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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

THE Big Day; The DBS Surgery.

And now for the part you all are waiting for; my recollection of the actual DBS Surgery.

I was awakened at about 5am by the nurses. I was fasting, of course, and taking no meds. I was able to take my meds up to the last dose the night before, as they would be out of my system, except for Sifrol (Mirapex), which stays in the system for much longer. I had ceased that on Wednesday. I had a shower, and was instructed to wash my hair with a disinfectant twice. At 7.00am Yon arrived, and at 7.30 I was wheeled to surgery.

In the photo below, I was not smiling; I was 'off', and my face was frozen in that stance

Once down in theatre, my hair was shaved. I was introduced to the anaesthetist, Gayle, whose job it was to make me comfortable, and take photos. I said a t
eary goodbye to Yon, who was not allowed in the theatre. The TV team of 2 arrived, but I was unaware of them throughout the surgery.
Next I was given a light anaesthetic and the frame, or halo was attached. I went for a CT scan.
I was woken for the gruelling long DBS surgery. By this time it was about 9am.

A few words about the halo.
The halo was attached to my head in 4 spots, by bolts, and then attached to the table. There was a bar over my eyes, making it difficult to see in front of me. I therefore had little vision at all, and really nothing to focus on, which made it very difficult later on.

Two more holes were made for the electrodes. The drilling of the two holes was felt, but not in a bad way. Of course the areas were anaesthetised, but I felt Mr Danks using what I can only describe as a hand drill; as if he were grinding a pepper grinder. And of course I could hear it. That over, the he inserted the probe to my left side. Mr Danks used sounds tracking my brain, to mark the spot, and when he felt he was near, A/Prof Williams, felt my legs and my arms for rigidity.
The most difficult part for me, was to stay awake. Prof Williams had to keep reminding me to open my eyes, as the brain is more active when they are open, but I had difficultly in doing this. With little to focus on, I could feel my eyes closing, and it took tremendous effort to open them. When Mr Danks felt that he had the right spot, the electricity was turned on, and Prof Williams asked me to open and close my hand, touch each finger to my thumb as wide as I could, whilst he kept manipulating my arms and legs, looking for signs of rigidity. Finally both were satisfied and the whole process started again on the left side.
However, things did not go smoothly there. My toes curled, my foot cramped, my face screwed up and both doctors were unhappy with the result, so the probe was taken out and reinserted, and the process started for the 3rd time. By this time I had had enough, but it was over.
My backed ached. I had been screwed to the table for about 5 hours.
I was told that I could move my body, so I arched continuously.
Suddenly the frame was taken off, I was put to sleep again, and the stimulator was inserted into my chest, and the electrodes were guided down the side of my neck and connected to it. This took approx 45 minutes.
I awoke back at the ward.
How did I feel? As if a bus had hit me.
I kept telling my friends and family not to visit me, but a word of advice on hindsight would be to have someone sit with me straight after recovery. I was left alone, with things out of my reach and disorientated. But Yon finally arrived, and then my boys.
Yon,as mentioned before, slept over nearby, to be with me on Saturday.

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