This afternoon they did an ultrasound on both of her arms to determine why they had started swelling. The results were that she has some blood clots in both arms because of the inactivity (they have these sleeves that regularly massage the legs, so her legs are just fine).
First thing in the morning they will take her to surgery to install a filter in the main artery that feeds her heart which will keep the clots from entering her heart. They’ll go in through a vein, so they won’t need to cut her open. The nurse doesn’t think that this should slow down the “waking up” process, but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see how she does.
She hasn’t been very active this evening, but she was so active this morning and has had a big day with the ultrasound and such, so we’re thinking she’s probably just worn out. When I came in the room, I did ask her to squeeze my hand, and she did so very faintly (not nearly as strongly as she did with Bo and Daddy this morning), so I think she knows I’m here, but she’s just too tired to perform for me! I’ll be staying the night in her room, so I’ll try talking to her again in the morning before she goes down to surgery.
We’ve had an exciting morning! Around 5:30 Bo (who was staying in Mama’s room for the night) heard the nurse trying to talk to Mama, so he went over to her bed. Her eyes were open! He said that she held his hand, and that when she heard him talking she tried to turn her head to look at him. Her eyes aren’t really focusing on him, but she clearly knew he was standing beside the bed.
Then, when the doctor came in this morning, he was able to get a thumbs up from her on her right side, and she held up two fingers for him on that same side. Her thumb quivered on the left side, but there wasn’t as clear a reaction. Daddy said that her left arm and hand are starting to swell a little, so they’re paying attention to those to see what’s going on. She also raised her arm again, and she wiggled her toes. The nurse told Daddy that once she gets to this point, things usually start to progress a little more quickly, so yay!
The doctor asked Daddy if Mama likes coffee, which she absolutely does. At first he suggested that Daddy go get a cup of coffee, that sometimes the smell helps wake people up. Then he actually changed his mind and he put in an order for a cup of coffee with the nurse and actually had her give Mama some coffee through her feeding tube! She didn’t really have a reaction to that, but I still find it really funny!
They’ve removed the EEG and they gave her the last dose of the old anti-seizure medication this morning, though it may take a day or so for it to get out of her system. She’s on the new anti-seizure medication now. The occupational therapist is still encouraged by her range of motion. I’m leaving in the next 1/2 hour or so to drive to Jacksonville, so I’ll update again once I see her tonight!
Mama didn’t respond to any commands today, but she did move quite a bit. She seems to be having a lot of involuntary responses to people talking and to the exercises that the occupational therapist is working her through. He again mentioned how her range of motion has improved.
Today they gave her a feeding tube, though they haven’t started using it yet. The nutritionist is supposed to come by in the morning to determine what they need to be feeding her. They’re also in the process of changing her anti-seizure medication to a different kind. It’s possible that the current anti-seizure medication is preventing her from waking up, so they’re going to see if changing it helps her wake up.
Today Bo drove back down to Jacksonville, and he’s staying with her tonight. I’ll drive back down tomorrow and stay with her tomorrow night.
Not much to report this morning. We’re expecting a visit from the neurosurgeon this afternoon, so perhaps there will be an update then. This morning they’re noticing a bit more symmetry in her involuntary movements – she’d previously been moving around a lot more with her right arm and leg, but now we’re seeing her left side moving almost as much as her right side.
Since the right side of her brain is the side with the air around her brain and all the swelling in her face, it makes sense that her left side wouldn’t be moving around as much (since the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body). So the fact that she’s got more equal movement is encouraging. The occupational therapist is also noticing some good improvement in her range of motion all over her body. They drew some more blood to test (they’re not looking for anything in particular, just making sure they haven’t missed anything), so perhaps we’ll hear results this afternoon on that as well.
Thanks so much to everyone for your support, thoughts, and prayers. We so much appreciate reading your comments here on this blog!
The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. They decided to hook her up to the EEG again, though we haven’t heard anything from the doctor as to what they’re seeing. They did some bloodwork today and everything came back fine, and they x-rayed her chest to monitor for pneumonia, and that was fine as well. Daddy was able to ask her to raise each of her arms and she did, though that was the only other movement we got a response on today. Hopefully she’ll rest well and be able to do more tomorrow!
The occupation therapist has given Daddy some exercises to do with Mama to help her move her fingers, work her legs, etc. This morning while Daddy was doing these exercises, he noticed her eyelid flutter a little bit. So he stopped and asked her to squeeze his finger. She was able to do this once with her right hand, though she didn’t repeat it. She also wiggled her big toe when he asked her too. The neurologist gave her some commands when he came in this morning, but she didn’t do much for him. When he asked her to open her eyes, she didn’t, but when he held open her eyes for her, she did follow his finger with her eye. So, small steps, but this is the most we’ve seen from her yet!
Another fairly uneventful night. Mama did have a few of the staples come out of her head during the night, but it was just her scalp rejecting the foreign object, not a problem with the incision or her brain. They were able to easily put some new staples in, and her brain pressure remained steady. The doctors have not made their rounds yet, so if they have anything new to add I’ll post again after they visit.
We are so appreciative of everyone’s phone calls, texts, and emails, but we’re having a very hard time updating everyone who wants to be updated, so hopefully this blog will be helpful. We promise – whenever we learn something new, we’ll post it here, so you can always come here for the newest information. If it we haven’t posted in a while . . . then it means there’s nothing new to report. Please feel free to leave comments – once Mama is up and running again, I’m sure she’d love to see your thoughts. And, as always, we welcome as much prayer as we can get!
Today Mama had an MRI, and after about 7 hours, we finally got the results – “it looks good.”
After her surgery the area around her brain that had been filled with blood was now filled with air (which is normal). The CT scan on day 2 showed that there was a little blood in that area as well. The MRI today showed that some of that air and blood have been reabsorbed by the body, which is exactly what we want to happen (it just takes a while).
Other than that, it’s been an uneventful day. She’s still in a coma, and they’re expecting she’ll probably still be until morning. Here’s hoping she’ll be awake tomorrow!
A brief rundown of the events after Debbie’s surgery, but prior to this blog’s existence:
Debbie was moved to the SICU after surgery. She remained in a medically induced coma for about 18 hours. The point of this was to control her blood pressure as the primary method for combating a fib is to utilize blood thinners, which you don’t want to administer after brain surgery. They took her off the sedative around 7:30AM on Monday, Sept. 6, but she did not wake up. The medical team has informed us that it could take up to a week for her to wake up, so while they would have liked for her to wake up immediately, they are not worried that she’s still not awake.
Once they removed the bandage from Debbie’s head, her face became very swollen and bruised, which was anticipated. The pressure in her brain has remained consistent, which is good. They hooked her up to an EEG on Sept. 6 to monitor her brain activity for seizures, which they had the EEG hooked up they did not witness any seizures, though it does appear that there may have been some seizure activity prior to the EEG. On the morning on Sept. 7 they removed the EEG, and they’ve doubled her anti-seizure medication as a precaution.
They conducted an MRI on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 7 to learn more about her brain function.