The Leaker Is Back

BEN STOCKING HAS A HOLE IN HIS HEAD, PART XXIII

A CHRONICLE OF MY BRAIN SURGERY

Drip, drip, drip.

Drip, drip, drip.

As you may recall, Dear Reader, that was the sound of the fluid leaking from my brain.

Drip, drip, drip.

I’m pleased to report, the leaking has stopped. I’m no longer required to wear that goofy ace bandage around my head. I’m just like a normal person. Almost.

I still have a titanium plate screwed into my skull.  I still procrastinate. And I still suffer from the heartbreak of psoriasis.

It’s been two weeks since Dr. Ryder Gwinn removed the funky headdress. If I remain leak-free for two more, he says, I can consider myself healed.

I will be able to run around Green Lake and hit tennis balls with my daughter. I will even be able to go to the gym and attempt to restore my withered body to its former glory.

Believe it or not, Dear Reader, my physique once bore a striking resemblance to The David. Now, after nearly four months of surgery-induced indolence and twenty years of middle age, I look more like that guy at the beach in the Speedo — the one with the pot belly and sagging buttocks who makes you snap your head in the opposite direction.

Actually, I’m still eight pounds lighter than I was before the surgery, but my muscle tone has deteriorated. And my flesh just keeps getting saggier and saggier.

I still worry that I’m going to spring another leak. Each morning, I run my finger over my incision to make sure it hasn’t blown up into another CFL goose egg.

As you know, Dear Reader, CFL is medical-speak for “cerebrospinal fluid leak.” If you ever want speedy service from your medical practitioner, just give her a jingle and say you have a CFL.

I’m pleased to report that, thus far, my daily inspections have revealed no such abnormalities. There’s a thick scar and an indentation where Dr. Gwinn bore through my skull with his drill on January 21, 2013. Thus far, however, I have discovered no gelatinous lumps such as the one he drained from my scalp nearly six weeks ago.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Gwinn for his circumspect approach to skull drilling. Many a neurosurgeon would have cracked my head open a second time when I showed up with my gargantuan CFL. Instead, he opted for the head wrap, which made the hair on the top of my head stand up as though I had an extremely goofy mohawk.

When I checked in a week later, still leaking, Dr. Gwinn ordered another week in the wrap. Likewise, a week later. More time in the wrap. This went on for an entire month. By then, even I was ready to suggest more radical measures.

If the wrap hadn’t worked, Plan B was to shove a tube up my spine and drain the fluid out my tail.

Dr. Gwinn, I’m grateful it hasn’t came to that.

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