A couple of years ago I met Larry. I was in the Neuro-surgical department of the hospital. The surgeon clicked his mouse and up popped Larry in all his tangled glory.
It was the surgeon’s advice to name him, after all Larry had been living in me since birth. So it made perfect sense to be on first name terms. Manners maketh the Man. So Larry was named after the infamous gay comic Larry Grayson.
Larry is an AVM. An arteriovenous malformation, to be precise. He’s a tangle of blood vessels and veins that had been covertly operating under the alias of Mrs Migraine (I don’t name all my ailments, but they do seem to take on a life of their own).
Mrs Migraine had been paying unwelcome visits since I was about thirteen. She liked to pixellate my vision, numb my fingertips and occasionally (when she felt she wasn’t getting enough attention), deliver skull splitting headaches.
According to the Dr, Mrs Migraine is incredibly common, lacking in manners and very, very loud. I have meds prescribed and that was that.
Thirty years later I’m on the phone to my Father when suddenly I start slurring. Dad thinks I’m loaded (again), only now I can’t feel the phone in my hand, I also can’t feel my left leg.
As my husband catches the phone receiver falling to the floor he notices it all. It’s my face that really freaks him out, it’s dropped on one side.
I’m thinking Stroke, Husband’s thinking Stroke, Paramedics thinking Stroke, Dad’s still rambling on about the rapid decline of toilet paper standards, blissfully unaware that his son is having a full on seizure.
But by the time the Ambulance reaches the hospital all my symptoms had completely eased off. I can’t say I was normal as my face was still threatening to merge with my neck and never return.
Apparently, the very common Mrs Migraine had a sophisticated trick up her sleeve, she can impersonate a full on Stroke. Turns out she’s not such a common woman after all, she’s a highly versatile performer, a medical triple threat – she’s Liza Minelli.
So for the first time I am scanned. I end up in a revolving tube and the nurse gives me headphones, she says it can be a bit uncomfortable and noisy. Enya is warbling in my ears to the muffled backdrop of the scanners Industrial Techno. Ghastly.
I’m swiftly ushered into the surgeons office.
Enter Larry. The neurological cross dresser, an enigma, wrapped in a brain, impersonating Liza Minelli.
He’s been outed from my brain closet. He’s been sucking the life out of my right occipital lobe, probably since birth. Oh and he brought a couple of male escorts! Brad and Jeff. Two un-ruptured brain aneurysms forced into existence by Larry’s constant need to be fed. Greedy Queen! What can you do?
I did say right occipital lobe didn’t I? Yeah, that’s the part of the brain that controls your eyesight. The thing is I’m heavily involved with the creative arts, specifically visual.
Fate. Cruel. Irony doesn’t even cover it.
So to cut a long medical procedure short, I have two prize boxes to possibly open on this gameshow. Iv’e already won the bonus round, Brad and Jeff have got to be removed, that’s compulsory. (Brad’s already left and Jeff is living on borrowed time).
Box 1. Have Larry Evicted, only while he’s gathering up his feather boa and high kicking out the door he’s highly likely to take 50% of my eyesight with him.
What’s left of my vision will resemble a Kaleidoscope. I would have to learn how to see again in a whole new way.
My eyesight could return in a year or it couldn’t. Either way, career wise, life wise and financially I would be in no uncertain terms, Fucked.
Box2. Empty. That’s right, do nothing.
The logic being that apart from Larry’s dreadful Liza Minelli impressions over the past 45 years, he has, in fact, remained in tact. He’s a hoofer and a trooper.
Larry could put on a show tomorrow, or when I’m 95, reclining with a martini in Cannes. No one can tell me. He’s a Guerrilla performer.
So, monitor Larry on a regular basis and when I’m financially secure enough (Don’t be fooled into thinking creativity equals affluence, even for those that have survived for 30 years), re-cast Larry and send him to the twilight home of retired medical celebrities, a.k.a the incinerator.
The quandary is that no one can tell you what to do. Not even the surgeons. They aren’t allowed to here in the UK, they can just present you with choices.
I choose prize box two. It’s my first grown up decision, no, really. The first time I have been presented with such serious consequences.
I figure, if I can keep Larry under control, restrict his performances with meds and ban all male escorts, I’ll get through the show.
Jeff is being evicted in three weeks. He’s a deep character, can’t be dealt with via that wondrous artery that runs from your groin to your brain. No, this time it’s full on craniotomy, I will have a scar the size of a Tennis Ball.
Husband says if that’s the case I can have a facelift. It won’t hide the scar but it might make me feel a bit more fabulous. Every cloud kids, every cloud……