Sunday, May 20, 2012

Aneurysms in story and song

Jamie and I were talking recently about how much the endurance of my stroke has practically negated the drama over surviving my aneurysm. Prior to the discovery of my aneurysm, my knowledge of the condition was limited to what I'd seen on TV and in movies. That depiction tends to be on the dramatically horrible side, since aneurysms are usually not detected unless someone suffers a hemorrhage. I think  my first exposure to that was a 1979 TV movie about Stuart Sutcliffe (one of the "fifth Beatles"). Then there's one of my favorite episodes of The X-Files (a funny episode), during which Scully diagnoses a death as being the result of a poop-strain-induced burst aneurysm (that's stuck with me for a long time. More recently was the 2008-9 TV series Eli Stone, which portrayed a lawyer whose aneurysm provided visions of just clairvoyance. Not knowing what was going in my head at the time, I was still drawn to the show and did not hesitate to wonder -- after my diagnosis -- where my psychic blood vessel was. Given the odd sensations I experienced during aneurysm-induced seizures, at one point I remember refusing to watch a rerun of Star Trek the Next Generation – given the possibility that I may have foreseen the moment of my own death.
I honestly couldn't think of any aneurysm songs, though once I Googled it, Nirvana's Aneurysm obviously popped up. I don't think it actually has anything to do with aneurysms.

Now it seems like I can't escape references to aneurysms. It's like when you learn a new word and then start seeing it in everything you read. We were recently caught in a TBS loop of Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself, where it turns out the missing grandmother has died on a bus due to a ruptured aneurysm.

The good news is that despite feeling somewhat like my aneurysm has been neglected in deference to my stroke, I had a good conversation with my neurosurgeon a few weeks ago. He assured me that he'd been able to remove 90 percent of the aneurysm and that there is no particular probability it will re-form or that I am "prone to them"; unless I decide to start smoking.

It may seem odd for me to speak in somewhat fond terms of my aneurysm, but despite the window of fear and panic it induced, especially in retrospect, it was more benign than the results of removing it. That's not to say I wouldn't do it again, but I can't dismiss the record. There was a time I considered creating a blog just for my aneurysm, to criticize my anxieties and out my darker contemplations. For some reason I painted it as a bit of a curmudgeon, but there's no doubting it had access to my innermost thoughts in a way no other person ever has. I also set up a Twitter feed for it, where it tweeted such gems as: "I'm totally messing with his head." (7/25/10), "People keep looking at me funny. Seriously. Looking right at me. Like they know I'm there. It's weird." (7/28/10); and, "It occurs to him that they've accumulated enough chairs (folding and otherwise) for sitting Shiva." (9/17/10). Despite the fact that the fear hasn't and probably will never completely dissipate, on some level I will always miss a level of intimacy I had with that homunculus.
Now I'm just left with my usual internal monologue, which is always prattling on.

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