13 Jan

My travel tales are delayed and subject to cancellation. This post originates from the St. Joseph Medical Group Imaging Center in Brea, CA where I’m waiting to have a brain CT. Don’t freak out. Nothing dramatic happened. I didn’t get hit by any vehicles or suffer any falls (bike-related or otherwise). Something’s just “off.”

For the last week or so I’ve been subject to intermittent jolts that feel like electrified fire needles being jammed into my brain. The jolts don’t last long (half a second at most) and they don’t happen very often. In fact, 99.5% of the time my pain rating is at “zero,” although the other 0.5% of the time it hits 12 on a 1-to-10 scale. And, unfortunately the frequency has increased since I returned to the U.S. and the jolts are highly unpredictable.

So yesterday, I did the prudent thing and voluntarily presented myself to my general practice (GP) doc to get checked out (thus yesterday’s unexpected pic for the #333project — if you’re not following me on Instagram, you may want to change that).

Anyways, after palpating my lumpier than usual skull, my GP tentatively agreed with my theory that the (metaphoric) “tectonic plates” of my skull seemed to have shifted and perhaps dislodged or loosened one of the (literal) screws meant to hold my sawed-apart skull together.

[insert all the obvious jokes here]

But that was just our shoot-from-the-hip theory.

We’d need a neurosurgeon/neurologist to figure it out for sure. Due to the fact that I was such a fast-healing patient the first time around (after the REAL brain bashing), I actually don’t have a dedicated, treating neurologist and up ’til now, mercifully, I haven’t had any brain-related issues, anyways. Plus, I sure as heck had no intention to schlep out to the north valley to see my original neurosurgeon (whom my family says was a real jerk anyways…). So, I would need my GP to refer me to a new neuro-person.

And clearly, any new neuro person would need to see fresh images before determining how acute (or not) my situation might be and whether my brain bucket would need to be re-opened or not. So here I am.

Of course, I hadn’t planned to stay overnight in the OC, either, but there I was, anyways.

And that (apparently) meant that I’d get to take an unplanned trip on the Way-Back Time Machine along with my mom and my sister.

There I was with another unexpected, unusual medical mystery and there they were with clothes and beds and food and care taking. Oh my.

I took Kim’s clothes and stayed with mom. Mom watched (and is still watching) me like a hawk.

Er, I mean mother hen.
Er, I mean beacon of loveliness.

Yes, that’s it.

I told her, Mom, I’ve got this. You don’t need to take the day off to babysit me.

These words had about as much effect on her as someone saying “you can’t do that” has on me … that it is to say, NONE. Or, in fact, it pretty much guaranteed that the exact opposite would be done.

She would take the day off and watch me. Every minute of the night. Every minute of the day. She would watch. And worry. Cuz that’s what moms do.

Sigh, ok. I get it.

I’ll let her love me and I’ll love her for doing it (even though I’m a grown woman and can do everything myself, thankyouverymuch!)

Still at some point, you get tired of being watched while you just sit on the couch. Tired of being asked “What’s up? How are you?” every ~30 minutes while you’re reading your book club selection.

Eventually however, you’ll finish your book AND the iPad battery will run out (and you don’t have a charger b/c you didn’t plan for the overnight stay in the first place and no one in your family still has a first-generation iPad except you, you silly luddite), and so you tellย  your mom: I’m going to go for a quick walk.

And before she can protest or pester you with a dozen well-meaning, full-of-love questions, you hastily add: Don’t worry, I’ll be back in time for you to drive me to the Imaging Center (even though you TOTALLY could drive yourself there, and, in fact, would prefer to drive yourself there and just go it alone, but you understand that it’s important for your mom to “be there” for you, so you let her drive you and you love her for it).

She starts to open her mouth and you promise (with a bit of a threat): Don’t worry, mom. I’ll be fine.

I knew exactly which path I’d take. It was one that I took (or, more accurately, attempted to take) several times while I stayed at mom’s during my 2011 rehab/recovery period. I knew exactly where I was going, but I didn’t really expect what I would find.

Approximately 90 seconds after leaving mom’s house, just after I summited a short flight of stairs, I encountered this flashback scene:

IMG_2743And I was gobsmacked with gratitude.

It just took me 90 second to get here? How marvelous! How miraculous!

The first time I attempted this walk after my brain surgery, in July 2011, it took me close to 10 mins to get here. And once I got there, not only was I pressed pretty tightly against my endurance wall, I also felt nearly overwhelmed by fear:

  • What was I doing “so far from home” by myself?
  • What if I couldn’t make it back?
  • Could I even find my way back? (i.e., remember which way I had come from, turn around and go that way, safely navigate going down the stairs, and remembering to cross the street to mom’s house which was the second one from the corner — I instinctively know all these things now, but back then, each one idea was a hard-fought, yet very loosely grasped, ephemeral, conceptual, I’m-not-quite-sure-about-this “maybe.”)

My goodness, how very far I’d come these past 3.5 years!

And how terrifying it was to think that I might have to go back down some of these paths (metaphorical and literal) again.

* * * *

I’m back in L.A. now.

The CT scan was a piece of cake. The radio tech was maybe a bit intimidated by the ease with which I approached the machine, centered my own head quite expertly in place, and pre-saged each of his quips about what I would feel as he inserted the IV, turned on the scanner, initiated the iodine contrast push, etc.

I don’t know what the scans show. They’ve been sent to 2 neurosurgeons for review and I’ve been instructed to call them tomorrow afternoon if they don’t call me first.

For now, I’m embracing the fiction that I’m fine and trying my very best not to laugh too much (because, sadly, laughing reliably triggers the electric fire needles).

I’m using magical thinking to hope that all this will just disappear as quickly and inexplicably as it came and that I’ll still be able to launch my Epic Homeless Vagabond Couch-Surfing Road Trip next Friday (1/23) as planned.


Of course, I won’t actually start the trip until I first get a solid medical interpretation of my situation from at least one of the neurosurgeons. And the trip will only happen if that interpretation clears me to do so.

I have no idea how any of this will turn out, so in the meantime, I plan to just ride my bike A LOT (to clear/erase/ease my mind). And with the amount of time I plan to devote to the bike, it’s impossible to predict what (or when) the next blog post might be…. It could be belated tales from Turkey or Paris. It could be a dire (or cheerful) medical report. It could be a virtual postcard from somewhere in the Southwestern U.S.

I can’t guess what my path might be, nor what my energy levels might be while I’m on it, but I can promise that “Wherever I am at 3:30, I will stop and take a picture at 3:33.” So if you really want to know what’s up with me from day-to-day during my #funemployment period, then go follow JustAdventures on Instagram and/or click through the #333project tags.

It’s always an adventure here — even when we don’t plan it to be!

Thanks for your support.

PS — It just dawned on me … if you “only” follow me here (and NOT on FB, Twitter, or Instagram), then you may not know:ย  I got accepted into the Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy/Occupational Science program at the University of Southern California (USC). The program will begin on June 15 and I was one of only 8 students to snag a “graduate assistanceship” scholarship/tuition remittance slot, which will functionally cover ~75% of the costs. Not bad!

2 Responses to “Delayed”

  1. Andrey January 14, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    Hi Christin,
    I am always fascinated about your blog stories full of joy and excitement to embrace the new adventures. Regarding the outocmes of the scan I am sure it will be fine and hopefully you will be able to start your 6 months journey as planned!


  1. Playing the odds | JustAdventures - January 25, 2015

    […] we last left our JustAdventures heroine, she was contending with electrified fire-bolts assaulting her head. She’s happy to report that she’s been 100% jolt-free for 6 days […]

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