Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 2

And I'm worn out already, this schedule probably needs some adjusting.

Tuesday I got up at the regular time, took Anna to school and then headed for the hospital. I got there just in time to talk to the doctor who said that it looks like the craniotomy needs to be done shortly. He called in Dr. Zhang to consult. Dr. Zhang is a neurosurgeon with a pretty crappy bedside manner. He was explaining the need for the surgery using such pleasantries as, "this is what Richard Nixon died of, he had a stroke and the brain swelling killed him". Ahh, such a good attitude. Um, could you bring Dr. Volpi back, he can give me not so good news in such a way that doesn't sound like Pete's hanging on to life by his fingernails.

Pete was awake and alert when I got there. A physician's assistant came by and asked Pete to say his full name, move his left and right arm and I don't remember something else. Pete was able to do all of it but still could not move his left arm. On the scale the guy was using, he scored a 14 out of a possible 15. Unfortunately, in the grand scale of brain injuries, this can change, and fast, and without notice at all.

He started explaining the procedure in more depth and with a better attitude about him. He said they would be removing a large portion of the skull, pulling the dura (the tough material surrounding the brain) and then suturing the skin back together. Some time later, 6 to 12 months from now, they'll put the bone back. In the meantime, the bone will either be stored in the bone bank at the hospital, or in the subcutaneious layer of fat on his abdomen.

While we're having this conversation, they are putting Pete on a ventilator to support his breathing. As I guess you've figured out, there are big concerns about rapid deterioration, and they don't want to be trying to get him breathing costing precious seconds. It will also help make sure he gets plenty of oxygen to reduce swelling and keep his face a pretty color. The doctor told me he didn't mind if I stayed while they did it, and I was like, um, NO! Good thing, because they ended up pushing meds on him to get him calm enough that he wasn't fighting the doctor.

So, the last words I had from Pete were right before they took me out of there to give his history AGAIN. The words were, "I love you too" so that's ok.

They took him in for surgery at 1:30 and he wasn't back in his room until almost 6:00. It was a blessing they didn't wait any longer. The CT showed not much swelling. The brain had actually swelled quite a bit. If you want to know exactly what they told me, then highlight this, when they removed the dura layer, the brain popped out the portion of the skull cut away.
I went back to the hospital at 8:00 after Anna went to bed. About a mile away, the baseball game cut off. Then I noticed the dash lights were dim and when I turned the headlights off, the radio came back on. Needless to say, once more this week, I was prayin and drivin! The alternator took a nosedive. Like I needed this? Yes?

More later--it's already 11 and I need my beauty sleep. New night nurse tonight he's a cutie.

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