Monday, February 21, 2011

Part 6 ~ Surgery Again & AGAIN

Jan. 17 2011
I was not his first case, usually I am... and my surgery was not until ... I think.  I was scheduled for , but he got held up in a big case, and he ran behind the rest of the day. I finally get to surgery, full of anxiety from waiting all day. Thank God they let Tiffany wait with Jeff and I because she would of been in the waiting room all day by herself!  The nurse that took me upstairs to the "holding room" noticed that Tiffany was a minor, and said you should come with us.  She had never been up there with us before, that is where they start your IV and give you drugs to calm you down before they wheel you off.  There's hundreds of people in there working.  I call it "organized chaos".  Everyone is just rushing around doing something, taking patients in and out.  Needless to say, Tiffany was a little freaked out about this...

The shunt was "clogged" in the ventricle, again completely collapsed.  He gets it working again, and I was scheduled to go home the next day.

Jan. 18, 2011
I had been up, and out of bed a few times that morning. But I got up around 9:30am to wash up, brush my teeth, and start getting my stuff together.  And the SWOOSHING started up again!!! Just a short 18 hours after surgery! I freaked out called the nurse, and they paged the Dr, and his Resident that's at the hospital 24/7... 
Dr. Munoz was already on his way to the hospital when he got the page.  Tuesday he see's patients in his clinic. Still with his coat in hand, (it's January in Chicago, IL) he comes to my room... I tell him what's going on. He sits down, thinks for 2 seconds, and says, "Ya know Jennifer... The ventricles in your brain are just too small and collapsed to handle another VP Shunt... You will continue having the same problems. I think your best option is to implant a "Programmable" LP Shunt. That is really your only other option at this point." Again, I was beside myself, I called my husband to tell him what is going on.  He too cannot believe this is happening, but if it's the only option, then that's what we have to do.  So I was not discharged from the hospital, and he scheduled the surgery for the next day, Wednesday Jan 19th. My depression is in full force at this point.  I literally cried, in bed, all day.  Jeff was working that day, so he stayed at work knowing he's gonna have to spend the whole next day with me, while I have surgery.  I talked to Jeff and Tiffany off and on throughout the evening.  I could not tell them what time my surgery was, because no one new at that point.

Jan.19 2011
It was a "fit in surgery" whenever he could fit me in, was when I'd have the surgery... Luckily for me, bad for the other patient, someone had some cardiac complications come up during the Pre-OP testing, so their surgery, scheduled at was cancelled, and I filled that spot. I was happy to have the surgery... But I didn't find this information out until , and my husband & daughter were at home an hour away... I sent him a text message, letting him know, he did not answer.  So I sent him another message, and when they were getting ready to take me away at , he was texting me back, "good luck, we will see you when your done", as they had just got up, and had to get themselves together with a 1.5- 2 hr drive in rush hour traffic ahead of them... I was sad to go off to surgery, and them not being here, to give them that last kiss, and say, "I LOVE YOU"...  I have already been fighting depression during this whole process, so it was rough.  To say the least.  As I was in the holding area, I just cried.  They gave me something early to help me calm down, as I had the same Anesthesia team as i did just two days earlier, they understood that my family was not here yet, and this was the 4th surgery in just over 60 days. 

When my surgery was done, they were there waiting for me... I had a Lumbar-Peritoneal Shunt placed in my lower left quadrant on my abdomen, a tube run thru my peritoneal cavity, and the end of the tube was placed into my spine. Three incisions, I only planned on two...
I was discharged from the hospital on Thursday, Jan 20th. PAIN everywhere... Head, Lumbar spine,but the pain in my side, and abdomen were the WORST... Having those muscles cut through, yet again, PAINFUL!!!  But worth it to make the SWOOSHING in my ear go away!! The drive home was miserable, but I did what I could to stay comfortable, I just wanted to go home.

My husband got me up in bed, and comfortable, he had to leave to pick up our daughter from practice.  As I laid there for 10 minutes... the swooshing was back!  I freaked out!  I am so done with this!!  I just cried, but then pulled myself together before they got home, and came to the realization that this shunt was put in "Blind", they drained the fluid off my brain, and and set it at a number. Not knowing or remembering that it needs to be a "low" number. My first LP-Shunt was a "wide-open" (0.5)valve... I think it was set at 18, and really for me to function, it needs to be set between 8 & 10.  Knowing that I am needing the staples in my head out, and an adjustment on the shunt, I call and make an appointment for the next Tuesday.  The receptionist argues with me... Said it was too early, but I got an appointment anyway! 

Jan. 25 2011
We go back to Rush to see my Neurosurgeon.  He looks me over, talks to me, and sends in his Nurse Practitioner in to take out my staples, and to do an adjustment on the shunt. She brings in this instrument that has a magnet that "digitally programs" the shunt. During surgery my shunt was supposed to be set at 1.5.  Robyn the NP gets it on the shunt, took a few minutes, I still have staples,and am very swollen and tender.  She gets it on there, and it reads 2.5... What the hell? (I think SHE said that too) No wonder I have swooshing, My husband is standing behind her, he's intrigued how this thing works, and... yep, a second time it registers 2.5... OK, now she calls for some back up. Another NP. Both of them are now trying to get this shunt to program. Every time they do, it goes back to 2.5...  FINALLY... several attempts later, they get the number 1.5 to stick. That is where it was "supposed to be set" during surgery. "SUPPOSED to be set!!!" How does this happen?  A surgical resident who doesn't know exactly what he's doing? OR, it's malfunctioning... And to me... of all people...  She checks it several times before we leave to make sure it's still at 1.5, we are all good, so we make an appointment to see him the next Tuesday to get the rest of my stitches and staples out, and  NOW another shunt adjustment... We were home for like 10 minutes, and the swooshing started right back up...  Now, I just wait until Tuesday when I go back, to see if the number changed... Or if it just needs to be adjusted to 1.0... This is so depressing. It's like a big tease, the QUIETNESS in my ear for a few hours... It's the best sound in the world. The SWOOSHING is true agony!

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