The medical assistant called me in to the exam room, and suddenly I became very self conscious. I was going for the third programming of my Deep Brain Stimulation Neurostimulator, which meant Dr Hiller would be “up close and personal”. There had not been enough time to find a breath mint to take care of my stinky breath. You see, I did not “hunt and gather” enough healthy type food for the three hour trip to Portland so I sent Charlie to forage through the nearby cafe and coffee shop. He made an excellent find and brought back to me tuna on a bed of greens. I wrapped the tuna up in some lettuce and ate it sandwich-like right there in the crowded waiting room.. Actually, I snarfed it down, being so hungry. Glancing up from my grazing, I realized that other patients were watching me, and probably smelling the tuna also. And maybe my feet. I had chosen the wrong shoes. Perhaps my whole outfit was just WRONG, but we’ll stick with a rant on the shoes. They were old Keen sandals. Not hiking sandals or water sandals but nice ones. Well maybe they are actually maryjanes but Keen I am sure of. They felt loose this morning, probably because they are so old they are broken down. So I put on a pair of white socks.. At some point in the day I noticed Charlie was wearing mid calf white socks with his Keen hiking shoes and shorts. It was then I realized how ridiculous my white socks looked with my Keen maryjanes.
Taking off the socks required taking off the shoes (well of course Carol) When the shoes went back on my feet they were loose again without the socks. I asked Charlie to assist with tightening the buckles and it was then he noticed..the SMELL..my shoes and/or my feet stunk!
Dr. Hiller with 2nd year Medical Student Art in tow got right to business. I am sure she did not give a rip about my breath or my feet, unless we figured some way to relate those two things with Parkinson’s Disease. First thing I realized and she realized, I had not followed the instructions to TAKE MY MEDS as usual. I was off my meds and a twitching mess. So I took them immediately. She arranged for me to come back after her next patient to continue the programming. Medication in effect, I returned to the exam room.While she was turning knobs and punching in numbers on her handheld unit, Charlie told her about the recent adventures with the Parkinson’s Women Triathlon team. Dr Hiller has a way of slightly revealing her delight with a tiny smile, and then its ever so fast gone. Both Charlie and I saw it! All business this woman. I tried to get information from her. “Why did my friend have to be awake for 5 hours during his DBS?””Why does one doctor use staples and not the nice dissolving sutures I got?” ” I had a great surgical experience here at OHSU, why hasn’t this method taken on everywhere?” No responses, nada. Dr Hiller is hyper-focused on my tremoring right hand. Med Student Art is intently watching over her shoulder.
Before long the PD pain is gone. Tremors are under control. I am given instructions to learn to walk properly again. There are complicated things I must do with adjusting my med dosages and different ideas and therapies to try. “See you back again in three months” she says as she whips down the hall. And three hours later I am home, exhausted, tuna breath and stinky feet and all the rest of me.
This surgery has been a miracle. Now I need to work to get my body’s atrophied muscles and rusty joints to be functional again.
But at this very moment am going to brush my teeth and shower.