What’s your name? Katharine. Date of birth? 36. Date of birth? 3-oh, wait, you changed it on me. August 5, 1975. Where are you? Riverside Methodist Hospital. Why are you here? I had a brain tumor.
Wow, this one doesn’t give up. Next thing, she’ll be asking me about the monsters in the corner. Don’t look at them. They’ll go away if you just don’t look at them.
I actually was capable of semi-coherent small talk with the nurses on occasion. They all remain sort of faceless blurs to me (except for Jason the Tech who brought me The Fat Boys). I remember pretty clearly having a conversation in which I mentioned having a “celebration baby” if I ever got through this. I believe my mom witnessed this conversation and it is very likely why she began to work the word “vasectomy” into every conversation that followed. She still does. Perhaps sensing, even through my drug haze, that baby talk was unwelcome, I changed my mind.
A dog. We need a dog. We haven’t had a dog since Gavin the Greyhound died. We need a dog. We need a dog NOW. This actually works really well since the hospital is across the street from the dog shelter. Matt can run across and pick up a dog on his way home. Better yet, he can wheel me across and I can help him.
For those of you not in Columbus, Riverside Methodist Hospital is NOT across the street from Franklin County Dog Shelter. They are about five miles apart. For those of you who are in Columbus, I had moved the hospital not the dog shelter. I was convinced that the hospital was on Morse Rd. across from the government buildings near Karl Rd. In fact, I think I had Riverside occupying the dead Kohl’s building. There’s a gas station somewhere on one of those corners, too. Oddly enough, it had a small ICU built into a back room. I spent some time there, too. Why am I in a gas station? Is the hospital really that crowded? This looks like the same IV kit they were giving away at McDonalds. Is it really sanitary to have the same person pumping gas and then being my nurse?
Anyway,”pick me up a dog on your way home,” became my standard sendoff to Matt as he would leave each day or night.
Happy to hear her Catholic daughter talking about anything other than more babies, my mom would say “when you are back a thousand percent, you can talk about a dog.” Even in a drug induced haze with staples and drains, I knew I hated the phrase “a thousand percent.” Sorry, Mom (you are secretly reading this even though you said you didn’t want to). 110% is a terrible enough phrase to have entered the American lexicon. Let’s not raise it by 890%.
Matt had better get me a dog on the way home.
By now, I had been like this for over a week. I wasn’t getting any better. They had hoped that the craniotomy itself would drain the hydrocephalus, but it was still there. There were mutterings of a second surgery to place a shunt that would drain the fluid, but Dr. G wanted to give it a few more days to resolve on its own. I have a vague memory of him discussing this option with both my husband and kids in the room and I seem to remember Matt commenting later that for a Rock Star Neurosurgeon with an entourage to apologize for his social skills, he was pretty good with our hyper, hospital-bound boys.