5.21.2008 Wednesday

5 AM one of the neurosurg residents came in to say I was moving to a room and that I did very well. It was Chris, who assisted Dr. Bruce Almighty. I asked if they had to put acrylic, he said no they put my own skull back with titanium. I asked if I'll set off alarms and he said I need a lot more titanium for that to happen. He said I lost a lot of blood so my hematocrit is low. I should do fine with iron supplements. I asked if I was sitting during the surgery and he said yes. The tumor was right there when they opened up. He said Dr. Bruce is doing surgery that day and will be in to see me, and I have to come back to see him after a few days to remove the staples. He explained why they had to use both sutures and staples plus titanium. Chris said I'll probably have a stiff neck for a while and just to take it easy. I thanked him profusely.

One of the Asian anesthesiologists dropped by to ask if I wanted stronger pain medications and I said no. He said they're waiting for a room on the regular unit...woohoo! No ICU! Doris said she'll d/c the arterial line and the catheter when she returns from break. Shukki covered while she was eating. BTW, Kira helped me turn to my side during the night and she said I was so cooperative and agreeable. She said she was used to being thrown things at. I just had to do what had to be done. When she was giving report to Doris, she said I had a nice family. I was stable. I got woken up for blood work by an Asian dude; it hurt so I complained. He apologized.

Dr. Bruce stopped in and said it went well, he got the tumor out and they want to send me to a regular room. I heart my surgeon. So kindly and reassuring.

Doris came back to take IV and catheter out. She told me earlier that it's gonna burn and voiding would burn too. She told me to take a deep breath and hold it. We had to try twice it hurt so much. Unsavory! She took arterial line out first. She was going to get me cereal to eat. She ended up giving me a delicious banana nut muffin and OJ. I was afraid to eat, sit up but I made it without throwing up. I was moving my head, lifting my head. I washed up, wondering why my butt was dirty. I was very gassy, perhaps an accident? Doris said no, it's probably betadine. She helped me with my back. Then I just hung out. I learned she lived in Westchester (30 min commute), had 2 kids (21 y.o. female who just graduated, taking a year off then going to law school; and a 6th grader boy.) I had to use the bedpan because the bathroom was too far. I thought I made such a mess but I didn't at all. Hard to use one of them things. Later on I found out T. Efren also complained more about the catheter than the biopsy itself. Most unpleasant. It's amazing how I have no memory at all of a couple of hours of my life.

When her shift ended at 10 AM, I met Gigi, a black nurse who apparently didn't believe in a lot of things like neuro checks every 2 hours and other things about IVs. Doris told her to do whatever she's comfortable with. Thanks and bye Doris! Gigi asked if I needed anything. Someone told her that 127 bed 2 was available. I was moving out!

What a welcome sight to see your family standing around you as you wake up from anesthesia! A little blurry, but I was talking, they were talking. Nurse said it was 5.5 hrs, surgery started at 9 AM. Dr. Bruce came out to talk to them at 1230 PM. It was bloody but he was able to remove it completely. I did well. I noticed the catheter right away, and the uncomfortable pressure on my belly. A little headache but the dressings were so tight. My family stayed for 15 mins but they were coming back at 6 PM. Kim supposedly coming with other SI people. I must have fallen asleep. A. Des, Cecile and T. Myrna came back at 6; I told them to go home because they have a long way to go. I suspected a Hop Kee excursion :)

Lying there, I could feel my face swelling. My back was hurting so I tried to do pelvic tilts, kept doing ankle pumps. I was in and out of consciousness. Kira took her break and another nurse covered for a while. I woke up with T. Lisa or T. Lucy stroking my left forearm. T. Flor, T. Myrna, Karen, Chattie and Kerwin were there also. Kim peeked in when I was asleep. It wasn't 9 PM yet but they let them in early. I told them to go home also because it's raining, there's traffic and it's late. T. Myrna said there's no ICU room available so they'll keep me in Recovery until one opens up. Oh I forgot that the nurses made me scoot over to a bed earlier; I just told them to catch me if I fell.

I remember the thirst, the dry mouth. T. Myrna cleaned my mouth earlier with those swabs. I knew the first night would be the worst. I just had to get through this.

Doris introduced herself to me at the start of her shift (10 PM I learned later). Pinay! She asked where I was from, if I was married or had kids. I said my sisters have been taking care of me. Saw lots of other Pinoy nurses. I am in good hands.

5.20.2008 Tuesday

Last night nurse came in to say NPO after midnight. I'll be the first or second surgery in the morning. They put in an IV and she showed me how to plug/unplug it. Woke up around 330 AM needing to pee really bad. Strange how it felt like I couldn't empty my bladder. I asked nurse if it was from IV but she said it was probably my nerves. They're picking me up at 630 AM, probably 615 at the earliest.

I got all cleaned up. Called A. Des and Cecile, texted most everyone. Spoke to Lynn and Mom. I'm all packed for my move to ICU. I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

God bless the doctors and the hospital staff!

God bless my family! Give them strength. Sorry for what I'm putting them through.

Thank you Lord! I love my family! And my friends. I love life. Onwards and upwards! Life is good.

Dammit I'm thirsty! Nurse said no shoes, slippers, pants. Only essentials. Meaning nothing. And I even put on my Mickey Mouse jammies for the occasion.

oooh! Lynn's coming Wednesday now! Woohoo! Safe trip for all of them.

I wish I could shower but their darn water's under treatment for something. A shower's probably the least of my worries right now. I see a gorgeous sunrise. It's a beautiful day. I meditate now. Amazing how clear my mind is.

My family's here! Spent some time with them. Kristen and Lisette said they loved me and I said I loved them back. The brothers-in-law got stuck with my luggage. I was taken to Recovery Admission with A. Des and Cecile. Met Kira the nurse. Finally met Dr. Bruce, immediate good feelings. He's tall, smiling, thin, kindly face with a calm demeanor. Also met the young female Asian anesthesiologist (Dr. Kell?). She said I'll be going to sleep for the surgery, and that I'll be taken to brain lab first to get markers then to the OR. She said I was scheduled for 730, first one for the day. So I get to hang out for a bit; she'll be back to talk to me about anesthesia.

Talked to A. Des and Ces about my wishes and not to pull the plug if I'm not brain dead. We had a good laugh about it. Anesthesiologist came back and said I might have a sore throat from the intubation---lozenges should help. She checked if I had loose teeth or dentures. Risk of stroke or death 1%. I asked how come no cardiac work up was done; I knew it was because I'm young and healthy. She asked about drug allergies, what meds I take. I asked how many people in the room: she said Dr. Bruce, another surgeon, 2 nurses, her, her boss will be in and out and some students. Might be as many as ten. Her boss came by and I asked him about waking up during surgery/awareness. He said it's never happened in neurosurgery.

They took me out into the hallway, I don't remember what I told my sistahs. I met Doc Omar in the hall. I told him today's the day; he said Miss Lopez you'll be fine. They wheeled me to a bright room; I asked if this was the brain lab. They said this was the OR already because I already had markers. I met 2 nurses (Roy who was Indian and James who might have been Pinoy) and Chris the other neurosurgeon. Chris showed me the machine that they'll be using to view the whole thing and make sure they're in the right spot. I asked how long prep time was and they said at least an hour. I asked Cassie the anesthesiologist where she was from...Taiwanese although people often mistake her for Japanese. She even said it was better to be mistaken for Japanese. Roy asked me my name and date of birth a couple of times, and that I was here for a craniotomy for a brain tumor. He also asked me which side. He kept saying Casey instead of Cassie; he said it could be his Indian accent. Doc Cassie knew I was a PT and said she just made her mom go to PT for back pain. She feels better but won't admit it.

She said they were going to put me on one of the tables and I asked if I'll be sitting up. She was unsure. All the tables looked like I'd be lying down. She started an arterial line on my right hand just for closer monitoring. She said she was giving me something through one of the IV lines to help me relax, and then put a mask over my face. She said it was just oxygen, just breathe in even though the plastic smells funny. It wasn't offensive, just plastic smelling. She asked me if I wanted more to relax and I said no.

Next thing I knew, the nurse was saying I was in the Recovery room and look who was here. The smiling faces of my family. It's a good day. Thank the good Lord!

Still at Columbia 5.19.2008 Monday

Doc Omar stopped in this morning, shaved right parietal side of my head. Surgery's tomorrow afternoon. Got another MRI and XRay. I signed papers for craniotomy. He marked my head. He said probably 4-5 hours surgery, ICU one day then back to this unit. Probably discharged in 2-3 days. I asked if he was going to be there, he said probably not. PT stopped in to say she'll come in and let me dangle at bedside in ICU. If I can tolerate 10 mins, up in a chair and maybe a stroll. Social worker stopped by; I asked if there were problems with insurance and he said none so far. I had a hard time with find-a-word-puzzles. Took me forever and I couldn't even finish it. Lots of deja vu experiences all day.

Just asked for something to calm my queasiness, also for Milk of Magnesia as Colace not helping. Wonder if nausea's from MOM or nerves.

Cecile came by train today. Just told her again about healthcare proxy and I'm sure she knows by now my wishes. Today was my worst day here. I felt dizzy, headachy, queasy. After a nap I felt better; even Ces slept. Poor thing must be exhausted. It's great that I've never seen or heard her cry. That helps me a lot. I felt better by the time Mike Dec and cousin Katherine came.

715 PM: Mike, Katherine and Ces just left. Laughter-filled visit. Got flowers from work. Talked to Fr. John briefly. Great support from everyone. Mike even got me a Tick...tick...Boom! CD. Plus chismis magazines. Very cool and necessary.

Heartwarming/funny text messages: Ces told Euge thanks for helping out so much right now. His response? "Bakit thank you? She's my sister, too." AWWWW!!!!

from Charles: You take it ez ha? Take your meds, rest well.
from Lynn: I forgot to tell you what TJ said: You have a buff, sporty body and will therefore pull through.

from Lynn: Meningioma needs to be shown what's what.

Mike said to put on lipstick in case the medics be BY. I said I had none. He said: "make kurot your chicks for that Jane Austen glow."

from Beth: "Tell them to be careful with you or I'll hurt them." (during ambulance ride)

from Deb: "Do you want to work my Saturday?" I said I cleared my schedule.

from Deb: "Get a good night's sleep if you can. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I can't wait for you to come home so we get back to our normal dysfunction." I told her I won't come back if I have to see Wayne. Her reply: "Sure you want me to have him all to myself. And I thought you loved me. Miss you."

from Pinky: "Looking at datebook a year ago, this date we be watching Wicked with Dawn; 2morrow it be Grey Gardens. Napapaiyak ako after seeing that." AWWW!!! Pinky's a good girl.

I asked nurse what time the surgery was. She said they'll call them sometime tonight and tell them to get me ready at a certain time. It's 835 PM, still strangely calm. I don't know if I'm detached, in denial, or just really accepting the whole thing. I know things will turn out well. I am Buffy. Or Iron man. Or Iron Maiden. Of Rohan.

Family's arriving from the Phils. on the 23rd. Woohoo!

I think what we all must realize is that we all walk alone. We are born alone, go through illness pretty much alone, and you leave the world alone. You could be surrounded by friends and family, but it's still a path you alone can and must take. I think that's why I'm so calm. There is no way around it. It's a lonely path. Granted it's surrounded by a warm glow from your loved ones. And that makes it easier to walk that path.

I'll try to sleep now. Maybe pray first. I hope my roomie's OK, she's not back yet. Probably in ICU. God bless her.

Love Zacky too! And the Abitangs, and the Valeras. Thanks for all their good wishes and prayers!

5.18.2008 Sunday

Got 4-5 hrs of sleep despite my right hand. Of course I get all these texts so early in the morning. Yesterday I was texting Debbie/Lora at 430 AM. So they're asking me why I'm not asleep. Deb yells at me to GO BACK TO SLEEP! I told her I get woken up anyway for vital signs. BTW, Ellyn M. a patient called me at SFH yesterday before I left. She asked if her complaining gave me a headache I said yes of course. She works near here and said she'll stop in during her lunch break. That'd be nice.

A resident stopped in at 530 AM. Apparently I couldn't follow instructions to look at his nose and tell him how many fingers he's holding up. I blame my just woken up state. There was a day at SFH when the nurse was checking my orientation and I accidentally said it was March but meant to say May! I knew what month it is. Of course the sign in my room saying the wrong date didn't help.

I didn't get TV. I actually fell asleep this morning after I returned phone calls. Spoke with Keith and Dionne. It's easier to talk to friends. Mom/Dad/ Lynn are harder. I vow to be like Jen M---never complain about my plight. Moment of weakness this morning though...I texted Pinky/Loren/Charles how sick I was of hospital smells. Loren called this morning, much appreciated. Charles wanted to know if I was post-op yet. A resident came in and wanted to know if I wanted to hang out here or go home pending Dr. Bruce's return. Course I said home so I could watch the kids' show. He's going to talk to surgeon. Another resident came in and I got more info from him. 4-5 hours surgery, general anesthesia, probably sitting up, 3-4 days in hospital. Back to work as soon as I can. Even drew me a picture of the tumor on one of those calf pressure thingies. It's in the meninges and not in the brain like how it appears to be. They'll use either a vertical or U-shaped incision., may have to cover with an acrylic material. They think with my hair, it'll just cover it right back up. I felt better after the talk. I asked if I was seizing, he said no. They haven't been checking my blood sugar either like they did at SFH. Maybe because they know it's from the meds. I still try to watch my sweets. My roomie Dulce's blood sugar has been sky high.

I met Dulce's family today. Her pump kept making noise so I looked for our nurse Colette. They said they called at least 40 mins ago and no one's come. Her family said Dulce is Dominican, doesn't speak English. Her son-in-law's Puerto Rican. She had headaches for ten years, and docs just kept giving her meds. No scans. She already had a tumor removed and she went home. The site's not closing. They're shunting her tomorrow. I ambushed Dr. Gigante, an Anthony Rapp look-alike, after he spoke to them. I asked if he was coming to see me or if had news for me. He said they had a long discussion about me this morning, and the tumor was big and they'd just let me hang out here. If I get real antsy, page him. The scheduling office doesn't open until tomorrow at 9 AM. If they can schedule me early in the week, I stay. If not, he said I could go home first. I just want a shower! It's been 3 days! My hair's greasy.

Walked around the unit: great view of the Hudson River, George Washington Bridge. I'm in the heights! Wish I had my camera.

Noticed family members sleeping on couches.

Parents and Lynn are coming. I told them not to because of the rigors of travel, the expense, plus the fire clean up and move to the new house. But I know you can't stop them. They'd feel better being here.

Rose and her dad stopped in. I didn't even know he was in town. Nice visit. They stayed until Cecile and Euge came, then they all went to dinner at Hop Kee. Wish I could go. Blah hospital food.

Mom called because Dad was asking about the titas' visit. I didn't mention the snubbing. Apparently they're miffed that Cecile didn't email them. And it's not as if they won't get the news, they all live in one house. Poor Mom, she was so distressed. The ContraTitas are at it again. I spoke to Dad and got annoyed because T. Cesar said the tumor could just be lasered. I said if this was an option I'm sure the doc would have offered it. Lots of people saying I'm in good hands, this is one of the best if not the best. I mentioned to Dad that Ces doesn't have all their emails. But that news is sure to be passed on. I don't know how satisfied he was with that. He asked me why the titas traveled all that way and stayed for a short time. How am I supposed to know? I said maybe because they do have a long way to go. I hope no drama goes on. Cecile didn't even tell A. Des yet.

I feel OK and think I'm wasting the staff's time and the hospital bed, even insurance money. If I had a chance to see the kids perform then I'd rather be there. BTW, Cecile's my healthcare proxy. I knew her celphone by heart. I'm sure they can discuss my medical status if needed to make an informed decision. Ces knows I wouldn't want to be kept alive by artificial means. Pull the Plug! DNR! If I'm brain-dead. Hopefully, she won't have to make that decision anytime soon.

I just thought of somethings: are they going to catheterize me? How many in surgical team? How long's the prep? Side effects from GA? How long out? How soon woken? Will I be restrained? ICU? or Nursing unit? How soon up? Therapies? Precautions? Wound Care? How do they crack my head open?

I already asked one resident yesterday: 5 % chance of infection. I better tell them again, NO MRSA/VRE/C.Diff.

Doc said I could lie on it, but will probably avoid it anyway.
Quick passing thought: Why do the titas act so awkward and uncomfortable around us?

Funny how I complimented Takiya (Lora's student) on her short haircut. I may end up with that.

I wish I got a pedicure. Ugly toes and nails.

I should get a massage when all this is over. Paige felt bad for working on my neck that day; I'm sure it couldn't have hurt.

Resident said they'll talk to Dr. Bruce to see what the plan is. They're trying to videofax the images to him. Rick said conference sounds like a vacation. Maybe docs are golfing.

I asked Rick if he wanted me to work; I just need a ride. He said I had some sense of humor. I said I offered to take Deb's Saturday but he said Wayne's coming back that day. I said I can't handle a craniotomy and Wayne in one week.

Janel asked what I wanted them to tell patients. I said that my brain got too big so I'm getting a reduction, a minor procedure. I don't play around; I go straight for the brain surgery. Anyway, there's no harm in telling people. I need all the love and support I can get. She said I am a nut. I blame the tumor. Or the meds. She said that's why she stays blonde. I should milk this. I even offered to freak out at work and try to make Rick's eyes bug out. The plan to bring Rick down is in place. Just kidding. He'll just be fun to play with. Paige said he'll probably smother me.

I feel weaker being in here. Plus paranoid about infections.

5.17.2008 Saturday

Lots of phone calls, text messages of support. I feel the love. Ces called to say the titas are coming, that T. Lisa was calling. T. Lucy called too and she said she's been crying talking to A. Des. It's funny because I seem to be the one comforting people. Liza didn't want to call me, asked Pinky if I was depressed. People keep asking me if I'm covering up. I truly am not. I don't know where I'm pulling strength from. I just want the surgery done and over with. Like I know in my heart I'll be OK. I have tickets to see Billy Eliot and Equus. That I'll go to Job's wedding next month, maybe watch Gypsy.

Zack's staying home with Euge while he works. He didn't get to work yesterday because they left so late. I wish I could see the dog, too.

I want to leave to watch Prince Caspian! Watch Lost! Lynn said Sun was fierce. Nice day out, too.

Paige called; Beth also to see if I was up for company. Course I was! Beth came with her son Billy, an amiable young man. Had a great visit, what with Beth being her usual comedic self. She has a new nickname: Dasani. Also Angelina Jolie. You'll have to get the details from me.

T. Lucy, Mary Faith, Uncle Tun, T. Iya and T. Flor came. The 2 titas were their usual glum selves. I wanted to say "I'm not dead yet!" And apparently some drama because Ces said hello to them and they snubbed her. Geez people! Let it go! They didn't stay long. Pinky called during the visit and sorry my friend, but I passed the phone to her! Had a good visit with Paige thankfully. Dr. Gerber came in to ask if I had a doctor's name. I gave him Dr. Jeffrey Bruce's name upon Mike Dec's recommendation. He was recommended by his friend Peter Rivera. At first when they called him, they said he was no longer at Columbia Presbyterian. I texted Janel for the names of her mother-in-law's surgeons. Doc came back and said Dr. Bruce was at a conference but should be back in a few days. They were waiting to see if he'd accept me. What was my audition piece, the MRI? Finally he accepted me and they started getting a room/transport for me. Things were moving; I packed up.

Anyway, Mobile Life Support came to pick me up. Mike and Chris attended to me. Cecile got to ride up front woot! Euge followed. I did see Zack in the car window yey! Nice easy ride to the city on the Palisades, although Tracey the nurse bummed me out before I left, saying how scary it was and the recovery was going to be long. I left at 620 PM; was at Columbia by 750 PM. Cecile went downstairs to do my paperwork while a half-Pinoy/half Indian resident assessed and admitted me, tito Omar by name. He said his mom's from Iloilo. He asked how I heard of Dr. Bruce so I told him. He knew Wily Lopez, a Pinoy neurosurgeon. He asked me why I was in the hospital so I said I had a meningioma. He kinda looked puzzled and asked if that's what they called it. I met my nurse Elaine, also Filipino. Cecile returned home and they took me to MRI again. Chitchatted with this black female patient who said she was scared of being in the basement at 11 PM (twas a 24 hr MRI unit). She was funny. Claustrophobic. She had been having blackouts/headaches for years she said. They had wanted to admit her a few days ago but she has little ones. She sent them to her mother first. I was back in 8Hudson North Room 121-2 by 1130 PM. Elaine gave me juice and crackers. She also unfortunately changed my IV to the right side, by the wrist. Oww! How can I wash up? Do laundry? How can I sleep? Maybe she was showing off for the other black nurse who wanted to see how she did an IV. Why are they waiting for an ICU bed for me?

5.16.2008 Friday

Details getting fuzzy already. Woke up early because I couldn't sleep. Got my TV hooked up; of course it wouldn't turn on so I had to ask nurse. Simple problem: NOT PLUGGED INTO WALL! Of course the moment I start watching, I fall asleep. I probably was on the phone most of the morning until A. Des and K. Rene showed up before visiting hours started...woohoo! The kids wanted to come but of course it's a schoolday. They were crying when they found out of course, their mom started the waterworks. K. Rene commented on how calm I was. If it was him, he would have jumped out the window or questioned 'why me'? Interesting thought: I never thought why me? Why not me? What would make me so special that I'd be exempt from a pesky thing as a brain tumor? I told Cecile about the Dalai Lama quoting an Indian sage: If there's a solution, why be anxious? If there's NO solution, what's the point of being anxious also?

I never felt the urge to break down. Before my family came, a nun came in asking if there was anyone in my parish I wanted notified. I'm not a member anywhere. I teared up a little when an African priest came to anoint me. Although I had a hard time understanding his accent. A. Des couldn't stay long because the kids were starting their show that night (5 PM call time). They stayed until I came back from MRI. I got a little nervous about the procedure, if I could stay still for that long. So again, I go into meditation mode. I actually fell asleep despite the noise. It wasn't obtrusive at all. They also did the contrast/clear blue dye which smelled very pleasant. Dr. Azher was going to read it that night.

Ces and Euge were there when I came back. They brought my stuff yey! Poor Zackie in the car. Rick (with Alps chocolates), Lora (with Russell Stover), Dana, Janel and Debbie came from work. Rick brought a pen he stole from Debbie so I ratted him out later. Deb and Janel put together a bag with toiletries, magazines, coloring books, crayons, puzzles and all sorts of activities. There were even toys. Too funny and thoughtful. They stayed til 830 PM, past visiting hours. Good times! Ces said a nurse came by to shush them. Doc didn't come back in to discuss results. Nurse said I was stable and might get sent home. Oh and I got flowers from the Ramoses! So quick.

Day 1 5.15.08 Thursday
Woke up at 7 AM with pounding/throbbing headache on right side of my head. Figured it was par for the course, it being the time of the month. Nauseous, pondered calling in sick but went to work anyway after taking Advil. Felt better.

All day at work, headache, pain bending forward, nausea on and off. After lunch of pizza and salad with Italian dressing, headache now on front and right side of head. Took an Advil. 430PM I was massaging Rosemarie's elbow and forearm and noticed my left hand was getting numb. I started using just my right. Then my left lip/mouth started tingling. I stopped her treatment, gave her an ice pack and asked Paige to check my BP. I looked for Janel first but she wasn't there. At this point, my heart was racing and I felt short of breath. BP was in the 140s/80s. I laid down after taking an aspirin, just in case I was having a heart attack or stroke. Paige gave me an ice pack. She also massaged my neck which eased the headache somewhat. Left side still felt weird, kinda thick and heavy; lip stopped tingling. After almost an hour, I got up and decided to go home. Janel wanted to call an ambulance but I drove home, thinking it was just a really bad migraine. I called her when I got home, but during the drive, my left hand had got numb again. My lips, left side of face tingling were tingling again. I changed clothes, washed up, brushed my teeth and decided to go to the ER at St. Francis Hospital.

I was praying so hard that I'd make it to the ER without incident. I checked in at 653 PM. I probably waited another two hours before getting seen. I thought well, maybe this was nothing if they made me wait this long. Although when I was home, I almost packed a bag. Something told me I wasn't coming home that night. I even took the celphone charger.

I saw Dr. Neifeld and at first he said it might be a hemiplegic migraine. The nurses asked if I ever told my doctor about the migraines, which I never did. He talked it over with the neurologist and they decided to do a CATSCAN. No waiting! I got scanned soon enough, and they were reading it before I even left the room. Scott the nurse started an IV line so on my left arm to give a steroid called Decadron. Sudden prickly feeling throughout my body, but tension in my head quickly disappeared. We were even joking about steroids and Ahnuld. Doc came back and said they saw something on the right side of my head. Neurologist coming in to talk to me. I wasn't surprised; I was strangely calm.

Dr. Mora said we needed to talk and I said oh about what you saw? He seemed relieved that I knew. He examined me first, checked my pupils, reflexes(I knew my left was diminished; no Babinski). The interesting part was the sensation/pinprick...left side was decreased. Two point discrimination on left extinguished. Then I couldn't see his fingers on my left side although I could see his outstretched arm. He asked if I had trouble seeing on the left so I told him about typing the wrong words or missing left turns. I was going to see my primary MD anyway if all this hadn't happened.

So he finally said there was a mass on the right side (I assumed occipital lobe) pressing on the visual areas. A meningioma that's not supposed to be there so it has to come out. He said not to denigrate the physicians in Poughkeepside, but he wanted me to go to NYU or Mt. Sinai for the surgery. He said he'll admit me for work-up and MRIs. He asked if I had family, how I got here. That I should call them. I called Cecile, left message at A. Des. He asked if I wanted him to talk to them before he left. I said no, I didn't reach them yet. He said Dr. Azher will see me Friday and left his number in case anyone had questions for him.

So I was left in the ER, nurses kept asking if I was OK because I've had quite a day. I was still very calm. It was actually a relief to get a diagnosis and know it wasn't all in my head. (Well, it IS in my head.) They couldn't believe I drove myself to the ER. I asked about my car and they said they'll tell security. I gave my license plate and car make/model. Nurse was impressed I knew it. A. Des called and after I told her I knew she was crying. Mercifully the celphone died. I texted Cecile earlier not to tell parents yet until we knew more. Her last message said they should be told. I asked a nurse if I could plug in my phone but she said I'm not supposed to use the phone in there. I wanted to scream and tell her I had to talk to my family. But I checked myself. I called Rick and Janel. She was crying too, and wanted to come by but I told her it's late, and my sister will bring my things tomorrow. Rick said he couldn't believe how stoic I was. I thought to myself, well, there's no point in getting hysterical. And I didn't feel hysterical.

Nurses kept asking if I was OK with everything going on. I said yes. I started meditating, praying the rosary. An alarm sounded because my heart rate dropped to 40s, from 70s. Amazing and powerful. A nurse came by to see if I was holding my breath. Now wouldn't that raise my BP? Anyway, I hung out a little longer in the ER. By 1130 PM, I was moved to Progressive Care Unit on Cooke 3rd floor room 325. I had to go in a gurney although they did let me walk into the room. Woohoo! Private room! I plugged in my celphone,tried to relax. I ended up calling Pinky. I think I texted my sisters. Cecile said she told Philippines already. I wanted to wait until I knew more but I guess what else was left?

I met my nurse Kriupa from India. She did her assessments, offered me sleeping pills but I refused. So I think I was up until 4 AM, texting. Woke up within an hour, watched the beautiful Hudson Valley come to life. Gloomy day though.

Kate: (throws a banana at Sawyer) Good morning.
Sawyer: Did you just throw a banana at me?
Kate: Couldn't find any rocks.
Sawyer: I can think of a better way to get a man up in the morning

Jack: What are you doing?
Sawyer: I'm coming with ya.
Jack: You're still on antibiotics.
Sawyer: Well, it's a good thing I'm travellin' with my doctor then.

Sawyer: (noticing Hurley's interest in Libby) You got a little love connection brewing over there, Jabba?

Sawyer: Well, as much as I'd like to learn to feather my hair, I lost my damn glasses on the raft. You want to read it to me? (Kate looks at him like he's crazy) What, you got an appointment or something?
Kate (finding an article): All right, "10 Ways To Tell If He's A Sensitive Man."
Sawyer: This ought to be good.

Kate: I heard Jack took your pain killers?
Sawyer: Well, I guess me and the Doc are on the outs. It's one less Christmas card I'll have to send this year.

Sawyer is cleaning his tent after Jack ransacked it)
Kate: I like what you've done to the place.
Sawyer: Maid's day off.

Sawyer:(to Charlie) Hell you even got Locke to take a swing at you. That's like getting Ghandi to beat his kids

Saywer: One second, I'm like this close to the high score on Donkey Kong.

Sawyer: Hate to interrupt whatever it is you're doin'. What are ya doing?
Locke: I'm alphabetizing.
Sawyer: Sure. Sun gets attacked in the jungle, you figure it's a good time to start the Dewey Decimal System. Good thinking.

Sawyer to Charlie while he sets up his new shelter on the beach)
Sawyer: Well, well, now, look who had to relocate to the suburbs. Ain't that like a woman? She keeps the house and you get the cheap ass apartment.

Sawyer: What do you got there, Rerun?
Hurley: Nothing. (Hurley covers up the dressing and some other food he has)
Sawyer: Yeah, well, you've got a spot of nothing on your chin there.

Sawyer: Dharma Initiative ranch dressing? You know you're supposed to refrigerate that after you open it.
Hurley: Well, actually in the back it says it'll keep at room temperature for up to 7 years.

Sawyer: Why don’t you shut up hammo? Or your ranch disorder is gonna be the new lead item on the coconut Internet.
Hurley: Fine. Go ahead. Tell everyone the fat guy has been hiding ranch dressing. The fat guy likes to eat. Yeah I’m fat. Fat, fat, fat, fat, fat. You think I don’t know that? These people like me. Find the damn frog by yourself.

Sawyer: Mike, you should save your energy.
Michael: They took my son!
Sawyer: Yeah, I saw that -- onto a boat which means he's not in shouting distance.

Sawyer (to Michael): What are you gonna do, splash me?

(Sawyer looks over at Mike on his raft)
Sawyer: You got a bandaid?

Sawyer: I'll just stop bleeding then! (to Mike after he blames Sawyer for the shark.)

Sawyer: We're about to be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Ana Lucia: How's that?
Sawyer: Next time Shaft opens the cage, he's gonna get a surprising little howdy-doody.

Sawyer: So what's your name, anyway?
Eko: Mr. Eko
Sawyer: Mr. Eko? So what's that, like Mr. Ed?

referring to Ana-Lucia)
Sawyer: This chick needs to be slapped

Sawyer: You married?
Ana-Lucia: No.
Sawyer: Too bad, you seem suited for it.
Ana-Lucia: Funny. What about you?
Sawyer: No ma'am.
Ana-Lucia: You gay?
Sawyer: Funny.

Libby: Let me take a look at your shoulder.
Sawyer: Are you a doctor?
Libby: A clinical psychologist.
Sawyer: A shrink. Maybe you should talk to my shoulder.
Libby: How did you get shot?
Sawyer: With a gun.

(on the beach, Kate is cutting Sawyer's hair)
Kate: Would you please turn your head?
Sawyer: Why, you ain't got a clean enough shot at my neck?

Kate: Where is everybody? Jack! John!
Sawyer: Maybe they went out for ice cream.

Locke: (looking around) Are you sure nothing looks familiar?
Sawyer: Oh, look. There's my favorite leaf. How could I ever forget this place?

Hurley: (to Sawyer) We're all in this together man, let's treat each other with a little respect.
Sawyer: Shut up, lardo!

Sayid: It's a loop. Iteration, it's repeating the same message. The counter- the next number will end 533.
Sawyer: Does anyone know what the hell he's talking about?
Sayid: It's a running count of the number of times the message has repeated. It's roughly 30 seconds long so, how long...? (we see him trying to figure it out in his head)
Sawyer: Don't forget to carry the 1, chief.

Boone: (takes the gun) I'm standing guard. You heard what they said's out there.
Sawyer: You took my gun off me, boy?
Shannon: Please, you've never even held a gun. He doesn't believe in guns. He goes on marches.
Boone: I don't go on marches.
Sayid: Give it back to me.
Sawyer: Oh, yeah, give it to Al-Jazeera. He'll protect us.
Charlie: Al-Jazeera's a network.

Hurley: What's your problem? Hand them over.
Sawyer: How about no?
Hurley: There's other people here or don't you give a crap?
Sawyer: Well if one of us wouldn't eat more than his fair share. . .
Hurley: Oh that's bull and you know it. You're not happy unless you're screwing over everybody. . .
Sawyer: Hey don't patronize me, pork pie.
Boone (entering): Guys, knock it off.
Sawyer: Stay out of this metro.

(Sun is pointing to her watch and saying something in Korean.)
Sayid: The cuffs stay on.
Sawyer: A little louder, Omar. Maybe then she'll understand you.

(Sayid is torturing Sawyer)
Sawyer: That's it, that's all you got, splinters? No wonder we kicked your ass in the Gulf.

Jack: Get up!
Sawyer: Why, you wanna see who's taller?

Sawyer: Doctor playin' golf. Woo, boy howdy, Now I've heard everything. What's next? Cop eatin' a doughnut?

Kate: No, I'm fine. I can take care of myself.
Sawyer: Oh, of course. I don't need protecting. I can take care of myself. Me Kate. Me throw rock.

(admitting to Charlie that he took and read Claire's diary)Sawyer: Good literature's kinda scarce around here.

Sawyer: (To Jin) You're pretty scared, huh? Scared, you understand scared, don't you? Huh? If you ain't, you're going to be, Bruce. Folks down on the beach might have been doctors and accountants a month ago, but it's Lord of the Flies time, now.

Kate: That's it, get up.
Sawyer: What?
Kate: Get up. You're going to Jack.
Sawyer: Do I get a lollipop?

about Sawyer's headaches)
Jack: You're sensitive to the light too, huh?
Sawyer: You know what? I'm sensitive to you

I am always awed by the courage it took for people to help the Jews during WW2. Irene Sendler surely had a fast pass to heaven. Rest in Peace!

I really should start paying more attention to my dreams. Last night I dreamt I was in the Philippines in some sort of a classroom when the ground started shaking and rumbling. When I woke up, I heard the news about the earthquake in China. I pray for all the victims and their families.

This sign always makes me smile when I see it on the road or in stores: Hardy Mums (the flowers) for sale. And it can apply to mothers (except the being for sale part because that would be weird) It's so true, mothers do it all and weather it all.

Happy Mothers' Day! Especially you my Mom! God bless you always.

Since the fire at our house in the Philippines, I've had this urge to just throw all non-essentials out. I was spring cleaning today and came upon some old correspondence. Some of them came from people I don't even remember. I found a few letters from my friend Tere. She was a year behind us in school. can't remember if she was one of my interns at PGH, but she ended up working there with me afer she graduated.

Anyway, the letters were written when I first moved to the States and she was still working in Manila. Lots of laughs while I was reading them. It brought back lots of fond memories from when we worked together. She was a great cook and would bring me lunch some days. Usually we'd go out to eat or order food from the medical school cafeteria with our other colleagues. We went to movies after work, even work out at the PT gym. She was one of those typical Filipina girlfriends who'd hold your hand or walk arm in arm with you, while I inwardly cringed at such a display. She laughed heartily. She took care of my clearance from PGH after I left. I was so impressed with her because she lived with her sister in an apartment, no maid, did all the chores. She was the first independent woman I knew back in those days.

Too bad she is gone. We just sorta fell out of touch. She was roommates with one of my college friends and lots of drama went on. Drama that I shouldn't have let myself get involved in. For some reason, I used to get such flak by being friends with people that my other pals didn't approve of. Now, I don't even know where some of those friends are. None of those issues and conflicts mattered, probably even then but we were all too young and stupid to know.

Tere died in a head on collision, coming home from her boyfriend's house in the middle of the night. She fell asleep. Even her last relationship was a controversial one. I'm glad that she was at least in a happy one before she passed. One of my biggest regrets is that I didn't go to her wake or funeral. Simply because I lived 4-5 hours away at the time.

The dedication on the back of this photo says: "Thank you for taking part in my life. The times we've shared will always be cherished in my heart. I hope to see you again."

I hope so, too.

The loss of lives is incomprehensible.
Maybe this could be a wake up call for the ruling junta.

For a list of agencies accepting donations, click here.

My patient was asking today if my parents found a new house yet. I told her yes and she was asking where it was (as if she'd know), if it was in the city, or the jungle. The jungle?!! I irritatedly and probably inappropriately said "No, we don't live in huts." Such preconceived notions of white folk.

Not to impugn the fine folk who do live in huts.

Courtesy of TJ, Lynn's boyfriend...Here is *drumroll* The Littlest Iron Man Fan.
(And that's her photo above, in her normal guise.)

When I left Borders today, there was a woman coming right up behind me. So like I always do, I held the door open for her, expecting her to then catch the door. She said thank you but let me keep holding it. It wasn't like her arms were full; she wasn't even carrying anything. There are two doors to exit the store, and I ended up holding both for this woman, although I did let go of the second one after I realized she wasn't going to do anything.

Too bad it didn't slam on her face*evil cackle*

What do you get for a 30 year anniversary? On May 3rd 1978, the first junk email was sent. Thanks for nothing Sir Gary Thuerk of Spamalot!

I got an email from a friend in the Philippines. He was very sorry he wasn't able to join us for our little dinner reunion. His wife is expecting, they have no maid, they're very busy, blah blah blah. But what stood out in the email was him saying he was too busy "keeping up with the Joneses".

Maybe he just meant he was working hard to be a good provider. Now I can understand trying to provide for your family's basic needs, but to try and compete with your friends and neighbors? Is it just the Filipino way of thinking? Am I just that unambitious?

Josh Holloway's killer line-readings makes Sawyer one of my favorite characters on Lost.

(seeing Miles upon waking): It's way too early for Chinese.

(Talking to Locke about Hurley) You harm so much as one hair on his curly head, I'll KILL you.

Sawyer: Anyone want to tell me why we're keeping this guy (Ben) alive?
Locke: We're keeping him alive because he's been on this island a lot longer than any of us. Because he has information we need and because apart from his mouth, he's completely harmless.
Sawyer: His mouth put that hole in your gut?

Sawyer: You mind telling us who you're getting your orders from, Colonel Kurtz?
Locke: I got 'em from Walt.
Sawyer: What the hell do you mean you saw Walt? In a dream?
Locke: No dream. It was Walt. Only ... taller.
Sawyer: Taller? What, like a giant?

(to Kate) But, I mean, how can you resist after that whole, "I'll keep you safe thing".

Sawyer: You ready to give us the name, Gizmo?
Locke: He's not going to tell you who the spy is on their boat, James.
Sawyer: Yeah, why not?
Locke: Because that's the only thing keeping him alive.
Sawyer: Well here's an idea: why don't we take a gun, point it to his big toe and send that little piggy to the market. ... And if he still doesn't want to tell us, move on to the roast beef. Why don't we do that?

Thanks TV.com!


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.