Friday, April 03, 2015

Thoughts On Emergency Brain Surgery

Last Saturday in church, WunderGuy had a sudden, stabbing headache. We left early, went home, and he slept till Sunday morning. He didn’t seize, but the pain was so unusual, and lasted long enough to concern us. He’s had a few other, minor issues with “wooziness,” for lack of a better word. On Tuesday, his neurologist ordered blood tests and an MRI. He had his MRI at our local hospital at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

During the MRI, the technician said, “Uh… how long since your surgery?”

"February 12; six weeks," WunderGuy told him. He also thought It’s never good when the technician talks to you.

He was right. Before leaving the imaging room, he was told, “Don’t go straight home. The radiologist wants to talk with you.”

That’s never good, either.

It turns out that he has a brain bleed, or a blood clot (they are using the words interchangeably), filling the empty space left from the surgery. Nature hates a vacuum. ::sigh:: WG’s neurologist called the Imaging waiting room to speak with me, telling me that emergency surgery was warranted. We were not leaving the hospital. We were not to pass go. We did not get to collect $200. We were to go to ER and check in. Now. Surgery was happening IMMEDIATELY.

Within moments, WG was in ER, gowned, IV’d, and trying to wrap his head around the fact that he was going to have neurosurgery. Locally. Though, in the doctor’s words: “After what you’ve been through, this surgery is like a visit to the dentist,” much prayer and deep breathing ensued.

I hate visiting the dentist.

Then, a flurry of phone calls erupted between the hospital staff and the neurosurgeons at U of MI. It took hours for them to reach an agreement, but the upshot of it all was: emergency or not, if anyone was going to poke a hole in WG’s skull, it was going to be the people who did it in February. Which was fine with us.

So, at 10:30 p.m., they loaded my man into an ambulance (with the suspension of a cement mixer, he informs me), and I jumped in the car, and we drove the 150 miles to U of M. Where we spent the night in the ER. (Personal observation: ER chairs make world’s worst beds. Just saying.)

A CT confirmed the brain bleed: it’s atypical, like all of his brain issues. It’s spread across both hemispheres, there is much more fluid than can reasonably be expected for his body to assimilate, and the neurosurgeon who performed the original surgery will be the one to put in the drain.

It’s sounding less and less like a trip to the dentist. And I have this persistent vision of two little straws poking out of the top of WunderGuy’s head, like tiny steam valves.

Because Super Doc is going to do the surgery… IT STILL HAS NOT HAPPENED. I understand this. For now, WG is walking, talking, acting perfectly normal, and in no pain. So we are content to wait until the OR is ready and the Doc’s schedule has an opening. But all agree that it’s going to happen today. Any minute. They just don’t know when.

If all goes well (and we have faith that it will), he’s expected to be in the hospital at least 3 or 4 days. So: Happy Easter to us.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

Q:  Did we get any sleep last night?
A:   Define “sleep.” And no.

Q:  Is anyone with you?
A:  Yes: WunderGuy. No one else. This is by choice. I had multiple fabulous friends who offered wholeheartedly to come with me and keep me company through this. I hope I did not offend them when I said I’d prefer to be alone. Seriously: I meant it. It’s the Only Child in me.

Q:  Why aren't you answering my texts?
A:  Because U of M hospital has sketchy, sucky cell phone coverage. Also, because there is zero cell service in the ER.

Q:  How are you doing?
A:  We’re fine. We’re spending concentrated quality time together. I have a Terry Pratchett Discworld book with me, which I read aloud to pass the time, cracking us up into the wee hours of the morning. I aspire to write as well as Sir Pratchett; to be able to transport people out of whatever ER they may be in, and erase their worries for a short time with hilarious observations on Death, destiny, and what happens when you fall over the rim of the world.

Q:  What can I do?
A:  Pray. Think happy thoughts. Be grateful for the sleep you got last night and for your unopened head. Pray some more. If you're not comfortable praying, do whatever positive thinking process that lights your fire, and send some of that light our way, if you don't mind.

Nothing like a little cerebral emergency to put things in perspective. Further bulletins as events warrant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are praying, begging pleading. There is no need to plead or beg, its my own emotions. God hears, He is not deaf, He is sovereign. Ami so proud of you for hanging together. So wonderful in emergencies, so do whatcha have to do, and all with a smile and "it's ok". I don't know how you do it. Please know our prayers are ever on our hearts. Because we love you both - updates help. HUGS! and Love, A and W