Beginner's Mind

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bob the Borg

Having been enraptured with computers from a very early age (well, teen years, anyway) it was only a matter of time before I joined with one, to be part machine, part human.

Having tried all sorts of scientific and not-so-scientific methods to deal with daily migraines, my next attempt will involve the installation of a neural stimulator on the occipital nerve at the back of my head. Since this is the nerve which passes pain signals from most of the areas where I get pain, the logic is if we can interrupt that signal (by providing a blocking signal of some sort), the signal won't get to my brain and thus I won't feel the headache.

To see if this will be effective, I'll have the implant temporarily installed for about two weeks, with the unit itself external, with the wires going into the back of my head. If this proves to be beneficial, then we'll (I'll explain "we" in a moment) consider a permanent (sort-of) install, with the unit embedded either in my shoulder or my butt.

I say "we" because this is a decision to be made by me along with a pair of specialists at Dartmouth, and of course with Karen (and Ethan, by proxy).

Back in November we tried an experiment to see if a trial would even be worthwhile. On two separate occasions I had occipital nerve blocks, and both times they stopped the headache (though I got a wicked rebound). The nerve block involved injecting the nerve area with some "something-caine", which in itself meant driving a needle through various layers of cartilage and muscle until we got to the target area. It was weird; in my ears it sounded like someone crunching a potato chip back inside my neck. It didn't hurt for long, of course, as the local did its job well.

I'm trying really, really hard to remain objective about the procedure, and not get carried away with plans and hopes and what-ifs. Since this is surgery, after all, it would be easy to be super optimistic that this, finally, will be an answer I can live with. It isn't that I'm pessimistic; I'm just cautiously optimistic. I've been through too many sure-fire procedures to put all my hope eggs into yet another medical basket.

On a recent trip to Tennessee, I bought a cap with a cover for the back of the head and neck so people don't need to get freaked out by wires coming out of my head. But I'll probably take pictures, as a few folks have requested them, and if they aren't too gross I'll post them.

The implant does NOT run Windows, which is good; the Blue Screen of Death would have a whole new meaning should my implant crash.

Anyway, stay tuned.

Music in my head:One of the Goyescas of Enrique Granados.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

This Is Just Sad

He who controls the media controls the heart of the people. Check this out. Blogs aren't the answer, I'm afraid.

(Yes, it has been awhile, but my muse has phoned in to tell me the sabbatical is almost over. About time, too.)