Tuesday, December 12, 2006


OK, so I had it all planned to write a lengthy exposition on the weather patterns in Chicago for the next several paragraphs just to keep everyone in suspense but I can't do it. I'm too excited.

IT'S OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's off! It's off (I am doing a little jig right now)!

My god, I am one grateful girl.

The day started out with that awful phone call from Dr. G's office ended with me halo-free.

Tatiana and I got to the office at 1:45pm sharp. I expected to wait a long time, since Dr. G's office is always crazy busy and I wait no less than 40 minutes each visit. But they admitted me within about 15 minutes, which was amazing in and of itself. I felt like I scored an awesome parking spot.

Emotionally, I was so different this time...much more Zen...much less in earnest and just trying to stay in the moment and not look ahead, not even 30 seconds ahead but to just stay very present. I had mentally prepared myself for whatever comes my way.

Dr. G sauntered in with his usual grandfatherly grin. He took my scans from T and looked at them for a few minutes (Serenity now. Serenity now). He said that the bone had healed more, but that there was still a gap in the growth. But he wasn't worried about it. It will continue to heal. I didn't say anything. He didn't give any indication of what he was going to do for another minute or so. More exposition on the bone growth. (Serenity now) I am so fucking Zen I want to punch someone.

And then he said the words that brought a glistening tingle to my undercarriage: "So, are you ready to take it off today?" My heart soared. I saw fireworks.

Then I mauled him. I couldn't help it. I think he was a little freaked out by me. But I didn't care. I was so overjoyed.

Then I mauled Tatiana.

After that, I went over to the examining bed and started climbing on top of it to ready myself for removal. I had always pictured myself lying down for this very moment. But Dr. G stopped me and told me to sit down in the chair.

WHAT? HE WAS GOING TO REMOVE IT WHILE I WAS SITTING UP????? I couldn't believe it. I thought he'd have to get at least a few members from the bomb squad and maybe the Pope to help remove the thing. But it was all so casual. Like we were sitting down to enjoy a cup of coffee.

“You’re not going to put a neck brace on me while you take it off” I asked.

“No, you won’t need one.”

The idea that my neck would just be floating around in the breeze was unconscionable. But there wasn’t any time to freak out. Dr. G started unscrewing the bars first. So far so good. Then he took the little wrench and started loosening the bolts. They were so tight he had to strain to get them loose. I thought he would take my head off with the wrench, he was straining so hard. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling, but I didn’t care. Then he ceremoniously took out his wallet and extracted a dime. This was what he would use to unleash the screws from my head. He started with the back screws…untightening each a little at a time. It didn’t hurt, but it was an odd sensation. Then the front ones a little. Then again to the ones in back. As the screws loosened, I slowly started to feel the weight of my head on my neck again. It was the CRAZIEST sensation, and more than a little scary. Finally, the screws were completely loose. I felt like my head was going to fall off at any moment. Would it be too much to hold it up with my hands?

“OK, now you need to do the honors,” Dr. G announced. He wanted me to lift the halo off my head like a crown. It was my defining moment. With one clumsy motion, I lifted my crown of thorns off my head. Dr. G and Tatiana cheered. It was glorious.

Then they both laughed at me because I was still holding my head up as if it were in the halo. Stiff, slightly back and very unnatural. What? What’s wrong?

“You’re carrying your head funny,” they both said. Well, you would too if you’ve had your head in a vice for three months. Dr. G cleaned my pin sites on my forehead (that DID hurt!) and then gave me my orders:
--No driving for two weeks
--No returning back to work until I see him for a follow-up in two weeks
--Don’t baby your neck. Start moving it right away, but don’t overdo it either.
--No heavy lifting

Ah, but can I play Twister?

After that, Dr. G removed my halo vest. The avalanche of crumbs that I had anticipated never happened. It was actually a bit anticlimactic. There were a few tiny particles of dirt that littered the inside of the vest, but nothing like the grime bloodbath I had pictured. I thought about burning the squirrel briefly, but then Dr. G started wrapping things up. I mauled him one more time before we said goodbye.

The appointment was over in about 15 minutes. The removal procedure took all of about 7 minutes. My god, all that waiting for 7 amazing minutes.

As we walked out, with halo crown in hand, I felt like I was floating. I was still carrying my head funny, but I didn’t care. Freedom was mine. I had survived quite an ordeal with my head intact.

My neck is very stiff and my mobility is pretty limited (I can move my neck a couple inches to the left and right, and a few more inches moving my chin up and down) but I am carrying my head all by myself. I am walking with my head up high.

More to come…




Mark said...

Congratulations! Looks like it will be a Merry Christmas after all...

stclair5211 said...

Congrats!!! The cat will be happy! Admit it though, you miss it a little bit don't you? :) Holding your own head up is sooo over rated.

Samantha said...

Did you get to keep the ceremonial dime?!

You look great. Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to see you!