Thursday, December 22, 2011

What we know thus far...

It's hard to put into words the events of the last two days so I am just going to bullet point the important bits.
  • Mum is still in the hospital
  • She has been experiencing strange side effects since December 7 and we have been back to the hospital numerous times to try and figure out what was going on.
  • The first visit (Dec 8) she was re-sutured at the base of the incision due to CSF leak and sent home
  • The second visit (Dec 14) she was told her headache was caused by weening off the Dexamethasone and Codeine and sent home
  • The third visit (Dec 18) they re-sutured the entire incision site and kept her for observations.
  • Monday the Doctors still didn't really know why this was happening.  Maybe she might need a shunt put in to relieve CFS fluid that they thought might be building up in her head but that was another intrusive surgery to the brain so they held off.
  • Tuesday her symptoms got a bit worse and the Dr's decided to do a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) to see what the fluid would tell us.  The first attempt was painful and unsuccessful, the second attempt was painful yet successful.  
  • Wednesday AM we were informed that although her white blood cell count and CT scans have both shown to be normal they used the CSF fluid removed during the lumbar puncture and detected an infection in her head called Bacteria Meningitis.
  • She was put on an antibiotic to fight the infection but her symptoms and pain continued to worsen.
  • Neurosurgery was called and the Dr. came in to tell us that they would have to relieve the pressure in her head by putting a cathader in her head as they could not do the surgery for the shunt at this time due to the infection.  (To my understanding both of these procedures do the same thing except the shunt would be internal and allow the fluid to drain down the spinal cord and the cathader drains it externally from the head into a bag).
  • She was sent for another CT scan and all of her blood work was taken and tested again.
  • By 8:30 she was transferred back to Intensive Care and prepped for the cathader surgery.
  • The surgery itself only took 30 minutes and although seemingly a success there are a few other factors that she is now dealing with:
  1. Her blood platelette count is very well, due to the blood thinner medication she was on (Heparin) this could cause an issue called HITS which I don't know much about because it's the first I've ever heard of it.  She will meet with the Thrombosis Doctor on Thursday to figure out what to do about that.
  2. There is still pressure in her head - need to figure out what that means
  3. The infection needs to get under control as well - antibiotics should help this.
  • She is now in ICU step down unit recovering with a single nurse Connie watching over her.
  • She said she's not in a lot of pain but just antsy and wants to move around which she can't at the moment.
That's all I got.  Looks like Christmas will be coming to Toronto Western this year and truly all I want for the holidays is for my mum to get better and come home. 


  1. I really hope you get your wish Ker!!!
    Thinking of you all, & sending lots of Lots of Love!

  2. Geese, there has to be a pot of gold somewhere... I'm so sorry that while we are all preoccupied with our daily lives such great trauma is happening to the best family in the world. I am glad to hear she isn't into much pain. I really hope you all get some type of definitive answer from the doctors and relief soon.
    Thinking of you all..
    Xo Erin
    And thank you for taking the time to update us all as I know putting hurtful occurrences into words must double the pain...

  3. Nurse Connie......I like that. It will remind you that part of me is there with you. The rest of me is in Vermont, where it is snowing and beautiful. I wish you and your family could feel what I feel. I will cherish every moment, but always be thinking of you. It will certainly be a Christmas to remember. My love and hope continues to surround you. xx