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September 21, 2010

Roller Coaster

Filed under: General — Vasilios Theodorakis @ 5:15 pm

In 1995, a friend who had the flu, unintentionally gave me an ear infection that lasted for months – I should also add that being pharmacologically immuno-suppressed didn’t help matters. Once the infection passed I was left with residual noise – a whooshing sound tied to the beat of my heart. Thinking nothing of it, I lived with the noise for a year or two then started to worry. By the late 1990s, it was finally diagnosed as an Arterial Venous Fistula (AV Fistula). A trauma – the infection maybe? – had caused a clot to form in the main artery of my brain which in turn created a syphoning vessel – the fistula – that ensured the pressure didn’t build up to the point where I had a bleed. The fistula syphoned the blood directly into the main vein, taking blood away from my head, but travelled so close to my left ear that I effectively heard my heart beat 24 hours a day. My brain’s left hemisphere was now receiving far less blood than the right hemisphere because of the syphoning action.

In addition to identifying what was going on, it took many years to find a local specialist that I trusted and who might be able to do something about the situation. My next problem was that I didn’t like the sound of injecting titanium coils or glue into my brain in order to block off the fistula. Especially, since no one could guarantee the toxic side effects of the glue. And so, I lived with the noise for almost 15 years – which probably did more damage to my mental health than any glue would have done to my body.

In January of this year though, under extreme hot weather conditions and while clearing rubble at our fence line, I developed another clot which thrombosed within the fistula and blocked off the vessel. For the first time in 15 years I could hear silence – it was magical and a small miracle considering the clot hadn’t travelled elsewhere in my body.

Fast forward now to Tuesday 7th September 2010 and yet again I had to defend myself, my wife and our property against the neighbourhood nut job. This time he decided to use his roof to terrorise my wife over the fence! Fortunately the situation was yet again addressed by the police, but not before I had to raise my voice far too loudly, maintain my blood pressure in a raised state for far too long and experience adrenaline surges that continued for many days after the incident.

Within 48 hours of defending our home, the therapeutic clot blocking off the fistula had been dislodged and the vessel had reopened. So now I’m back to listening to my heart beat 24 hours a day! After so much silence though, I’m really not coping with the noise and my wife and I have decided to move forward with the artificial embolism. There are many medical risks involved with the process but after experiencing the stillness of silence for 8 months, I cannot go back to listening to and waiting for my heartbeat to stop!

So wherever you find yourself, try to contemplate the nature of an individual whose sole purpose in life is to traumatise and derail other people’s lives. Watching this individual in action, has reminded me of how capable our kind is of pure acts of evil. So much for us being children of God – agents of Satan maybe – but children of God? I have my doubts.

In spite of this, my wife and I continue to move forward as the assaults are again extended to our physical selves. Wish us well in the battles ahead and if you’re a religious person, keep us in your prayers.

Regarding this blog I’ll leave a final posting when I head into hospital. All things going well, I’ll resume the postings as soon as they let me out. If anything goes wrong however, my wife Helen will post a closing commentary to this site. In the meantime, I’m finally back to editing and hopefully completing the upload of my first poetry anthology – “Growing Up”. There’s a handful of poems to get through still and I’m only 12 months behind schedule. ;)

Copyright © Vasilios Theodorakis 2010

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