What next?

I knew we were supposed to see Neuro-surgery. I mean, I knew it in my head so I pointed my husband towards the Neurology suite at the VA. Whoops.

Neuro science, Neurology, and Neuro-surgery are all different areas of medicine.

We finally got to the right clinic and I mentioned that I thought we were just there for a follow up from last year.

The doctor said, “No this is Neuro Surgery.” Emphasis on Surgery. Rich and I glanced at each other and shrugged.

“Okay…” I said.

The doctor looked up and asked Rich if he knew that he had a brain aneurysm. We explained that we knew that. We were told by Dr. Kabbani at Gundersen in LaCrosse and we were told last year by Neurology. [Emphasis on Neurology]

“Your aneurysm has gotten bigger since last year.”

Que the bombshell sound effects…. boomb….crash…bang. I sat quietly and took that in. Some doctor called regarding the CT scan that was done a few weeks ago and said “No Change.” I didn’t say that out loud but waited for what the doctor had to say next.

“Who did you see last year?” He seemed annoyed that we already knew all about the aneurysm.

I answered, “We were told by Neurology, that the aneurysm didn’t warrant surgery at that time and that they would see us in a year to follow up. I thought that was what was happening today. The fusiform aneurysm was found during the removal of the blood clots in the brain.”

The doctor sat back and then started to rapidly search for Rich’s records.  “If you need the medical records I have them, however I know that Neurology also had them in the system.” I said.

He kept searching and started to read.

“Ahhh, it is clearer to me now,” he said to the room. “I see. Dr. Blahblah said that they would keep an eye on it and since he found it I need to speak to him.”

“Now the surgery would normally be fairly commonplace, however yours is…”

“Fusiform, like a sack of potatoes in the Circle of Willis…” I interrupted.

“Um yes.”

Rich looked confused so the Surgeon drew out a simple picture of what the offensive aneurysm looked like and drew two quick lines to indicate arteries.

“We would have to deal with arteries,” he continued. “We can do an angiogram first to get a clearer picture or another CT scan…” He went on to talk about options and what ‘they’ might do.

He paused and the atmosphere in the room was slightly awkward.

I must have given him a look. Then I said, “You do understand that Rich was just Diagnosed with Moderate Vascular…” I let the words drift off.

The doctor nodded, “I did see that.”

Rich didn’t quite follow the conversation and said, “So why did we come here today?”

The doctor said, “We’ll call you with what we decide.”


Later in the car on the ride home.

Him: I have enough problems. My life stinks, what if I don’t want to do surgery?

Me: You don’t have to do surgery. That doctor never mention the risks of going in there and messing around.

Him: I don’t want him in there I think.

Me: Then we won’t let him or any doctor.

Him: I’m dying anyway, just bit by bit.

Me: Silence

I kept driving. Then I thought more about the appointment. I knew that his fusiform aneurysm was fairly rare and not often did they bleed or blow. However if it did, because it is in the circle of Willis he would be dead in an instant. The doctor found something rare he could operate on. Did he even consider my husband’s quality of life at the moment? He knew about the dementia. What about Quality Of Life.  Or was the doctor thinking of the interesting challenge he’d have. The more I thought about it, the more I think he had thought Rich would be an interesting Subject.

We stopped to eat.

Him: What next?

Me: What?

Him: What next? I mean now I have this brain thing to worry about too. I’m losing my mind anyway. I’m depressed. I would like to see one doctor and get good news.

I put down my fork and stopped eating. I put my hand in his and squeezed it.

Indeed. What next?

Emphasis on Next.


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