Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm back, more or less.

The procedure went well. I'm just waiting for the fog to clear. I've gotten to the point where I can read William Gibson (Idoru turns out to be his weakest novel) and take a shower without napping afterwards. But I'm still shaky on the part of blogging that requires, whaddyacallit -- thinking.

But I hate to leave the blog fallow so early in its existence. This is a political blog rather than a personal blog mostly because I can't share The Truth about My Life with the world, but I have a deep admiration for a number of personal bloggers. Especially I love Mir at Woulda Shoulda Coulda who can bring the funny when she is at her lowest. Her posts about her medical issues in particular are the stuff of legend. So, why not. This isn't about baring my soul, it's just a sinus.

The symptoms that set me on my medical pilgrimage first arose in 1999, then subsided for a time. It all came roaring back one night about two years ago and we have been doing medical detective ever since. The primary problem has been dizziness, which is also at the root of the delay in tracking down a cause. "Dizziness" doesn't elicit a "call the MedEvac, stat!!" response. Tell your doctor you are dizzy, you will get a weary, knowing sigh, followed by entreaties to "be more specific."

Indeed, a specific description of the malady has eluded me. Dizziness, yes -- once so bad that I threw up. But mostly it is more like a fog has settled over my higher mental functions than anything even as concrete as dizziness. Headache, sometimes, but generally I can chase it away with Tylenol. My best description is that when I am symptomatic, I am noticably stupider than usual. Like I was hit by a ray developed by Dr. Drakkin, or a similarly comically inept supervillian.

This description has not exactly endeared me to the medical specialists in the greater Akron area. Which specialists are, it goes without saying, utterly bereft of anything resembling a sense of humor. I pined for the opportunity, just once, to go into a new doctor's office and say "My brain hurts."


Many tests, many possibilities crossed off the differential diagnosis, many times recounting my inchoate symptomatology. Finally the third CAT scan revealed a cysts inhabiting most of my right maxillary sinus (the one in my cheekbone.) Incidently, I found an online CAT scan that could be the mirror image twin of mine.

The diagnosis is that of a dentigerous cyst, though it doesn't exactly fit the definition here since there was no tooth in it. This could become important since my HMO has made noises about calling this a dental problem and denying coverage. More on that if it goes down that way.

The treatment? The Caldwell-Luc procedure, which involves "fenestrating," i.e. opening a window in, i.e. cutting a big goddam hole in, my upper mandible. I was under for a couple of hours and woke out of the anesthesia frantically trying to get myself moving because of all the work I have to do. It worked even less well than my usual morning wake-up.

I am going to spare you a blow-by-blow of my recovery. More than you need to know: it revolves around . . . drainage.

So hopefully back to full sentient being mode in another day or two. So unless something outrageously stupid happens that I can just rage about, light postings probably for the duration of the week.