The Best Halloween Gift of All (?)

At various points of my life, I’ve tried to convince those close to me that there should be a being, much like Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny, who brings presents on Halloween and/or Canadian Thanksgiving (the target holiday changes from time to time). The lack of such a beast has always felt like an unnecessary void: sure, candy is a gift in its own right, as is turkey, but accepting new toys from Santa when you were a kid didn’t mean that you had to forfeit them from your parents and other loved ones, did it? For reasons that I won’t try to explain, since they lack rationale, I chose a rodent as the mythical creature that, in a just world, would make the rounds in October, delighting children and adults alike with his (her? I haven’t decided) offerings.

Well, it seems that this year, the Halloween Rat will finally make his (I guess it’s settled: he’s a dude rat) premiere, if all goes according to the plan made this past Friday.

My appointment for the VNS consultation with my neurosurgeon was only scheduled a week ago, last Wednesday, and I saw him two days later since he had had a cancellation. My husband and I arrived at the hospital early in the morning. I was, as usual, a bundle of nerves, convinced that a vague *something* was going to go wrong. My husband was—also as usual—a reassuring presence.

I needn’t have worried: the surgeon readily agreed to move forward with the surgery to implant the VNS. I was, even in my glorious pessimism, relieved more than I was surprised. Astonishment came when I took the completed consent forms to the front desk. The secretary told me to take a seat; he’d call me up with a surgery date in a few minutes.

What? A surgery date? I certainly hadn’t been expecting to leave the hospital that morning with a scheduled procedure, and definitely not with one in the immediate future. To be honest, I’d assumed that I’d have a couple of months from the time I saw the surgeon to surgery go-time to let the decision to get a VNS settle—to talk to people about their experiences with the device, to do even more obsessive research, to enjoy not having a little computer in my chest, whatever that means. Instead, I was asked if I wanted to have the surgery on October 2, only two and a half weeks away. Not only did it feel too soon, but it would have meant cancelling a father-daughter trip that I’m really looking forward to. After a quick conversation with my husband, I decided to see if I could delay the procedure a bit, making clear to the secretary that if turning down the October 2 slot meant waiting until, say, February, I’d go with October 2.

The (very competent, very friendly) secretary spent a few minutes looking at the surgeon’s calendar again and let me know that October 31 was a possibility. Unlike the earlier date, to which my gut had reacted with confusion and panic, this one just felt … right. A little more time to process what I’m about to do/have done to me? Check. Not having to cancel my trip with Pops? Check. Becoming a cyborg on Halloween? Ultimate costume/true commitment.

The Halloween Rat is really pulling through for me this year. He’s ignored me up until now, so it’s about time.

IMG_6248
The Halloween Rat, bringer of gifts and VNS surgery.

 

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