Over the past two days, it's become abundantly clear to me how very, very lucky I am. A seemingly innocuous skiing accident on a bunny slope ended up killing actress Natasha Richardson. An autopsy is being conducted even as I write this, and results are expected to be released later today.
Not to be pompous or pretentious, but I feel a kind of survivor's guilt. What made the difference between her dying and my living? Why am I so lucky?
My family and friends have been absolutely wonderful, I can never thank them enough. They've been staying in touch (especially over the past few days; Richardson's accident has freaked them out, too). Allie has been a Doggie Therapy Goddess. Regular tug-of-war sessions with her are helping to restore the strength in my left arm, and her companionship has been nothing short of sustaining.
I saw my neurosurgeon the day before yesterday. He says I'm doing well. My brain is starting to resorb the remaining hematoma, my balance is much better, and I've been able to cut way down on painkillers and anti-seizure meds. And while I tire very easily, I'm working and making my deadlines. (Full disclosure, though: my editors have been absolutely wonderful about extending those deadlines.) There are other activities, though, that I can't manage right now, and that frustrates me no end. My doctor tells me to be patient: full recovery from brain surgery takes months, not weeks. My surgery was just three weeks ago.
There are some humorous aspects to this whole saga. Because I had to have some strips of hair shaved for the surgery, I've developed a new sympathy for balding men who attempt to master the art of the combover. My own hair is longer than it's been in years (I'm not allowed to go the hairdresser until the scabs from the incisions on my head are gone) and is wildly curly. I kinda like it.
Interestingly, I have not had a single hot flash since this whole business started three weeks ago. Since the precipitating incident involved three rowdy dogs, I'm wondering if I should proclaim this development (or lack thereof) the Meno-paws Cure.
But on a serious note, know that March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Learn the facts, and never, ever make light of a bump to the head.
Update: According to TMZ.com, the New York City medical examiner's office has announced that Richardson died of "blunt impact to the head." The impact resulted in an epidural hematoma, which differs from the brain bleed that I have had, subdural hematoma. Epidural hematomas, because they involve the arteries, result in much more rapid bleeding than do subdural hematomas, which involve the veins. Hence, Richardson developed symptoms within hours, where I developed symptoms over the course of six weeks.