Hitch-Hiker in My Head
They started when I was 7 years old, maybe 8, seems like a whole lifetime ago- seizures, always nocturnal,accompanied by horrible nightmares. Never a clue, nor any advance warning. Lucky for me, my mother was an R.N.Unlucky for me,they didn’t have the advanced testing procedures in 1962, that are now light years past those used back then.
I fondly refer to that time in my life as “the stone age of medicine”. Admitted to Booth Memorial Hospital, where my mother worked in the O.R.,for testspneumo-encepholograms,E.E.G’s, spinal taps — real fun stuff for an 11 year old. The real fun stuff, when I felt up to it, was the wheelchair races, late at night with other kids on the floor! Dr. Bernard Perlman, whom my mother respected and assisted in the O.R. (but not with my procedure) was my neurosurgeon.
When my tests confirmed the existence of a brain tumor, my parents were crushed.(But, that news got my father to quit smoking) Dr. P then explained my options to remove the tumor. Craniotomy, or Cobalt.For my parents, there was no second thought. (I almost typed ‘no-brainer’)-I apologize for that horrible pun!
My surgery took place at Mt. Sinai Hospital, N.Y.C. While being prepped, Dr. Perlman asked me if I was afraid, or if I had any questions for him. The only thing I remember saying was -please take this hitch-hiker out of my head. He laughed, then hugged me, and saved my life.- My tumor was benign, an astro-cytoma. I am a very lucky man!