Neurological Amusements

It must be noted that while recovering from a stroke is very challenging; it is not without its amusing diversions. Four come to mind this afternoon.
I am reminded of my 2 nights spent in intensive care following my angiogram and the subsequent removal of my cavernoma via craniotomy. I remember lying in bed, unable to move my left side due to my stroke, and having been instructed not to move my right leg after the angiogram, “because, you could send a deadly blood clot from your right leg directly to your brain. Then we’d have to do a whole ‘nother surgery”. I also had a tube thrust down my nose and into my throat to nourish me and help me breathe. Although I was physically and mentally able to speak, the presence of the tube rendered me unable to communicate and imprisoned in my body (at the time, though, I didn’t feel imprisoned, but frustrated by my inability to communicate). I noticed 2 male figures to my left who strongly resembled the two men on the far right in the picture below. These two would appear from time to time during my 2 nights in ICU. I desperately wanted their help in communicating, but they remained quietly observant. By the time I was brought to my own room, I was very annoyed with these two and scornfully thought, “well, you two are just useless”.
Can you imagine lying helpless in the Intensive Care Unit accompanied only by two ghostly members of Flock of Seagulls?

Rock you like an MRI?
Having an MRI is never an enjoyable experience, although I have been lucky enough to have had very understanding and accommodating young technicians perform the 3 MRIs that I’ve had.

MRI is the investigative tool of choice for neurological cancers as it is more sensitive than CT for small tumors and offers better visualization of the posterior fossa. The contrast provided between grey and white matter makes it the optimal choice for many conditions of the central nervous system including demyelinating diseases, dementia, cerebrovascular disease, infectious diseases and epilepsy.

One challenge of the MRI is that the patient must lie perfectly still for about 1 hour while the very noisy and claustrophobia inducing test is conducted. The patient cannot see anything except for the tube in which he lies motionless that seems to be less than 5cm.s away from his face. At my last MRI about 5 years ago, the technician offered to let me listen to the radio during the procedure. I chose the classic rock station. Imagine how difficult it is to remain without laughing and motionless while Scorpions’ 1984 hit “Rock You Like A Hurricane” blasts in one’s ears! The West German accented lyrics make the song yet more hilarious, as do the 1980s guitar riffs and vocal style, not to mention the booms of the bass drum.

Scorpions-Rock You Like a Hurricane
It’s early morning
The sun comes out
Last night was shaking
And pretty loud
My cat is purring
And scratches my skin
So what is wrong
With another sin
The bitch is hungry
She needs to tell
So give her inches
And feed her well
More days to come
New places to go
I’ve got to leave
It’s time for a show

Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane

My body is burning
It starts to shout
Desire is coming
It breaks out loud
Lust is in cages
Till storm breaks loose
Just have to make it
With someone I choose
The night is calling
I have to go
The wolf is hungry
He runs to show
He’s licking his lips
He’s ready to win
On the hunt tonight
For love at first sting

Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane
Here I am, rock you like a hurricane

Who had the stroke? part 50

I answered my phone in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Gustav in 2006, to hear the excited voice of my mother, crying out happily, “Sarah, they’re giving out free MRIs”. Mama, I think that you mean MREs.

The Meal, Ready-to-Eat – commonly known as the MRE – is a self-contained, individual field ration in lightweight packaging bought by the United States military for its service members for use in combat or other field conditions where organized food facilities are not available. The MRE replaced the canned MCI, or Meal, Combat, Individual rations, in 1981[1] and is the intended successor to the lighter LRP ration developed by the United States Army for Special Forces and Ranger patrol units in Vietnam.
I’m certain that such a phrase only trips exuberantly off of the tongue of a Hurricane Katrina survivor (we New Orlenians were frequently offered MREs in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina)and mother of a “neurological-superstar”, such as me! Because my memory is better than almost anyone I know, it has become a joke among my family and friends, as I rhetorically ask, “Who had the stroke?”

Who had the stroke? Part 1

Perhaps the most telling incident that summarizes “Who had the stroke?” is the following. While suffering my stroke, I was rushed via ambulance from Touro Infirmary’s Emergency room to West Jefferson Medical Center for an emergency craniotomy. As I rode in the ambulance, while suffering a massive brain hemorrhage, my mother told the ambulance driver the following horrific tale that had only occurred  only 1 month before.
After stabbing a random man sitting at a Mid-City bar, a man smirked as he walked toward the door to leave, passing other bar patrons on his way out. But then, suddenly, he stopped.
DThe man still carrying the knife, took one step back toward a beautiful, talented young lady, a regular at Pal’s Lounge, grabbed her by the head, and fatally slashed her neck “from ear-to-ear.”
The beautiful, talented young lady, 28, was an Ursuline Academy graduate who went on to get a master’s degree from Loyola University. She worked as a housing adviser for the Road Home program.

I had gone to junior high at Ursuline with the beautiful, talented young lady, the poor victim in this disgustingly senseless killing, although she was 2 grades behind me. My mother couldn’t remember the name of the bar and I was shouting through an oxygen mask from the gurney in the back of the ambulance, “Pal’s Lounge, Mama. It’s Pal’s Lounge”.
Can you imagine fact checking your mama whilst having a massive brain hemorrhage?

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