Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Part Two - Brain Surgery Extravaganza:)

So onward and upward, or at least I thought. I got home on Saturday, and my first doctor's appointment was on Friday. I had good days and bad days. There were a few days when I was able to get up and walk down the hall. I still couldn't really lift my head. And I still needed help feeding myself on some days.

My mom helped me take a bath and brush my teeth every day. Kyle, my sister and his mom made sure I had everything else I needed. Brittney even gave me a squeaky ball to summon them when I needed them - worked like a charm:)

The best part about being stuck in bed was having someone to take naps with...

Kyle also refused to sleep in the bed with me because he was afraid he would throw himself about and hit me, so he put an air mattress in the floor next to my bed (he is still there now). Ella enjoyed the air mattress too.

Kyle checked my incision every day and cleaned it every night, and each night, it looked good. Until Thursday. Thursday was the worst day I had. I didn't get out of bed all day. I couldn't eat or talk. I was in immense pain and I had a pounding headache. On Thursday night, my incision started looking more red and it started to ooze. He and his mom looked at it and decided to call the doctor, who said that as long as it wasn't clear or bloody, then it was okay. He also said that since I had an appointment the next day, we could look at it then. My mom had gone home for the day, so Kyle called her and told her to come back.

Kyle took the baby to daycare, then I rode laying down in the backseat to the doctor, and Kyle and his mom practically had to carry me in. By the time we got to the doctor, my mom was already at my house, and said she would wait there until we told her what to do. At the office, I knew I needed to lay down or I would pass out. So Kyle's mom went and told the nurse that I needed to be taken back as soon as possible. So they came and got me and laid me on the table. The minute they started cutting into my stitches, infection started pouring out. The nurse said she didn't like the color, so she went and got a neurosurgeon resident (my neurosurgeon was out of town...of course), and he said that I immediately had to go to the hospital. He said that, from where he stood, there were three options: start on antibiotics and see what happens; do a spinal tap to see if the infection had penetrated my spinal fluid; or operate again and clean the infection out.

By the time I was admitted into the hospital, it had already been decided that they were going to operate again. So they rushed me back and started collecting my information. By the time my gown was on, my mom was there. Kyle and his mom had to leave to go get the baby at school, so mom stayed with me while they got my information and started getting my IVs in, taking bloodwork, trying to write down when I ate last and when I took my last meds. And then that was it. They wheeled me away. Same story as last time. Only this time, they weren't as generous with the hair shaving.

When I woke up, I was rolling down the hallway and I ran into my mom and Kyle. They put me into a regular room this time and my family filled the room. My mom and dad, Kyle, Brittney and Nick - everyone came pouring in. The pain this time was actually worse than the first time, so they kept me doped up on nausea medicine, morphine and percocet. They rotated valium in every once in a while. Again, I couldn't eat for a couple days, but this trip was complicated by the infection. After I woke up, a group of people from Infectious Diseases were in my room talking about how they were trying to isolate the bug that had caused my infection. They said that it was hospital-borne, meaning I had got it in the operating room. They said that it was superficial, and that it had not reached the dura graft on my brain, but it had gotten as close as possible. They said that once they determined the bug, they would be able to zone in on the antibiotics, but for now, I was getting a range of them. The doctor with Infectious Diseases then started talking to me. I asked her if they were going to be able to ge rid of the infection. She said yes, and then started asking me about my daughter - she asked me if my doctor and I had discussed her before deciding to have the surgery, why we decided to have it so soon and if my doctor and I had discussed waiting until my daughter was older before I had the surgery. So, my natural reaction in my doped up state was to ask her, "Am I going to die?" It was the first time, EVER, that I had ever let my fear show to anyone. And of course, my family was in the room and heard me. But when she started asking those kind of questions, I thought she was trying to tell me that I wasn't going to see my daughter grow up. She assured me I wasn't going to die - she said that she was just trying to bond with me because she had a baby too. Not smart, lady. Not smart.

After that, Kyle and my mom took turns staying the night with me, and it took about two days before I could eat or drink anything. Then, an amazing thing happened. Infectious Diseases identified the bacteria that had caused the infection, and they started me on antibiotics that targeted it. When I woke up the next morning, I sat up and ate chocolate pudding. No lie. It took two more days before I could get up and walk, use the restroom and work with physical therapy, but the turnaround was remarkable. I went in on Thursday and came home on Tuesday. And the difference between the last time and this time is incredible. Last time, I never got out of bed. Now, I spend part of the day in bed and part of the day sitting up (blogging!). My appetite has also returned. And I've been able to cut down on my meds. Instead of 2 percocet, I take one. And last night, my mom and Kyle's mom washed the front part of my hair. I can't wash it all because my stitches have to remain completely dry and can't get wet. But having the front part and my bangs clean made a huge difference. For a girl who washes her hair every day, going a whole month without washing my whole head is as close to torture as I can get. I'm making little strides here and there, but the best part, I get to see my baby. I still can't pick her up or carry her. I can't really even hold her. But someone will hold her next to me so that I can love on her and try to hug her. It hurts my heart that I can't wrap her up tightly, but seeing and touching her is enough for now.

She has grown so much. I just laid over her and cried when I got home. I missed her so, so much. She is saying "da-da," she loves oatmeal, and we fed her carrots for the first time last night.

When mommy got home:)

Playing footsies with mommy:)

We still have to keep an eye on my incision and watch for infection. Since my infection was so close to the brain graft, there is still a possibility that it could infect it, and then I would have to have the surgery over and they would have to replace the graft completely. It could even happen a year down the road. But I'm not going to worry about that right now. Absolutely nothing I can do about that.

But for now, all we do is wait. I will hopefully get my stitches out in 10-14 days and then I can wash my hair. Happy, happy, joy, joy. I've been through quite enough this year to last me a few years, and I hope and pray that God agrees that two brain surgeries is enough for this girl. And I hope he agrees that I've handled this the best way I knew how for everyone involved, and that he will heal me completely. And if there is anything else that I've learned, it's that I'm one blessed, loved and lucky girl.

And with that, I'm going to continue to heal, blog about my growing daughter and hopefully plan a beach trip very soon.

Thanks for taking the journey with me:)

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