Saturday, June 13, 2009
In the hospital
Well, Avery is in the hospital tonight. I just got home with Brogan about 30 minutes ago, and Gabe is staying with her at the hospital.
At about 12pm this afternoon I was getting ready to go to a baby shower with Avery and Brogan, and Avery was quite happily crawling up the stairs when she suddenly stopped and said she was dizzy, and then she slid back downstairs and started crying and saying she had a headache. She was suddenly in so much pain that she was writhing and squirming and just screaming and crying so hard. I couldn't do anything to make it better. I tried to rub her neck and shoulders, which usually helps with those other headaches she gets, but it didn't seem to help and she just screamed even louder, so I lay her flat on the couch and turned off the lights, and after a couple of minutes she calmed down. Meanwhile, I had called Gabe and we'd decided to take her to the ER as soon as he got home from Lowes. So he rushed home, but by the time he got back she was calm and happy lying on the couch. So I decided to take her to the baby shower anyway. It was less than a 20 minute drive, but by the time we got there she was fast asleep. I woke her up and took her inside, and she sat next to me on the couch for a while, and then got down to sit on the floor and play with blocks and trains with Brogan. After a couple of minutes of sitting there she got another one of the agonising headaches and just started screaming again, and I couldn't calm her down, so I decided that I really would take her to the ER. On the way to the hospital she slouched down and fell asleep again. I drove around for a few minutes while I waited for Gabe to get there, because I had no stroller, and she wasn't in a state to walk in her walker, and I couldn't carry Avery and Brogan very competently. She woke up when I was turning into a parking lot to turn around and said "What's this?" and I said we were turning around, and she said "Oh, okay" and I asked "How are you feeling?" and she didn't respond because she had fallen asleep again. That fast. I mean, zonked. I called out her name and she just didn't respond at all, so she was well and truly asleep.
Anyway, I'm too tired to go into our ER visit in too much detail, so I'll try to be quick. We got there at about 2:30 or 3pm, and they got us checked in pretty quickly. While we were checking in she acted like she was going to vomit, but managed to hold back, and we got her lying down again. Lying down really seems to help her feel better. The neurosurgeon on call came by and checked her shunt setting, and it was still at 1.0, which is what it's been for a couple of years now. But everybody seemed to think it must be shunt related since there were no signs of any other illness, and the neurosurgeon agreed that since lying down seemed to take the edge off it seemed like some low pressure type thing, so he ordered a shunt series of xrays and a CT scan. The last images of her brain we got were from our ER trip in February 2008, and Dr Frasier (the neurosurgeon) said that these images should probably look about the same if everything was normal. But when they came back the ventricles were actually really small - he said that in some areas they were barely even discernable, which is crazy...so he thinks that her shunt is actually over-draining. So he wanted to change the shunt setting from 1.0 to 1.5 and see if that helped her feel better. When they came back to change it, they checked it again to see the setting, and this time for some reason it was reading 0.5, even though 2 hours before it said 1.0, so they're not entirely sure whether the reading device was having a moment, or whether her shunt actually changed. The first option is the more likely and more desirable option :) So they changed it to 1.5 and admitted her to stay the night for observation and whatnot.
There! 7 hours in the ER reduced to one paragraph! Doesn't that make it all sounds simple and quick?! So we are obviously hoping and praying that this new shunt setting is all she needs. And she was actually feeling considerably better when I left for the night! She was able to sitting up and not screaming, which was a vast improvement considering that all afternoon if we tried to get her sitting up at all she was instantly in pain and crying. She was also eating some chicken strips and drinking some chocolate milk, which is great because she had refused any food or drink since breakfast. So we're feeling hopeful that they've guessed right on this issue! I'll be going back to the hospital first thing in the morning and we'll see how it goes. So I'm praying she has a good night.
Our dear, sweet, wonderful friends the Dubyks came and picked Brogan up while we were all in the ER and took him home with them and gave him dinner and put him to bed - how grateful I am for them and their willingness to help!!! We have such wonderful friends! It was such a relief to be able to just focus on Avery and not have to keep a 10 month old happy too, an once Avery and Gabe were settled into their room in the pediatric ward I was able to just go and wake up Brogan and bring him home - so much less traumatic for him!
I will let you know more tomorrow once we know more.