Thursday, April 30, 2009

In the homestretch

What a journey. And I am so very glad that it looks like it is almost over.

We started back at the end of January with what looked like an aneurysm. With a stay in the ICU for 2 weeks. Plus a few extra days in the hospital. And when they sent us home, we still really didn't know what caused the bleed in Michael's head.

Our first day home from the hospital sent us back to the emergency room with what might have been a seizure. Because in their hurry to send us home, no one gave us an anti-seizure medication.

The next few weeks Michael spent hanging out around the house. And then we finally got into the rehab program. And he started a month's worth of cognitive therapy. The bleed was in the part of the brain that is in charge of organization and categorization. So remembering a simple three or four item list is difficult if not impossible. But during therapy they worked on it...and worked on skills that he can use to get around some of his short term memory issues. And now he has graduated from that program.

And then finally. Where I left you two weeks ago.

We finally got a diagnosis. A fistula. And they scheduled surgery for last Wednesday. (And yes. elective surgery. Doesn't mean that insurance won't cover it. It just means it's scheduled. And not an emergency. However my insurance company is balking over the cognitive therapy. Idiots.)

So, Michael did the pre-op appointment. And we arrived at 8:30 am last Wednesday for surgery. Where we were promptly asked these questions: "What are you doing here? Didn't you get the message that the surgery has been rescheduled?" Um. No. No one left us a message. Called. Faxed. Smoke signals. Nothing.

We found out that our appointment had been moved to Friday at 5:30 am. AM?! Yep. In the morning. And we also found out that the scheduler at the neurosurgeon's office is in a bit of hot water for not getting a chance to call us.

Friday morning. That alarm going off at 3:50 am was quite unpleasant. But we were at the hospital - and at the waiting room - at 5:30. But apparently none of the staff were there yet. They did not show up until 6 am. And we were not called back to prep until almost 7. Oh, that hour more of sleep would have a really good option.

At 10am, Michael's surgeon came out to tell me that his part was had all gone well...and that I should be able to see him around noon.

By 2pm, he was in his room in the ICU...catching up with the nurses from our last stay. He was awake. Alert. Joking around. Here he is with his bandages and the drain in his head. He wanted me to be sure to get pictures this time.

When the doctor finally pulled off the bandages, and I was able to get a good look at his staples. I realized that no one bothered to clean him up. All the blood that ran during surgery - still there. All on his scalp. Making his hair crispy in parts. There were huge dried pieces of blood stuck to his hair and to his scalp. It was gross. And we couldn't wash it because the staples can't get wet. I tried to clean some of it with a washcloth...but it really was not doing the job.

Michael was in the ICU for less than 24 hours. And he was discharged from the hospital on Monday. Not quite four days of time.

After we got home, Michael took great pleasure in grossing out the girls with his head.The girls were grossed out by the blood and staples. Me. Well...the hair cut leaves little to be desired.

So...we thought we should really even things up. Shave it all off. And get some one to wash his scalp.



Much better.

And now. The staples. All 44 of them come out next Thursday. No more therapies needed. And he can go back to work the following week. The problem solved. And it is not a problem that will come back. Hallelujah. Amen.

So...what about you? Have you ever had a disaster of a haircut? If this had happened to you...would you have shaved your head? Have you ever had staples or stitches?

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Circulatory System for a Thousand, please, Alex

I am not a doctor. Nor do I play one on my blog.

I am not a teacher. But I sometimes play one in my life.

So...that being said. Take the circulatory explanation for what it is. Simplistic. Rudimentary. And potentially riddled with errors.

Arteries carry blood away from your heart. Arteries have to be very strong so that they can withstand the pressure of the blood as it is carried through the body.

Veins carry de-oxygenated blood back to the heart. The walls of a vein are tissue paper thin. And they can be because they don't deal with the constant pressure.

The two are connected by capillaries. Capillaries connect the arteries to your muscles and organs. And then another set of capillaries join up with the veins. And it all starts over again.

Or at least that is the way it is supposed to work.

Today Michael had a follow-up angiogram. And we found out that Michael did not have an aneurysm after all. What he has is an arteriovenous fistula. Which basically means that in his brain, he has an artery that directly connects to a vein. And well. That vein had just had enough pressure. It bled. A lot. And all that bleeding mimiced an aneurysm. And all that blood. Well, it shielded the fistula.

Now that we have an actual diagnosis. We fix it. And by we. I mean the neurosurgeon. And what we are going to do is a little brain surgery. Next week. Because there is a 20% chance that it will bleed again. This year. But. As far as brain surgery goes, it's not supposed to be a big deal. And when it's fixed. It's fixed. But guess what? It's "elective" brain surgery. Maybe Michael will ask if they can do a little eyebrow lift while they are there.

So...what about you? What kind of elective surgery would you want? Did you ever want to be a doctor? Oh...and I sorta forgot about my own contest. Click here to see the winner of the "Bride and Prejudice" movie.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Real Thang

See why I am not a fan of wordless? It leaves too many questions. All unanswered. Words would have explained it all. Eased all of your concerns. And doubts. All because of a simple little picture.And I'll tell you. It is real. It is a real ultrasound. Of me. With a baby in my belly. Approximately 8 weeks along.

However. That baby. Well. She's come a long Because now...she looks like this:

And those mad photoshop skills. Well...those belong to my husband. Who simply changed the date. Somehow. I don't know how. Because I don't have the mad skills. The tech skills. The savvy. Just the brilliant idea. And I have spent the day basking in my own cleverness. Ignoring emails. Screening my calls.

And many many thanks to those of you who believed. Even just a smidge. Because you made my day! I especially loved the email from Lizzy accusing me of taking advantage of a brain-addled, half-bald man. I don't think I have ever done an April Fool's prank before. Though I am a big fan.

Google does some of the best. Especially for people with gmail accounts. Last year they offered up a new program that let you have 5 email date changes a year. So that you could pre date work that had to be emailed. Or suit some other correspondence to your date needs. All based on the science of the "e-flux capicator."

And then this year they offered up a new program called "autopilot." Gmail will save you time by reading and responding to your email messages. Simply by mimicing your style. How often you have typos. Even to your own level of emoticon use. "It's like you, but automated."

Or who remembers when Taco Bell said that they bought the Liberty Bell? And that they were now going to call it the Taco Liberty Bell?

Or last year on you tube, when all videos linked to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give you up?"

But. I think my favorite pranks come from the BBC. I think that they pioneered the corporate prank with their Swiss spaghetti harvest of 1957.

And I loved their entry last year. With the discovery that penguins really can fly.

So...what about you? Did you fall for any pranks this year? Do you have a favorite? Are you much of a jokester? Oh...and I have extended the contest for the copy of "Bride and Prejudice." Just click here to enter. Winner will be announced on Friday.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009