Culture

My Cancer Story (to be continued) 3

Blood pressure 119/80 Away back down to a better place.

After effects of surgery included lung irritation and a cough due to anaesthesia.

Having to be catheterised was something else. I needed all the anaesthesia out of my system.

Pain from the surgery wound itself became severe and I was prescribed morphine.

Hunger from fasting.

Dizziness. I had a good report from surgery but they requested an immediate MRI scan to establish a baseline.

I get anxiety about these scans and need sedation. It was touch and go if they would do it as my blood pressure had gone up. After some mild sedation I was ok and was able to get the scan done. Took about 30 minutes. This will be important data for my ongoing recovery planning.

Spent the day post op feeling quite sore and tired. You realise that the wounds are in your scalp and the bandages from the first day do not stay on very long. It’s the scalp that generates the pain. The brain does not have pain receptors.

I started to recall the fuzzy conversation I had with the anaesthesiologist. Talking gibberish probably. Around Valentine’s Day I had bought some of those small chocolate bars with a high percentage of Cocoa. Turned out they had some in the hospital and I was given one as I left.

It started a thought about a television programme about a very expensive hotel in the Caribbean which made its own chocolate from cocoa beans grown on site.

I have noticed the scars reminiscent of the characters in Ken Kesey’s book. But I am not horrified by them. My surgery set out to heal me not to oppress me.

The brain is an amazing organ. A pathway that has been cut can grow again. The night following surgery I sat and peeled two oranges. Small wonders never cease to amaze me. This ability may not stay with me but it amazed me.

I had also started to think about what other impacts I was to have but not fully noticing. Spatial recognition perhaps. I had noticed changes in the way I perceived space.

Back in the 60’s the Ken Kesey book became a symbol of institutionalised mental health care and the anti psychiatry of R D Laing. Kesey among other ‘Merry Pranksters’ initiated a social movement around the progressive use of the drug LSD https://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/aug/06/lsd-ken-kesey-pranksters-film

Wiki quote One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) is a novel written by Ken Kesey. Set in an Oregon psychiatric hospital, the narrative serves as a study of institutional processes and the human mind as well as a critique of psychiatry and a tribute to individualistic principles. It was adapted into the Broadway (and later off-Broadway) play One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Dale Wasserman in 1963. Bo Goldman adapted the novel into a 1975 film directed by Miloš Forman, which won five Academy Awards.

I have now been told I will get physiotherapy and occupational therapy input. My MRI will be discussed on Monday and then a plan for returning home when I can really fly over the cuckoos nest for real.

I will never forget the kindness and professional care I have received here as well as the kind thoughts and prayers of all my family and friends.

Dream Angus

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