concussion. I did a lot of sitting in front of the fireplace and eating Advent-calendar chocolate (a whole month’s worth in thirteen days—I can’t decide whether to be proud or ashamed of myself); I played Settlers of Catan with my mother and father, winning five times in a row (but who’s counting?); I scored the greatest victory of my thirty-odd years of life and convinced my mom to turn the heat on. I reconnected with people I hadn’t seen in years. I bought several pairs of fuzzy socks.

And now, the inevitable bad. The first week was pretty seizureless, but at the beginning of week two, my neurons started getting feisty. It was on the second Saturday night of my stay, though, that things went really haywire: in the middle of the night, I went to my parents’ bedroom, very upset and unable to walk properly. I eventually slept, but when the next day I was still experiencing marked, abnormal-for-me symptoms, the decision was made, in collaboration with my husband, to head to the emergency room.

My mom, dad, and I were there for a total of around five hours or so, including the time it took to get a CT scan. The main concern—and the reason we got my brain checked out in the first place, not something I usually do after a regular ‘ol seizure—was the possibility that there was a post-concussion complication that had been missed, even if it seemed unlikely almost two weeks after the fact, and it was important to rule out bleeds, a stroke, etc., particularly given the issues that I was having with gait, speech, and keeping my eyes open. (In the perhaps-un-PC words of the nice nurse who first assessed me: “If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were on something.”) The scan came back clear, which was great, and with the hypothesis that my symptoms were the result of an extra-weird seizure on top of the concussion. In other words, a little reassurance and no concrete answers.

The most interesting part of ER Trip December 2016 was how lucky it made me feel, on several levels, about where I live. First, that I’m a Canadian citizen and didn’t need to worry about how I would pay for my medical care, even though I was out of my province of residence. Second, that I’ve made my home in a major urban centre: several references were made to how much better the resources are in Toronto than they are in Victoria (which makes sense, of course, given that it’s a much, much larger city). In fact, nice-nurse went so far as to ask me if I moved here in order to get superior medical care, and the doctor later told me that patients are sent from Victoria to Toronto for the procedure that I’m having in January (which blew my mind). Ultimately, the same doctor said that although he could keep me for observation, the best thing for my care, in my situation, was to get back to Toronto as quickly as possible in order to be in closer proximity to my specialists.

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IV bling. I’m nothing if not classy. #notclassy

I flew home two days later, without incident, and have been here for just over a week now. My brother and sister-in-law arrived last Friday and will spend Christmas with us. It’ll be my first Christmas in my own home, and I’m excited to start new traditions with my husband. We’ve already put up a real (non-fake) tree, something we haven’t been able to do in the past since we’ve always travelled for the holidays. #firehazard

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Please note our glorious tree topper.

With the bustle of recent visitors, the “excitement” of a concussion, and the distraction of a cross-country trip, I did a pretty good job of pushing my rescheduled surgery out of my head. Today, however, marks the two-weeks-’til-surgery mark, making it harder to avoid the fact that it’s quickly approaching. Christmas offers its own diversions, and I’m so grateful to have loved ones here with whom to celebrate. Before I know it, the Big Day will be here (again). Fingers crossed that it goes ahead this time: I have a good feeling that it will. New year, new brain.

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