UPDATE:A Report on Me: Wacky, wet and wobbly. It would be funny, but it’s no joke

I will be operated on to put a shunt in my brain on Aug. 6 at 8:30. a.m. at Evanston Hospital. I should be there about 24 hours or so. Then home to recuperate and then back to this by my birthday, I think, on Aug. 23. Thank you all for your best wishes and sympathies.

A few years ago, I began feeling like there was something going wrong in my head. I talked to my doctor about dizziness, about tiredness at mid-day, about not being able to get rested in my bed at night.

I don’t think he was overly worried about it, but he eventually seemed as frustrated as I was about the symptoms. Still, I had just completed a book I have been reporting on for 16 years and I am happy with the outcome of that effort.

I still play music pretty well, remember all the songs I have written or borrowed from others and play diligently on my great old guitars. So there’s no sign of trouble in that level of performance.

A little bit of incontinence was added to the picture a couple of months ago. I’m not bursting forth in public, you know, but I have to be careful to not walk past any men’s rooms. (Or Women’s Rooms if a men’s room is not handy.)

Pee when you can is my new rule.

But I am almost 70 years old and have lived an interesting life, not to put it too graphically, so I expect some wear and tear in some regions of my body. But not in my brain, which I have treated quite well my whole life.

Still…

I am too cranky, I am told by my loved ones. I have lost patience. I spend way too much time sitting. I can’t keep up during walks. It’s hard for me to keep my thoughts in order.

And so on.

So I went to see a doctor who specializes in dizziness, and it looks like it might have been the smartest thing I have done in years.

I didn’t tell him that I was wacky, wet and wobbly or he might have understood. Normal Pressure Hydrocephlus is the diagnosis, I have learned now after months of testing and rushing around at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

In passing, I should note that if you ever have anything wrong with you, Northwestern Memorial Hospital is without question the best place to be. They are meticulous. Scientific. Complete. Kind and very interesting, too.

The dizziness doctor put me through about a dozen tests aimed at measuring balance and things connected to it. Most of them were normal. A couple of them were not, but guys my age tend to wobble anyhow, so no big deal.

Then he sent me for an MRI of my brain. I hate those things, of course, with their banging noises and the rest of it. But a clear picture emerged of what was happening in my ventricles, which were beyond normal in size and just the right evidence for a Normal Pressure Hydro. diagnosis.

While we are at it, that is a terrible name for a condition because you read “normal pressure” and think, “Terrific. I am fine.” Not the case at all. It’s not the rarest of ailments, but its rare enough so the typical internist is not going to go there without some strong evidence.

That’s where i am just now. The dizziness doctor had a team suck some spine juice out of my lumbar region to see if the change in pressure would make me a little less dizzy. It did, by a good measure. A day later, the symptoms returned as the fluid replaced itself.

So now I am lined up to see a grand brain surgeon in September, unfortunately on the 11th, to see what he suggests.

The thought is he will suggest installing a shunt that will drain the excess brain juice down through a tube and deposit it in my stomach, where it will be absorbed. There is hope, I am told, this procedure will clear up my symptoms.

Until this gets done, I am abandoning blogging about the presidential campaign. The condition can bring on dementia, and I am afraid I would not recognize any more crazy behavior from President Trump.

I want to thank my loyal followers for following so loyally! No need to worry about me. My wife is taking great care. My sons are in the area if needed and my dog, Lulu, is ever on the watch!

So, later.

Charles Martin Madigan

29 thoughts on “UPDATE:A Report on Me: Wacky, wet and wobbly. It would be funny, but it’s no joke

  1. Take care of yourself my friend! And when they have it fixed in September there will still be 14 months before the election. Plenty of craziness forthcoming. Chick

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh Charlie, glad you had it checked out. As Richard Pervo used to say, “Aging is not for the faint of heart” but sometimes I guess the symptoms are more than just those of age. We will keep you in mind and prayers and hope that the outcome is good. Much love to you and LInda!

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  3. 1) Like a lot of foofs our age, I can relate — especially about the pee stuff. 2) I love you, man.

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  4. Charlie, you really don’t know me but I am an old friend of Linda and (the sorely missed) David Nestor, which is how I came to your blog. Reading it has made me less crazy, or at least feeling like there are intelligent kindred spirits in the world. I thank you for your contributions to sanity, and wish you the BEST in pursuing healing for your condition. Your blog will be missed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Take care Charlie and get things fixed. You have too much to say to be gone for too long. Will keep you in my prayers. I know Linda will take good care of you.

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  6. Will miss your blog posts. Best of luck with the surgery. I take it you’re not a big pray-er, so I’ll send positive thoughts in your direction! Take care!

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  7. Hey, kiddo, well written, as always. Please, tho, can you NOT say “In passing,” Knock that shit off, and just get better. You owe me a latte, lover boy!

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  8. Charles!
    Sorry to hear that you are feeling out of sorts!
    But so glad you are getting it looked at and hope you are feeling better soon.
    Enjoy reading your blog – and completely understand why you want/need to stop writing about POTUS.
    Take care-sounds like you are in good hands

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  9. The best of luck with this new condition. I do hope you’re back at it again soon. Over the years, I’ve never missed your columns, but writing about the Trump debacle cannot be good for anyone’s health.

    [cid:c18e02b3-711f-4c7b-9ef1-0900d1417420]

    Jennifer M. Kohnke WGN/TV News Graphic Designer and Weathercenter Artist for Tom Skilling Syndicated OpArt Illustrator for Tribune Content Agency http://www.jenniferart.com/ ________________________________

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  10. Hang in there, Charlie. I have all confidence that you’re too damned ornery to give in! Meanwhile I’ll try my damnedest to be a 10th as good as you are on guitar.

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  11. Linda had mentioned that you weren’t driving, but didn’t say why. Thank you for sharing and I’m happy you are receiving such good care.

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  12. I’m sure glad that you were able to get it checked and now have a better idea of what’s going on. I echo the sentiment that your blog postings help me lean toward sanity. I not only pray, but even think that it may help (not just me, but the person for whom I’m praying) — so know that I’ll be offering prayers for your well-being on a regular basis. Already in process. xoxox

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  13. CM,

    I got a shunt 30 years ago. It’s not needed anymore, but still there as a reminder of how good modern neuro medicine is.

    Steve

    >

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  14. Dear Charlie, I am so glad you pursued the answers, and glad the condition is treatable. Thank you for writing so candidly about your experience. Who knows? You may be helping someone else tackle a medical mystery. Keeping you in mind and heart, with love. Janice

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  15. Sooo…big brother….little sis here…u got this & the clan has your back😘 Back to this ASAP when you are all aligned again!

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  16. Love what Steve Kagan said!! Keep those thoughts in mind.
    Look to the positive-not the negative.
    Modern Medicine will amaze you in your recovery.
    It is only a stumbling block on the path to normalcy.
    Love and prayers,

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  17. You were always the boldest, bravest, funniest and I don’t know what else from my time at the Tribune. You were inspiring then, have continued to be and now are again. I’m glad that they have found a diagnosis and a solution. I don’t care if you pray or not, I do and therefore will do so for you and yours. And seriously you are way too ornery for this to get you down. Keep on with your music with those beautiful guitars of yours. Love.

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  18. Charlie: John and I always enjoy reading your comments. You are such a good writer with so much common sense. I am so impressed with your ability to hone on the right doctor and get the treatment needed to address your problem. That is a gift within itself. Above all I think you are a problem solver who does not take closed doors and no for an answer. We have always enjoyed our few opportunities to visit with you and Linda. Thanks for sharing. We will look forward to hearing more from you. John and Maria Duttera

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  19. Take care, Charlie! And good on laying off the politics for now, but let us know if you’re out playing about, especially over by me at the Grafton. Be well, friend.

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  20. Hey Charlie. Thanks for telling this tale. I learned to never pass up a bathroom when I was covering political campaigns. But like you it has become a lot more important now. Take care.

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  21. Butch/Charlie, Tom here.
    Just as you expressed during our “lunch” outing.
    For what its worth, you are in my prayers – some even get answered!
    Look forward to next outing.

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  22. Charlie, I read that the queen of England advises using the bathroom every chance you get. Appears to be royal advice that applies to all of us. As for being dizzy, I always thought we had to be to qualify as Chicago journalists, a normal occupational hazard. Chasing politicians might make it worse. Get well. Much to do.

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  23. I was sitting with you in the Gage Gallery the night the election results were announced. Though I regret just stumbling on this blog, it has brought lots of comic relief with the most recent headlines. Thank you for the laughter through the madness.

    Sending my best.

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  24. I was sitting with you in the Gage Gallery the night the election results were announced. Though I regret just stumbling on this blog, it has brought lots of comic relief with the most recent headlines. Thank you for the laughter through the madness.

    Sending my best.

    Like

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