Becoming A Metalhead


Since my brain surgery, life has changed.

When I bend over I feel woozy. I have a noticeable scar from the top of my head to my ear. Sleeping on my right side is impossible.  I always have a slight to mild headache. Healing is slow when it comes to bone and brain.

In the mail today came a notice of another change. The contents of the letter told me what is inside my head.

Before today and prior to surgery, the mail predictably informed me of what is inside the heads of others. Its contents contained information people desired to place inside my head, not tell me precisely what was already inside of mine.

Today I received a thank you note for a gift, junk mail from an insurance agency, and the latest Poet’s & Writer’s Magazine. All these items contain ideas that other people wish to place in my head. I’m comfortable with that.

The fourth item that arrived today was different. His office sent a medical identification card. It testifies that I have a specific brand of neurosurgical implant in my brain. The note accompanying the card said it is important that I carry this card with me at all times, just as people who are allergic to penicillin or hemophiliacs do.  This card certifies that I am a metal head, which I knew, and that the metal in my head has a safe use limitation, which I did not know.

The reason given for carrying the card is that the alloys in my head can set off airport security systems. This makes the idea of travel even more fun. From now on I won’t just take off my shoes and belt, and emptying my pockets. Now I need to divulge something inside my body that I can’t change, something that is a part of me, something that keeps me alive.

Now life in the security age gets more invasive. There is a chance of walking through the body scanner, setting off an alarm and being searched for something that can’t be seen. Is full-body groping and cavity searches in my future? It is a possibility.

The card states that the titanium clips and screws holding my head together are safe to 3.0 TESLA. What the hell does that mean? Does that mean ratings above 3.0 TESLA will heat up the metal in my head and fry my brain? Or will it corrode the device holding my artery together?

Traveling with metal in my head is different from traveling without metal. Along with my passport, driver’s license I will now need to present my medical identification card. The question is, do I disclose to the TSA that the scanner may activate when I walk through it, thus arousing suspicion?

“Oh, by the way, I don’t have a bomb or anything but the metal in my head may set off your scanner’s alarm.”

Or do I wait and take a chance that their machines are calibrated correctly (below 3.0 TESLA) and I won’t set off an alarm? What if it’s not calibrated correctly, the alarm goes off and my pockets are empty? Does that mean I get cavity searched?

Not only is airport security a concern but new hospital technology is too. Most Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines function at 1.5 TESLA. Newer machines use 3.0 and some zap patients at 7.0.

Either way, traveling just got more complicated. I’m flying again in two weeks. My doctor in Seattle wants to look inside my brain again and see how my metallic implants are getting along with my brain.

Have you underwent a medical treatment that produced unforeseen results? 


11 responses to “Becoming A Metalhead

    • Thanks Sabra. Hope you’re doing well too. Your last Sunday Whirl was vivid. The baby snakes brought back memories.

  1. You are most courageous, my friend. Just this past Friday morning I had back surgery to compress my lower disc which has been ruptured for quite some time. My surgery seems to have been a walk in the park compared to what you are going through. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. I will have to consider some new poetry after reading this post. Godspeed to you, Kris. JDub

    • I don’t know Matt, I think back surgery one ups brain surgery. The head doesn’t move much or support anything other than weightless thoughts. If my piece inspires a poem or two from you I’ll consider this a successful and worth while post. Be well inspired even if pain is the trigger.

    • Even if you didn’t write great poems and erudite blog posts, I’d stop by your blog regularly just to view the masthead. I’ve been meaning to ask for sometime, where did you come by that fantastic image?
      Fortunately I don’t have electro-mechanic device implants yet but that could be next. Thanks for stopping by.

      • My daughter, the graphic artist, is the creator of the little lady writing on the sun. She’ll be tickled by your compliment. She’d love to design your cape when you get your super powers.

      • You must be very proud of mothering such talent. I bet she could come up with a great cape motif but to quote Edna from the movie Incredibles, “No capes.”

  2. Such is the life of a metal head! I think you’ll find that things won’t be as complicated as you think. I wish you a smooth upcoming flight and complete healing.

    • Dana. You always inspire me.

      HOW I GO

      I want to fly.
      I want to heal.
      I get complications.
      I am content
      to fall on my face
      and get up again.

      • Thank you Kris! I am inspired by you as well… and when you speak from your heart you can never go wrong. Your little poem tells me much about your persistence to keep on keeping on!!

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