Below is another part of My AVM Story: the recounting of the discovery, removal, rehabilitation, and survival of an arteriovenus malformation. To read from the beginning of the story, click here.
Waking up from a Coma
I did not know prior to the surgery that I would be put into a coma. It’s kind of weird waking up from it.
Chunk! (think big level used to turn on stage lights)
BRIGHT red light is directly over my head shining in my eyes. (Hindsight tells me my eyes were closed hence the red. I think I was still in my ICU room.)
Dr. F.: Emily, do you want to get this tube out of your mouth?
I have a tube in my mouth? Huh, well, he sounds like getting it out is a good thing… I nod yes.
Dr. F and the nurses laugh. I’m a little confused why they’re laughing. They asked me a question, and I answered. I wonder if they weren’t expecting an answer.
Dr. F.: Ok, you going to feel a little pull while we get the tape off. There’s some on your nose and your cheeks.
“Little pull” my hiney, that medical tape sticks like glue. It is the most lethal weapon they have at the hospital. I think all the captured terrorists would start talking really quick if they just put some medical tape on a hairy part of their body and RIP it off. Yep, that is the solution to world peace.
Dr. F.: Ok, Emily, when I count to three, I need you to give me a big cough. Ok?
Cough? Why should I cough? I nod anyway.
Dr. F.: One, two, three!
Riiiip…A two-by-four is ripped deep out of my throat, so deep I wonder how I didn’t know it was there.
I start coughing and gagging. So to make it worse, Dr. F sticks the suction tube down my throat. I do mean down my throat. Like, it was in my stomach. Seriously. I’m gagging and coughing. It was terrible.
Dr. F.: That was a great cough, Emily!
Nurse: Don’t worry honey, he’s not going to put his sword down your throat again. You can rest now.
Sleep beautiful sleep….
Post-Surgery CT Scan
Another day or maybe the same day, I have no conception of time, I had another CT scan of my head to see how my brain is healing.
This event is very difficult for me to describe. I have very hazy memory of this event, like I have a still photo in my mind. It’s dark and fuzzy, but I remember some of the dialog. The memory is more like a photo with audio, not a video. Does that make sense?
I can picture a machine in the room and a nurse or tech standing beside it. They tell me that I’m getting a mobile CT scan. I remember being moved to another stretcher/bed and fed into the machine. Beyond that, I don’t have any visual beyond seeing the machine and tech though.
I have no memory between the events where I was physically moved or was asked to attend to something (spoiler alert: the feeding tube is coming up!). A medically induced coma is a weird thing. I would have thought if I was in a coma that I’d be completely out of it, not aware of anything. On the other hand, I have heard that people can hear things spoken to them while in a coma. I guess this is true, although I only remember the stuff when I was more “awake.” I know that Dan and my parents were constantly reading to me and talking to me, but I don’t remember any of that.
Morale of the story: if you ever have a loved one in a coma, read to them, talk to them, you never know what they will remember, but they can hear you!
Next: My AVM Story – Part 17