I’m currently scared shitless. I know that’s not the best way to start a blog post, but it’s the truth. A little over five years ago, while having an MRI of my brain the neurologist found a tumor called an acoustic neuroma. The tumor sits on a nerve (or possibly nerves) between my left ear and my brain and isn’t cancerous, which is a good thing. I was told it was too small to take out safely and the best course of action was to see if it grew and how fast. Two years ago it was double the original size, but was still too small to remove.
The reason for the original MRI was because of undiagnosed neurological problems. I was forgetting things, dropping things and went through periods where I was having a hard time walking; even with a cane. Of course, when I found out I needed to occasionally use a cane, I went all out and found a rad one with flames from top to bottom. I’ve gotta be me, ya know?
Long story short, the neurological problems resurfaced 14 months ago and it’s been tough. That was a big reason we moved back to California over the summer. Over the past six months I’ve lost a lot of hearing in my left ear and over the last three months the vision in my left eye has been getting progressively worse. There are optical nerves which run through the area where the acoustic neuroma is, so that’s likely the cause of the vision problems.
Basically, the way it works is that my brain is easily overstimulated and I get shaky. For the most part I’ve shut out all my friends and become a hermit. On more than one occasion I’ve gone an entire week without speaking to anyone besides my Drama Queen, my mom, my brother and my Muse. I hate it. It’s not me. I’m anything but a recluse.
Today is my brother’s birthday and a friend of ours came to take him to lunch and invited me along. They were going to a small sushi joint and I decided to join them. Less than five minutes after being seated, I was back out in the car, because the background noise from people talking at their tables and the staff was too much for me to handle. This is why when I’m around other people I almost always have my headphones on and some music playing softly. It keeps away the outside noise and allows my brain to focus on one thing.
By now you’re probably asking if there’s a point to this blog post. There absolutely is. About 10 weeks ago my brother took me to the ER at Long Beach Community Hospital and dropped me off. I went inside where I found only one other person in the waiting room. Within a few minutes I was laying in a bed waiting for the doctor to come in.
Dr. Assjacket entered the room and his first words were so shitty that I couldn’t believe he actually said them. Here’s how it went down.
DOC: How come you came here and not Harbor UCLA?
ME: Why would I go to Harbor UCLA when I’m in Long Beach?
DOC: Because that’s where people with your type of insurance go.
ME: (beginning to get really pissed) What exactly does that mean?
DOC: You have state insurance and that’s where you need to go.
ME: So you’re telling me that you don’t give a shit about the rock in my ear?
DOC: It’s not life threatening, so you need to go to Harbor. (He then turned to walk away)
ME: (In a voice loud enough to get the attention of two nurses on the other side of the ER) Get your fucking ass back in here right now!!!!
DOC: You don’t need to use that language.
ME: Really? Cuz I’m pretty sure I do need to.
DOC: Good luck.
ME: You’re not even going to look?
He then proceeded to take one of those light things that the doct0r shoves in your ear to see whats in there.
DOC: I don’t see anything.
ME: I never went to medical school, but I’m pretty sure you can’t see a tumor on the other side of my ear without an MRI or something.
DOC: Good luck.
And he left me there.
Ever since that day both my brother and my Muse have been bugging me to go to Harbor UCLA (because that’s where people with my insurance go) and I promised them both that as soon as I was done writing the book I would go. Which brings us back to today.
I finished the book last night, so of course the first thing my bro said to me today was, “What time are you going to the ER?” I don’t want to go, but I need to. I’ve been told that since Harbor is a county hospital that I should expect anywhere from a 10-24 hour wait JUST TO BE SEEN. That’s not counting the tests they will do and seeing a doctor. I figure this is a minimum of a 36-hour gig just getting seen. Who knows what will happen if they decide to keep me for tests or to cut into my head and take the rock out right away.
I guess you can see why I’m scared right now. I know there is a definite upside to getting the tumor out, but there is also a huge downside. The hearing and vision loss are obvious signs that the tumor has grown and anyone who spends any time around me can testify that the neurological crap has returned as well.
If the rock can be excavated, there is still a risk. It’s technically brain surgery and there is a good possibility that I could lose the hearing in the ear and possibly some vision in my eye. Or, I could get most of the senses back. It’s like going all in during a poker game. Depending on the cards that come out on the board, I could lose it all or I could be a huge winner. Not knowing the outcome scares me.
I’m still fighting with myself over this. I know what needs to be done, but I’m afraid of the unknown. I know I can’t keep living the way I am now, but part of me would rather bury my head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist. The bottom line is that I need to honor my promise and get my head checked out. Literally.
Word on the street is that I need to avoid Harbor like the plague on the first of the month (today), Fridays and Mondays. I guess I know what I’ll be doing early next week…