6:26PM -The bishop stopped by today and delivered some much appreciated support, and some very welcome laughter. He was delighted to be in a pic with my father and didn’t even make me promise that we wouldn’t make fun of him on the blog. This is what a few good men look like.
8:30PM – Relapse
Yesterday was such a huge relief. My mother had been so much more awake and alert than in any of the previous days. It was at that point, about 96 hours after the surgery, that I finally allowed myself to believe what all of us have been wanting so badly to believe this entire time: “Everything is alright…she’s going to be ok” Unfortunately, today everything was not ok. She did rest “comfortably” through the night but over the course of the morning, afternoon and evening, she has slowly drifted back downhill in almost every metric. At this point, the swelling has returned and she is once again unable to respond when asked to tell us her name.
I know my mom well, and I understand she’s going for dramatic effect here by throwing in a bit of a plot twist. “Recovering quickly” and “getting well soon” is so cliche and predictable. It is my mom’s desire to tell a much more epic tale…”When there is no peril in the fight there is no glory in the triumph.”
Between you and me though, mom…I think we’re good on peril; best to not oversell it. So if you’d like to please go ahead and start getting better now for real, I think we’d all be just fine with that. Thank you.
9:54PM – After seeing my mom’s decline today, Dr. Schmidt feels that we may be fighting a losing battle in trying to manage the swelling. He makes the tough call and is rushing in to prep for surgery. He will be going back in and removing the bone flap on her skull to alleviate pressure and reduce the swelling. This also means there will now be a third surgery in the future to re-attach the bone flap.
I see what you did there, mom. Fine, have your peril. We’re all on the edge of our seats now.
11:58PM – Surgery is done. It went well. More to follow tomorrow morning.
11:41AM – I arrived this morning to find mom sound asleep; I have never heard a more beautiful snore. I have not spoken with the nurses or doctor yet but mom looks good; the swelling is gone. As far as I can tell, it looks like they decided to abstain from using a scalpel or any other “official” medical tools of the trade, and just went with about a Titleist 6 iron. There is a pretty significant divot that will need some attention.
12:59PM – Ah, finally in! My kids have kept me locked out for fear I would have diarreha of the mouth, or in this case, the written word. The nurse just came in and did the “Price is Right” game: Glenda, what is your name?-Duh, you just told it to me. Glenda, open your eyes; Glenda squeeze my fingers (with the Vulcan Death Grip); Glenda, wiggle your purple painted toes; Glenda, what year is it (no, not what year you want it to be); Glenda, where are you at (I love her standard answer “Here” I laugh every time at that.) No prize if she gets the questions right, even though I try to score a free ice cream (obviously for her, not for me).
I wanted to caption the picture of her stitches and swelling “Getting Ready to Go To A Tim Burton Movie,” but was voted down even though everyone laughed out loud. Something about too dark of humor or the like.
About 1 week prior to her surgery I did give her a Priesthood Blessing (those wondering what that is I can refer you to 2 young, clean cut men, or women for that matter, who would be happy to answer your questions). In the blessing she was told she would be healed. That has since guided me, no matter what that might look like.
There has been a short while now between this and the previous paragraph. I believe Sid intentionally did somethihg to the computer to stop or limit my input.
The staff here have been amazing: all the doctors, nurses (a shameless plug for nurses), and the like. I personally did NOT have any problem with the lunch lady.
I do thank everyone for their prayers, putting her name on the temple prayer rolls, and the positive thoughts. Those who know us know that we know (say KNOW) how powerful all that is. Thank you.
Pic: Mom with Lincoln and Storm 1 week before surgery.
11:12AM – Yesterday was a long day of resting. It felt the same as day 2 after the initial surgery. She was able to physically respond to the neuro checks but not verbally.Pepper has been there all morning today. Says mom is doing better than yesterday. She is able to open her eyes and she knew that Pepper was there. All vitals/metrics are stable and looking good.
10:00PM – Glenda is sleeping. They hooked her up to an EEKG to determine if she is having nonconvulsive seizures, meaning that her brain could be having seizures but it is not manifesting physically. The doctors are trying to determine why she is not waking up but is cycling through the same pattern: wakes up & fairly alert in the morning, then steadily becomes drowsey and “sleeps” for the rest of the day and night.
She knew who I was and is able to answer the checkup questions but other than that she is pretty much like a sleeping baby (just bigger). She squeezes my hand to let me know she knows I am here; so she is in there. There is still swelling on the brain according to the CT scan done earlier today, so they are back to monitoring and maintaining her sodium levels to keep the swelling down/in check. Done for the night.
Thank you to you all for your prayers and continued support.
12:01PM – Pepper reports that the medical team has detected no evidences of seizures. Mom’s vitals remain stable but there has been no real improvement in alertness; she’s still pretty much out of it. She is able to wiggle her toes slightly when asked but is not really responding to the orientation questions.(What’s your last name?, Do you know where you are? etc.) There is swelling that persists. Medical staff are continuing to try and manage/control it with meds. They see no reason/advantage in ordering another CT scan at this time. They are confident mom will pull through and say that it is just a matter of time.
Pic: Dad waving a lavender wand under moms nose, courtesy of moms good friend (one of many) Patti.
8:40 PM – I asked the nurse if mom is in some form of a coma. He told me at her worst she is “near comatose”. He also said when she is at her best she is responsive and active, which was the case early this morning around 4 am. He said she “waxes and wanes” so her coma levels greatly vary. When Pepper was visiting earlier she asked mom if she needed anything and mom vaguely responded “rest”. Dad let her know earlier that although she has had 2 surgeries, this isn’t a “3 strikes and your out” scenario. She smiled. Also I had to look up the phrase “waxes and wanes”. Apparently its French and roughly translates to “rips a good one” so I’m not too sure what the nurse was referring to at this point.
Pic: about 1 1/2 years ago.
10:48AM – Pepper reports that mom is a bit more alert but not much. We were unaware of this, but on the initial surgery, some sort of small drain/mechanism/tube was placed in her lower back. Due to the curvature of her skull, they had been unable to place a drain in her head, and so as I understand it, the drain in her back was sort of a backup; often referred to as a “3BD” – a Backup Back Brain Drain ( <–that’s a lie ). Cool acronym aside, Dr. Schmidt thinks this 3BD may be leaking spinal fluid which is causing her not to “wake up” and recover as quickly as she should/could be. They are going to perform a procedure to stop this leaking. This procedure is often referred to as a Super Glueby Flooby Tooby ( <–that’s a lie? ). The good news is that the SGFT is not a surgery and does not require anesthesia. Dr. Schmidt expects that after this procedure she will be more awake within a day or so; and much more awake in another 3-4 days. This news made Brad, often referred to as “adopted”, and the rest of us feel much more optimistic.
I know my mom is in there, and I know she’s fighting.
1:09PM – Pepper reports that mom is doing better today. Doctors successfully did a blood graft procedure yesterday to stop the leaking spinal fluid in her lower back. Mom woke up and said she was hungry. Pepper helped her eat some eggs and drink a little bit of juice. Pepper says mom is still very drowsy but more awake than yesterday, and is communicating better; answering questions and responding to commands. The big news is that she is not currently on any meds; only oxygen and a feeding tube! This is the first time in 10 days! Physical Therapy will be stopping by today and they’re going to try and see if they can get mom up on her feet. Pepper thinks this might be a little ambitious because mom is still pretty drowsy, all things considered. We’ll see how it goes! STAND, MOTHER! STAAAAAAAND!!
Mom, we did Brad’s bday at a slamball place; these dunks are for you!
10:30PM – Dad reports that her blood pressure dipped a little bit today so they did put her back on some blood pressure medication to manage that. Alertness-wise she’s about the same; maybe a little bit better; speaking mostly in 2 or 3 word whispers. Still too drowsy and out of it to stand for PT. Her helmet arrived today. As I understand it, she will be wearing this full time until she has recovered completely and is ready for doctors to go back in and re-install the bone flap.
I’m very much looking forward to the part where we all look back at these pics in disbelief and comment on how this was the point where things really turned around and everything started going our way. I’m finding it very difficult to make any sort of wise crack comment about my mom’s helmet right now…BUT if I wasn’t finding it difficult, it would probably sound something like this: “Hey mom, Tupperware called; mentioned something about a helmet mix-up?? Said they’ve got a really nice, expensive helmet sitting in their warehouse but they’re missing a cheap, white, 6-cup salad bowl?!”
11:37AM – Feeding tube at night only, catheter out, ate 10 bites.