BECOMING BETTER

Jean Croker Petke


Mental Adjustment

Mental Adjustment

The mind is a strange and wonderful thing. I don’t know much about it. I have not studied its complexities.

The only thing I know is what it feels like to be facing brain surgery in a few weeks to remove a benign tumor that is lurking there. I’ve met with the neurosurgeon and heard him explain  my situation and tell me what he plans to do about it: where  he’s going to cut through my skull, how long the surgery will take. on Nov. 20 — just a few weeks away. That date is the deadline for everything in my life right now.

I liked the surgeon. He was young and confident that he could remove most of the rumor. But he wasn’t cocky. Sometime during our conversation, I said, “While you’re in there scrambling my brain, are you going to . . . ” I don’t remember exactly what I said after that. He replied, “I’m not going to scramble your brain!” I was relieved to hear that.

Since them I’ve been pondering a bit, perhaps too much. I’m wondering what my brain looks like inside.

  • Is there some kind of control panel or dashboard in there where he can control everything about my life:
  • Are there knobs and switches and little flashing lights that let him know the status of things, much like the control panels on the Enterprise or Battlestar Galactica or Millennium Falcon? You get the idea. You don’t even have to know how these things work unless you are the commander in charge of the operations. I told the surgeon he was not permitted to talk with my friends and family to hear their suggestions about what needs to be changed while he’s in my head. That idea was scary to me. I trust he knows what he’s doing. He said his goal is to return me in such shape as I came to him (minus the tumor), certainly not worse, perhaps even better.

Of course “better” could be a matter of personal opinion.:

  •  For me, better would mean the ability to learn music faster and faster and play better, to change my normally serious face face to one that is less intimidating to others, and decreasing my tendency to procrastinate, and eliminating my self-sabotage of my healthy eating plan.
  • For my family and friends, better might mean, less advice-giving, taking perfection off my list of things to strive for, lessening my stubborn determination to accomplish, and to stop being so hard on myself.

This post is not about soliciting your suggestions for tweaking that needs to be done. You are not permitted to discuss such things with the surgeon. He’s only met me once for an hour so he doesn’t know me. I trust he will do what he has to do and do it well. Time will tell if there are noticeable changes in any part of my life. I have confidence some of you will let me know if you notice anything different about me, other than the scar on my head.

I believe all the little lights will keep burning, that the dials will keep registering important function levels, and that my control panel needs no additional maintenance in the future. Once in a lifetime is more than enough, in my opinion.

Throughout November I will be writing these posts ahead of time. Sometime after the surgery I will write and let you know how all of this has worked out. You’ll have to wait, just as I have to do, to wait for the up close and personal results.

Here’s to becoming better with the assistance of a neurosurgeon.

Until next Tuesday. . .

5 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • VICKY (Hughes) HATFIELD -

    I’ve never had brain surgery, but I have had a few other fairly scary health scares, but not brain surgery. So I cant say I know what you’re going through. But I can empathize a bit. Knowing people were praying for me helped ease my mind, so I’ll be praying for you and your surgeon. I could say more, but that can sometimes be too much. So, I’ll just say that I really care about you, and that for some reason like your surgeon’s bedside manner, and I believe him when he says he wont scramble your brain. Thoughts and prayers!

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