Brain Surgery – EXCITING LIVE UPDATES! (part 2)



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.


photo 1 (5)


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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

DAY 10



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.


mnaPic: Mom posing with an H&M model.

I know my mom is in there, and I know she’s fighting.

DAY 11

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?!”

DAY 12

11:37AM – Feeding tube at night only, catheter out, ate 10 bites.


36 thoughts on “Brain Surgery – EXCITING LIVE UPDATES! (part 2)

  1. Pingback: Brain Surgery – EXCITING LIVE UPDATES! | Glenda The Good Nurse

  2. So good to be able to keep up with her progress this way. You guys are doing a wonderful job. All our best. Rog and Colleen Cook

  3. My love and prayers to you, Glenda, and your family! Scary situations do require a great family which you obviously have. Hang in there! Thank you so much for the blog! You all are on my mind always for your patience, good energy and solid healing! Dede Dyer

  4. My prayers are with all of you as they have been all week. Glenda was doing so well I took an emotional break from the blog on Saturday, but Carol phoned me early this morning to let me know of the relapse. So, I’m back on the blog. I really appreciate you “kids” (I know you are all adults now, but when Glenda and her three high school friends, Carol, Pat and Jeanne get together we talk about our “kids & grandkids”) taking over the blog for her. We are all so far away in person, Carol & I are in CA and Pat in WA, but in spirit & prayers we are standing in the hall and sitting in the waiting room with all of you. Your mom is a strong person, as you know and she has a lot of people that love her and thinking of all of you. Avery, thank you so much so texting Pat, she calls Carol and she calls me. Love to all of you, Jeanne

  5. Mom needs you strong for her We will help and be strong for her and your whole family lean on us we are here for you all!! Love ,prayers at all times constantly in our hearts !!

  6. Wonderful news this morning; the swelling is down and Glenda the good nurse is sleeping! Thanks for the update. Love & Prayers, Jeanne

  7. I Said a Prayer for You Today

    I said a prayer for you today
    And know God must have heard.
    I felt the answer in my heart
    Although he spoke no word!

    I didn’t ask for wealth or fame
    (I knew you wouldn’t mind).
    I asked him to send treasures
    Of a far more lasting kind!

    I asked that he be near you
    At the start of each new day;
    To grant you health and blessings
    And friends to share your way!

    I asked for happiness for you
    In all things great and small.
    But it was for his loving care
    I prayed the most of all!

    Love you Glenda and Family! We are praying and thinking of you. Keep happy. You guys are all amazing. 🙂

  8. Love your input to the blog but I’m not sure about Glenda’s response’s. Was she able to answer the nurse’s questions? Is the swelling down; did the surgery last night work? Thanks for the answers. Jeanne

  9. Thank you for all the posts and the good humor that goes with it. We are praying daily for Glenda! She is such a strong person. What an amazing family you all are!

  10. Sending you abundance in prayers. What a wonderful, strong family you have and so well deserve. You are an amazing woman with great resilance. Looking forward to seeing you dancing again at next years AHNA conference. Keep up the excellent healing work. Love and prayers, Lynn K.

  11. Still here cheering on, Glenda. So impressed by then love, humor, and sharing spirit of your entire family. What a beautiful gift. Positive affirmations, healing prayers and love coming your way.

  12. Hi Glenda & Family – For those of you who have not met me, I have worked closely with Glenda in the American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA). There are many following your blog and so appreciative for the updates. We love Glenda and with all of the healing energy sent your way Glenda will heal. Most phenomenal is the love and your presence with her through this healing journey.

  13. Thank you for the updates. I am so sorry she had to go back under the knife! =( But grateful it helped her… I pray healing for her. She is in my thoughts and prayers. God bless her…and each of you [family]. Take care. xoxox

  14. We did not know you were struggling with any of this! And just found out from the ward email. Thank you for inviting us to read this blog. What an amazing person you are Glenda! So positive, encouraging, and thoughtful! You are in our thoughts and prayers, wishing you the very best.

  15. Thanks for the great news that all vitals & stuff are good and eyes open; Yeah! I’m am anxious for news down in CA and I am so grateful for you “kids” keeping us informed. Happy to hear the wonderful news; now tell her to knock off the dramatics and get up soon! Love & Prayers, Jeanne

  16. Thanks for the update; being so far away in CA makes us anxious for news. Happy to hear that “Drs. are confident that mom will pull through and it’s just a matter of time.” We are all ready for that time! Love & prayers to all, Jeanne

  17. Prayers continue for answers to the long time of sleeping. it will be quite the story when she awakens. Prayers for strength for the duration of this epic event and each of the family to hold their Mom/wife in healing light.

  18. Just wanted to thank you for the updates. We at Fortis are praying constantly for Glenda. Please give her our love!

  19. We really appreciate you taking the time to let us all know what’s happening…you are a great family!
    Love and prayers to you Glenda!!!!

  20. Ooooh Glenda, my friend,I sure miss you around these parts of Fortis. Your quick wit, humor, one liners, and Big Boy comments are noticeably absent. I check this blog about 79 times a day…90 if I’m not busy. I know how tired you were before your surgery so all these Z’s you’re catching are just make up hours. We talked about things not going picture perfect, right? Well, danget we forgot to knock on wood. You’re in there somewhere and you’re fighting; I know you are cuz you’re just cool like that. I can’t wait to see you in a few weeks when we can look back at these pictures and say “Holy Smokes, Big Boy, Look How Far Glenda the Good Nurse Has Come!”
    You’re a rock star and you know it. Keep on fighting. Keep on rocking. Keep on keepin’ on.
    I love you and even though you may not be on top of the world right now, I know we’re both comfortable ignoring that. See ya soon, baboon.

    • This posting sounds so much like Glenda!!! She is a fighter and…..sbe is resting up and figuring out what she is going to tell all of us first!! Prayers for all the caregivers and for the family and most of all for Glenda to get thru this.

  21. Hi, it’s Jeanne in CA again. Thanks for the update and good news, that Glenda is more alert and they will be fixing the drain problem. Looking forward to reading the good results it gives her! Love & prayers, Jeanne

  22. Prayers are with you all and all who are caring for Glenda and you! Can’t wait to hear about her re-emergence back into the world of the awake and alert!

  23. Glenda, Steve: We have been thinking about you. We put your name in the temple last night. We love you and continue to pray for you. One day at a time, slow and steady wins the race..soon you will be home! Love Steve and Jane

  24. My heart goes out to your sweet mother and family. I heard about your situation on the radio this morning. My ears perked up because my family has been dealing with this since April. My husband had a brain tumor removed and unfortunately his was malignant. He has since finished radiation and his initial chemo treatments. He is back to work full time as a maintenance mechanic which seems to be the best medicine. I want to reassure you that everything’s going to be okay. It takes time. The brain is a very sensitive organ and seems to have a mind of it’s own. Prayers to your mom and family. Through our whole experience we’ve learned to live in the moment and enjoy what really matters, family.

  25. latest update saying Glenda was more alert and responsive is WONDERFUL NEWS I am grateful for this blog so I can follow her progress….good news! Prayers continue for healing and support!

  26. Sounds as if Glenda is getting in a well deserved nap. Resting and healing and figuring out how to tell us all about her experience in some wonderful imaginative way that will make us smile and laugh. It is so wonderful that you are all so willing to share this experience. Thank you all so much. Glenda, I am still out her cheering you on and sending healing prayers and affirmations your way.

  27. I’m so happy! Keep up the great work Glenda! The next picture I want to see is your cute touch as you walk down the hallway! My, dad sends his love and prayers too, Jeanne

  28. Dear Glenda
    I’ve been with you in prayer and tracking your energy. You have definitely chosen an adventurous path of healing! I’m glad to hear that you are hungry, eating, and wanting to get out of the hospital. Perhaps checking into a spa would be a good next step for your holistic healing journey! Let me know where and I’ll join you in the hot tub! Your Spirit/Soul energy is strong and, as you and your family know, you are enveloped and being sustained by Divine Love. Prayers and blessings continue for you and for all of your incredible family who are so lovingly with you on this journey of healing and allowing us to share the journey too! Peggy (and many other AHNA colleagues as well!).

  29. Glenda and family we love you guys so much Sounds like prayers for a full recovery are being answered When the time is good we would love to come up and show our love in person… Our prayers aer for that full recovery and arms around the whole family with a great big squeeze

  30. Hello to all the Christiaens, (Love the humor) and of course that includes Glenda the GOOD at everything she does; kids, friends, kids’ friends, grand kids, nurses, professors, papers, degrees, teaching, HUMOR, dancing, politics, broadcasting, being my mentor and friend, sleeping ’til they figure it out, up and about yeah, walk-a-bout time, WOW. Always impressive, positive, smiling on the climb up the mountain. Now I am wondering if you will leave with a plate in your head like Eddy from Christmas V

  31. ok so I am not so good with the keyboard, sorry 3 numb fingers and an aging brain. That was meant to say Christmas Vacation. So delighted to be able to read between the lines the love from your family. Amazing support for an amazing Mom and wife. Thank you all for being there for her. Glenda I’ve loved you from our first moments together and will forever. Take the time you need and heal all the way through, waving a flag for your finish line. Hugs. Lynn

  32. Hi Glenda & family,

    I am so happy to see you walking, smiling and getting back to your fabulous self! Keep up the great work and know we are all still praying for you to heal soon! Love, Jeanne

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