Introducing Thing #2

I was shocked yesterday morning when I looked in the mirror and there weren't sharp objects protruding from my head. I swear that was the worst headache I've had in 5 years.

In lieu of the fact that I woke up with invisible knives sticking out of my head, I'm going to move my Time for Honesty to Saturday so I can introduce you to Thing #2. You really should feel privileged.

Why? Because Thing #2 is awesome. Maybe not as awesome as Thing #1, but very, very close.

Thing #2 is one of those things that you tell people about and their jaws drop, like in the cartoons. So if this happens to you, please don't blame me, because I've warned you.

The second secret I'm sharing with you, Thing #2, is....

I have a tube in my head!

For real?

For real.

And I'm not just talking those little tubes they put in your ears when you're a kid, either. I actually have one of those, but nobody really cares about a two inch piece of plastic shoved in a bunch of earwax.

I have a real-life stinking tube in my head!

It actually runs from a spot on the top of my skull, down and back behind my ear, down my neck, across my chest, and into my stomach. Or so I'm told.

It's cuh-raaazy.

I know, I know. It's too much to handle. My heart is in a funny place and now I'm saying I have a tube in my body. On my brain, even. I've gotta be fibbing.

Well, I wish I was. I mean, mostly because having a tube in your body is just weird.

But also because of the reason I have the tube. You see, I have another disease, and this one is as equally frustrating to spell as situs inversus. It's called hydrocephalus.

Basically, the gist of it can be found in the meaning of the word. It literally means "water on the brain." So, thankfully, this tube reminds me daily that I have not actually lost my mind. It's there. Just with some good old-fashion H2O. Good stuff.

It doesn't sound so bad, really. And it's not. But it would be if I didn't have the tube (called a shunt). You see, an excessive amount of fluid collects on my brain. In normal people, it drains. However, that's the purpose of the tube for me. If I didn't have the tube, fluid would continue to collect and collect, and eventually, my brain would keep swelling to the point where I wouldn't be able to function as a person any longer and would eventually die.

Thank God for modern medicine.

So now, instead of having the world's largest, most useless brain, I have a rather normal-sized head with a tube inside (it's so weird!).

Unfortunately, things aren't always peachy, like with my situs inversus. You see, because the tube doesn't actually belong in my body, it breaks from time to time. And by time to time, I mean it's broken in some form or fashion 4 or 5 times over the last 20 years (I lose count pretty easily). One time, it broke twice in the same year during elementary school. That was pretty fun, because I got cards from all of my classmates.. twice!

When the tube breaks, bad things happen. Yesterday, when my head hurt so bad that I couldn't blog, it was just a glimpse of the sort of pain I endure when my shunt messes up. Not only would I not be able to blog, but I also wouldn't be able to move. Or to see. It's the pain of every headache you've ever had, rolled into one massive head pain. Add in a dose of major light sensitivity (to the point where I would hide under blankets on our way to the hospital), and you have an idea of what it's like.

Yes, it sucks.

But I survive. And I get to live a mostly normal life. Maybe having 5 surgeries by the time you're 20 isn't considered normal, but I'd say it hasn't been that bad. It could definitely be a lot worse. But, for the most part, Thing #2 is something I enjoy telling people about, because I love hearing their remarks.

I also love making people touch the tube. It's just chillin' right there on my head. There's a scar. You can see it if you look closely. And you can even press it in! There's a spot on the tube that is like a button that helps me to know if the tube is functioning correctly.

It was a very cool way to hold a girl's hand when I was younger. Unfortunately, the wife didn't fall for my trick.

Now, it's just fun to use it to make people squirm.

So there you have it! You now know about Thing #1 AND Thing #2. But, unlike Dr. Seuss, I have one more surprise. Check back soon to see what it is!

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