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View from outside the storm (standard:non fiction, 1172 words)
Author: EutychusAdded: Oct 27 2002Views/Reads: 2422/1526Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A recollection of the aftermath of a neurosurgical event from 1987

As I stood before the mirror and examined the fiery red flesh that
formed a reversed question mark on the right side of my head, my wife 
slipped up behind me and wrapped her arms around my chest. 

“You know, you will never be able to wear your hair the same again,” she
said and ran a hand gently across the half inch of hair that had grown 
in the two months following the second surgery. 

“What do you mean?” 

“You never really had a well-defined part in your hair to begin with and
since they shaved your head, I'll bet your hair has completely lost its 

“Could be. Do you think you can get used to making love to hair this
short?” I asked in an attempt to draw a look of exasperation from her. 

“The hair I can deal with. You really need to get some muscle tone back,
though,” she said and ran her hands over my shoulders and down my arms. 
“This feels like it belongs to a little boy. I miss the muscles. A 
month of inactivity has wiped you out.” 

“In more ways than one,” I said and winced at a twinge of pain above my
right ear. The headaches were backing down some but they still gave the 
occasional reminder that I wasn't yet at one hundred percent. 

After thirteen years of suffering under several neurologists, I and my
then-fiancé made the decision to try and treat my epilepsy by excising 
the source of the problem, namely a large bruise on the surface of my 
brain sustained while sitting on the bench at a little league game in 
the path of a foul ball. Following the two-surgery procedure that kept 
me in the Cleveland Clinic for close to a month, I was sent home to 
recover in familiar surroundings. 

The look on my wife's face spoke concern for the pain I was feeling, but
there was something else that remained unspoken. She desperately wanted 
to say something, to help balance out my pain, but was hesitant to do 
so for the same reason you never speak a birthday wish out loud before 
blowing out the candles. 

“Go ahead and say it. Someone has to eventually,” I said as I pushed on
the puffy area above my ear, feeling the “squish” of cerebro-spinal 
fluid that had leaked out of my skull and pooled beneath the scalp. It 
wasn't a dangerous development, but it could be distracting. 

“Do you realize that today makes sixty days since you've had a seizure?”

I had realized the developing trend a month earlier and this new mile
marker did not serve to diminish the confusion I was feeling. 
Logically, I knew that I had every reason to be ecstatic about the 
news, but the longer I went without a seizure, the less happy I felt. 
Strange the way receiving that for which you most long rarely produces 
the sense of fulfillment you thought it should. 

“Yes, I know,” I said in a tone that gave away my mindset. “And please
don't look at me like that. I've lived with seizures as a part of my 
daily routine for thirteen years. Facing the possibility of never 
having one again is kind of scary. I know it's why I had the surgery, 
but try and imagine suddenly never having your period again, keeping in 
mind the hormonal upheavals that are implied. Isn't the thought just a 
little frightening?” 

“Bad example, since it would mean I was either pregnant or finishing up
menopause. But I can imagine some uncertainty over the sudden change. 
And I called the Clinic yesterday to ask your doctor about this because 
I sensed that you might be feeling this way. Would you believe she said 
this was stress related?” 

“Hm... I guess I would. Since a seizure was my way of dealing with
stress, I never developed coping mechanisms for stress that life 
generally forces people into acquiring. Did she have any suggestions?” 

“Oh yes. Lots and lots of nookie.” 

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