So, into the old Hamilon Hosp.
A few years ago a rather round lump formed on the back of my head. “A cyst,” my doctor deduced. “Easy to remove; we shall just chuck you under local, whip it out then stitch you back up. Easy peasy.”
And it was. Out the cyst went, myself humming tunes to drown out the noise of Dr Clare slicing open my scalp (you could seriously hear her cutting away). I went to work that afternoon with a bandage wound around my head, but all well and healed sensationally.
Three weeks later, the lump was back.
This time however, it had taken on a different feel. Rather than squishy and moveable, it was rock hard and unrelenting. I went back to Dr Clare, and another removal was scheduled.
“It may be that a little bit of cyst was left in,” she said. “Take two.”
This time, the removal was excruciating. As the nurse and doc went about getting it out, I could feel everything. Two more loads of anaesthetic were shot into my head, and it was finally numb.
“Well, this isn’t a cyst,” Dr Clare declared. “We shall send it off for testing.”
Such testing came back that the lump was in fact a mass of scalp and bone; nothing to worry about, no. So I went on my way for a year or so, until the bastard came back.
This time, it hurt. A lot. Headaches stemming from it, occasional hindrance on the eyesight (though this could have possibly been a result of my one eye short, one eye long sighted, but at the time I was sure it was because of the lump) and disrupted sleep. I was living in Brisbane at the time and went to my doctor down the road to get his thoughts.
“A cyst,” he determinedly diagnosed. “We’ll do it under local tomorrow.” Righto.
But the next day, the local didn’t hold again. When the doctor cut into my head, I knew something was wrong. “Well, this isn’t what I originally thought,” he muttered. “It’s too deep to remove like this, you’re going to need surgery. And it’s most certainly not a cyst.”
Tests came back that the offending lump was actually a neuroma, a benign tumor, or my personal favourite “ganglion” (brings to mind visions of Geodude the Pokemon). No need to fear, I was consoled. But it needed to come out.
I moved back to NZ and after a year of MRIs, CTs and ultrasounds I was finally given a date for surgery. Unfortunately, the date coincided with when I would be traipsing up the Nepalese terrains, so it had to be rescheduled. But finally a date was decided upon for Geodude removal; today!
So here we are. I am currently in my lovely lake-overlooking room with Deb in attendance for company. I’ve got my rambly Pop going (always comes out when I’m nervous; but I feel the doctors enjoy my downloading of brain diagrams to ask them where they’ll be heading – good pun – and queries about how anaesthetic works and how many patients have woken up in the middle of procedures). One extremely ideal aspect of being a writer as a profession; you can write anywhere! So Ward 8, room 6, has become my temporary office.
I had a shower before with the sterilising hospital shampoo (not the best for the locks; I’m now sporting a mince-and-cheese do) and I had a feel around the lump. Weird it’ll be gone by tonight; I’ve grown quite accustomed to its stabbing pains, its returning and rearing its head (pun again!) and having to do my hair around it in a particular way to avoid bobby pin punctures yet covering it up.
I’ve come to also view it as my own Voldemort (because everything must always link back to Harry P). I’m like Professor Quirrel with this lump of death eater furrowed at the base of my cranium. In some respects I’m a little sad to see it go; if I go to a dress up party now I’ll have to don a paper mâché Voldemort as well as a purple turban to pull it off, rather than make use of my scallywag growth. But it’ll be good to be gone (plus the surgeon has promised to take a few pics for me, and I’ve signed the paperwork for “returning of speciman” to me once it’s been subjected to testing. That’s going to look swell and be a fantastic talking point on the shelf in the lounge).
So here I am, in my DVT fiending off knee high socks, hosp prop pjs and lappy on the lap. Touch nervy, tad scared, but pumped for a bump-free head and the eradication of headaches.
(Nurse Mary- Beth – lovely lass from Tauranga – just informed me that there is the slight chance I may have to have a catheter inserted during surgery, so not to be alarmed should I wake up with my undies in an envelope at my bedside. I asked where the tube to my bladder will be inserted and she said through the uretha, whereupon I burst out, “What? Someone will have to fiddle with my unconscious fanny?!” I sincerely hope it shan’t be so, but have changed into my pink Heidi Klums just in case).