Thursday, November 11, 2010
by Mark Beckwith
Good morning. I'll start by saying everything is fine, and I will publish this sentence as is while I write this blog entry in more depth. It's been a long 24 hours. More ASAP.
So where were we? Last blog entry found us surprised that Megan's surgery was already finished. It was a sort of hurry-up-and-wait all afternoon, as she took a very long time in the recovery room. As I requested, they allowed us to get in there by her side as soon as they could.
Mom did not last long - the nurses clearly were afraid of how pale she was and advised her to maybe go back to her room, which she did, with a staff escort. She was fearing that she may be coming down with something and these nurses pretty much got her out of there.
Ultimately it was about 3 hours in the Recovery Room. Megan never awoke to the point of having that eyes-meet-eyes father-daughter moment I was sort of fantasizing about. Instead it was a sad state of nausea with acute episodes (can't bring myself to use the V word) four times in three hours, and it was just miserable. In every other bed, patients came in, woke up, greeted their parents and headed out. But there we sat. Oh well. Good friends Ken and Kathy Wright showed up bearing food. That was welcome.
At about 5pm I gave it up and decided to take Kathy out for some dinner. While we were out, word came down to move Megan out and into the Neurology Wing. This was welcome - the decision to bypass ICU was promising because it meant, in the doctors' assessment, that Megan was doing quite well.
Kathy and I enjoyed dinner at a downtown Sushi bar (no surprise there for anyone who knows us), we got the call from the Recovery Room staff with the new room number, we called the Wrights to cover us (move all our stuff from one room to the other) and greet Megan. Apparently Megan recognized everyone just fine when she awoke, and was in darned good spirits.
In the Recovery Room I managed to put my own worse fear to rest - that of the <1% risk of paralysis on Megan's left side when they cut into the right side of her brain. At one point when I felt she might respond, I placed my finger in her left hand and said "squeeze my finger" - the response was sure and immediate. That really was all it took to make me quit worrying. Later the nurse did a more comprehensive test of Megan's relative strengths on both sides - they were all strong and equal. (All these doctors and nurses have been doing this same test every time they see her since - she's getting to where she just does it all without being asked practically).
Kathy dropped me off at Le Bonheur and continued to the hotel. She needed to crash. Megan and I hung with the Wrights. We opened a bottle of wine. Ultimately Ken and Kathy headed off to their own lodging.
The night was rough for me - they'd had to use a catheter to empty Megan's bladder at the 8 hour point when she had not managed to pee, right before we went to bed. Poor kid. Imagine my surprise when only two hours into a decent sleep, I heard all the monitor alarms go off, turned over in the dark, and saw my child out of bed, standing up, tangled in a mess of IV tubes and electrode cables, and saying to me quietly "Dude, I'm STUCK."
And so it went that time and three additional times - always seemingly when I was at the pinnacle of dreamland, getting up, untangling the maze of tubes and wires, scurrying her into the bathroom, waiting patiently [whistle, whistle], then helping her out of there and onto the bed, and reconnecting all her electrodes in the semi darkness (you know how a hospital room is never really dark).
An hour later, more alarms, etc., repeat.
So just when I was getting in some serious Z-age, all the doctors seemed to need to make their rounds at ... 6:45am. It was too much.
The good news is, everyone in impressed with her desire to get up and get moving, and the fact that she can pee on her own. This is all good stuff. Today is the Big Pain day, but she seems to be handling her pain medication well, and sleeping comfortably. We have an MRI in a little while. If the MRI's good and the pain is under control, we begin a regimen of Physical Therapy.
Doctors feels like they might be sending her home sooner than later.
I'll write more about the details of the surgery, but I can say right now that everything appears to have gone completely as expected, with no complications and no surprises. Absolutely nothing unexpected.
Sleep ... must ... sleep .....