Hello, Sugary Friends. I’m typing this from a laptop in a hospital bed in downtown Atlanta. On Thursday some neurosurgeons plan to carve a cocktail-coaster-sized hole in my skull and remove a tumor that decided to grow next to my brain.
Many of you may be familiar with my history of epilepsy as chronicled in the article Spastic Invasion. Night seizures occurred frequently during my childhood, but the last time someone witnessed me flapping around on the bed like a fish on a wooden deck was during Reagan’s first presidency. I figured I had outgrown the seizures or was merely gearing up for the Big One.
A few months ago I began experiencing symptoms that fell neatly into the category of migraine headaches: weird "halo" visual lighting effects forming around objects, followed by nausea and vomiting.
About a week ago I caught some hourlong documentary about largely unheralded (at least in proportion to his overhyped, unreasonably successful bandmates) Syd Barrett, the mad genius who was Pink Floyd’s founder and who released possibly the most psychedelic album ever (1967’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn) and a few brilliant singles ("See Emily Play," "Arnold Layne," "Candy and a Currant Bun") before his brain forever unspooled. I began snatching as many Syd-based MP3s as I could over the past week and listening to them with the same fervor as I did nearly three decades ago when I first listened to Piper alone in my room on headphones while peaking on acid.
Late Sunday morning I began to see little multicolored plastic chips in front of my eyes, causing me to anticipate the onslaught of another migraine. Shortly thereafter I felt intensely nauseous and tried to induce vomiting, with no success.
And that’s all I remember.
According to the intensely pregnant Shannon, I came into our living room, sat on the couch next to her, looked out the window, and my eyelids began fluttering. She thought I was just goofing and asked me to stop. Then my arms and legs started flailing, I bit down on my tongue hard enough that blood was pouring out of my mouth, and I finally collapsed, stopped breathing, and turned blue. Shannon pushed furniture out of the way, dragged me to the floor, called 911, then proceeded to administer mouth-to-mouth.
When the paramedics arrived, it was three black males and an Asian guy. I called them "monkeys." Shannon tried covering for me and explained that we’d festooned our nursery with monkey blankets, monkey pillows, and a monkey mobile because we were calling our son-to-be "Li’l Mr. Monkey," but she isn’t sure it helped much.
The first thing I saw when I regained consciousness in the ambulance was an angry-looking black dude staring down at me.
I was taken to a local medical center, where they performed a CT scan on me. I’m not sure anyone exactly enjoys being told they have a "two-inch mass" on their brain. What’s worse, they tossed out the word "glioma," which I had first heard only days early in reference to Teddy Kennedy.
They strapped me onto another stretcher and shlepped me to another area hospital specializing in neurosurgery. Shannon has been with me the whole time and mitigates potential problems that would normally arise when I scream at the nurse in the middle of the night that I’m tired of telling her about the weight and texture of my poopie.
Yesterday they performed a highly unpleasant MRI that felt as if they screwed my head down, strapped it with leather, and shoved me into a giant cold white vagina where I was absolutely unable to move or scratch myself for ten minutes at a time. The good news is that after carefully reading the MRI, they’re nearly certain the tumor is a meningioma, which is rarely cancerous and doesn’t directly prey upon brain tissue since it’s located inside the skull but outside of the brain.
Then again, doctors described my meningioma as the size of a plum. I’d gladly show you a picture of it, but this hospital’s wireless Internet is restricted to browsers only so I can’t employ my typical FTP route for uploading images. It also means I can’t check email at my normal address, so if you’d like to wish me well or revel in my misfortune, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of the Jerks (including Vladimir, whom I actually spoke to for the first time ever yesterday) are already aware of this. Some of you (including, ahem, the PHYSICIAN) neglected to pick up the phone. Do not hesitate to think I will guilt-trip you for this.
Assuming you’re part of the Real World of Cool People and have myspace access, you can see a picture of me in the hospital bed and an MRI of the tumor on my candid, personalized myspace profile.