Randomness – Entry #1

“In the beginning…”

Hi! I’m Peter Rangel Jr., a co-host (as you know) on our podcast “Top 5: A-Z” on here on Rabbit Hole Podcasts, and in my first entry on here I wanted to just randomly pop a little get-to-know-me-better, quick-facts-of-knowledge for everyone on here.

A few weeks after I was born back in 1978, I almost died from hydrocephalus. The nickname for the condition is “water on the brain” but technically it is cerebrospinal fluid on the brain. I wasn’t supposed to be here people, but the great doctors at the now-defunct children’s hospital subsidiary of University of Chicago Hospital (which was named Wyler’s Children’s Hospital) saved my life with a hydrocephalus shunt which is pretty much (in short) a tubing going through inside from my head, to neck, and to my stomach. It was a bit challenging growing up with it. Even if I eventually grew out of this, during my childhood I was, of course, an average, everyday normal kid—yet I wasn’t. I had to watch everything I did. I couldn’t ride a bike, skate—anything with wheels ‘til I was 15 or 16 due to doctors saying that if I fell and hit my head near the shunt I could mess up the tube, or worse. I had bad balance for the longest time and in my old Douglas Taylor Elementary School days, gym teacher Mrs. Gloria Hafer (*my bud Rob Hafer’s mom; there is a cool, extra random note after this for my reason behind the * too) really didn’t like my days on the balancing beam in gym because of this, because as a kid I was scared shitless of jumping from high heights or even just a few feet—afraid I would mess up my shunt if I didn’t land the jump off it.

Whenever my shunt went out the 2 times it did, and when I had to get an extension for the tubing of the shunt due to growth wasn’t cool either. I got really dizzy and distorted in a vertigo-like state. I didn’t know where I was at and kept falling out and going to sleep. I’d come to one moment in one place then wake up in another. My parents and grandparents (once they realized things) got me to the hospital fast. 

My last time I got an extension for the shunt in March of 1990, I had woken up to 2 (for a kid then) scary moments. The first was when I got to the hospital a little after and saw the doctor put this big damn needle in my head. Not exaggerating. Very real. Lol! I had that “holy shit!” scared-kid look on my face but really only felt a pinch, as I remember. Blacked out again not too long after and woke up to the scariest of the 2 for a kid, which was waking up briefly during the surgery. I won’t gross anyone out, but I saw certain areas of me open that no kid at (then) 12 should see. But there is a funny story to this. After, I still ‘til this day remember when I briefly woke up during surgery, said “What the fuck!!!” then blacked out again. My parents told me afterwards I had knocked out 2 or 3 doctors and nurses because I went nutty after seeing what I saw, and this I have no recollection of. Lol! I remember one of the doctors long after surgery, when I woke up in my room at the hospital, saying that I had a good punch for a kid my age. Lol!

The effects after outgrowing the shunt (even if I still have it in me) but can’t—as I was told by doctors—have it ever removed, have been a little scarring but not too bad I feel. I have a nervous twitch every once in a while/once in a blue moon which is the biggest area, and I have tried to, after I was told in my late teens I could finally, ride a bike, but I have bad nerves riding a bike and car. I still haven’t got a driver’s license but I finally, after years, can at least ride an adult tricycle.

I’m very much normal now, without any effects otherwise from the shunt since 1990. Now 44 and living a normal adult life. 

(Okay. Now on to the cool note I mentioned I would get to here. My bud Rob Hafer was on the Food Network’s “Chopped” a few years ago. Look it up!)

This is just Part 1 of “In the beginning… ” here on “Randomness”. Hope you all enjoyed my first entry on random stories from my life, plus I will be writing on pretty much anything besides my life in the random sense. Thanks to all who read this and appreciate it!!! Until my next entry, (since I wrote this late at night) good night, everyone, and peace ‘til later!

Check out Top 5 A-Z every other Thursday for more from Pete!

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