Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We're considering installing a chair lift

Well, we got the green light from our OBGYN to Make! Babies! Promptly!

Most people don't think to visit the doctor before conception, but I had a lot of google time on my hands as I waited for the goddamn class D seizure/migraine medication to clear out of my body, so when I read (on a very medically sound message board, I am sure) that a preconception check-up was sometimes recommended, it took less than forty-five seconds for me to schedule that appointment.

Except that's not true because that's not how it happened.

See, when my neurologists assured me that my traumatic brain injury, skull fracture, parietal lobe bruising, and related cervical nerve damage would in no way effect my future pregnancies, I didn't believe them for a fucking second.

It doesn't seem possible that a head injury can just...dissipate and go away like a broken arm or a bad reaction to shell fish. My past experience with brain injuries, albeit from the sidelines, was telling me a different story.

In December when I was finally given the okay to begin DOING ACTUAL THINGS again, I emailed my faithful OBGYN (we'll call him Dr. Noggin for the sake of not saying "OBGYN" every six sentences) and although he had already been notified of my injuries (via fax)((at my request)) by the hospital where I'd been treated, he didn't yet know the whole story. When I explained what had happened to the best of my knowledge, I was met with a response that didn't surprise me, but DID scare me a little.

Dr. Noggin said there were definitely risks and concerns, namely my "focal neurological deficits" (my loss of hearing and my dizziness, which have since gone away completely, and my loss of taste and smell, which have not), high blood pressure during pregnancy, and pushing during labor and delivery. Basically, we have to be wary of anything that could potentially knock a blood clot loose in my brain and cause...well...whatever they cause, and while that is always true of any pregnant woman, apparently women with TBIs in their past are at a much greater risk.

Dr. Noggin forwarded my information to a perinatologist (high-risk pregnancy specialist) at the Mayo Clinic for more information, and he came back with even more semi-scary news.

Though I knew this already, it was something else entirely when he said, "Your head injury is the most important thing in your medical history now, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT." Dammit, I guess Mummy Hand must take a back burner. Forever.

He said that we'd "re-evaluate next year," which is now, and said he'd prefer to see us back in his office before we made the decision to commence Operation: Get In My Belleh, Baby.

So we went, and although it was a much happier appointment than the last time we were there together, it was still a little nerve-wracking. We found ourselves beyond punchy and giggling like little girls over something involving head cheese and the word "moist". I, of course, was starving because I'd fasted all day in preparation for my cholesterol test, and Gray was exhausted, probably from playing too much Mortal Kombat, and so there we sat, in the room full of miniature vaginas, models of ovaries and diagrams of cervical positions, laughing so loudly that we drew a bit of attention to ourselves.

When Dr. Noggin came into the room, it was time for business. He began with, "So you're normal now," and when neither Gray nor I could answer that in the affirmative, he chuckled and said, "Well, not "normal," but better. Head-wise."

There is no mistaking me for "normal."

I expected some questions about my brain to be interspersed with others about my menstrual cycles, my lifestyle, exercise, immunizations, and all the other topics I'd googled about preconception check-ups. What I didn't expect was a very pointed interrogation about my brain injury, doctors, time in the hospital, recovery, symptoms, headaches, medication, mood, and other completely brain-centric questions. He also had me sign a form so he could get my last CT scan. Just in case, he said.

I was a little taken aback because at this point in my recovery, I consider myself back to how I was before, even though that doesn't equal "normal".

But as Dr. Noggin pointed out, a traumatic brain injury resulting in ten days in the hospital, some of those in ICU, is not something that I can ever "gloss over," not for the rest of my life. And I'm beginning to realize that the implications of one stupid fucking fall down the basement stairs will be much farther-reaching into the rest of my years on this earth than I ever imagined.

So by the end of the appointment, we got the green light, but I feel it was granted in a near-begrudging manner, and with very strict orders to report any type of change in vision, hearing, motor skills, touch, ANYTHING WHATSOEVER OUT OF THE ORDINARY, and Dr. Noggin said he would not hesitate to order and MRI and refer me to a high-risk specialist if my blood pressure rises or other warning signs present themselves.

I don't think he'd hesitate to spank me if I neglected to follow his orders.