Hello. I hope you haven’t forgotten me. It’s been more than 2½ months since I wrote one of these columns. The week after I wrote the last one, I had urgent brain surgery.
I’m now back home about a month and a half. The home health nurses and therapists are now all through with me, and the doctors are just about finished. I also hope to get my driving privileges restored this month.
So now let’s see if I can still write a column. First, I want to thank everybody who sent cards, letters and e-mails. I’ve saved them in a bag near my desk. I’m sorry I haven’t answered them. Please accept this as my answer. I was cheered to hear from you old friends whom I haven’t seen lately. I was also cheered to hear from you old friends whom I’ve never seen, but now know you read me.
And I was cheered by your praise of the column that my grandson, Ivan, wrote, informing you that I was sick and would be out of commission for awhile. I’m proud of him.
My illness is called a subdural hematoma. It happens when a blood vessel leaks and the leaking blood collects between your brain and the brain’s tough, outer membrane, called the dura.
My case was a slow leak, possibly caused by bumping my head weeks or months earlier. I don’t remember the bump. When blood touches your brain, the brain gets irritated. Also, the accumulating blood puts pressure on your brain.
I first noticed something unusually wrong with my brain on Aug. 19. At the close of a routine visit to my primary-care doctor I found I needed four tries to write a check for him. I made dumb mistakes in the first three checks. It was embarrassing.
Then the next morning I had trouble finding the laboratory where my blood was to be analyzed, even though it’s near our neighborhood. And as l drove around that morning, I felt as though I were in a dream.
I called my doctor as quickly as I could. He told me to come right down to his office. Fortunately at that time, our daughter Sandy was visiting Mamie and me. Sandy drove.
The doctor said I should go across the street to Twin Cities hospital to get a CAT scan of my head. I didn’t question or resist. My faith in modern medicine was, at that point, blind and complete. I somehow recognized I was in serious trouble. I would have taken any help I was offered.
The scan revealed blood on my brain. I was taken by ambulance directly to Sierra Vista hospital in San Luis Obispo and had surgery the next day. The ambulance attendant assured me my chances for recovery were good. And I can now attest that his prediction was solid.