Today marks five weeks since Shannon's accident. It has truly been an amazing journey. Pheobe mentioned last night that Shannon's head and face were swelling quite a bit in the aftermath of the surgery to replace the bones in her skull. That swelling continued through the morning today to the point where she could barely open her eyes. She rested most of the morning and her appointment in the Ophthalmology Clinic was postponed. I should mention for purposes of clarification that the swelling we are talking about is different than the brain swelling that occurred five weeks ago. That swelling that we were monitoring so closely was causing inter cranial pressure (you may recall the discussion of making it past the 72-96 hour mark of maximum swelling). This swelling is in her face and skin, not in her brain. She had this before as well and I am not sure why I was not expecting it following this surgery. They essentially made the same incision as before, and they moved the scalp around like they did before, so I should have expected that the skin swelling should have been similar.
At any rate, the swelling started to abate as afternoon came. The neurosurgery nurse practitioner came by in the early afternoon and removed the drain tube that had been placed between the skin and the skull during surgery. It had drawn out any blood and fluid from the incision. The flow from that drain had essentially stopped and was no longer needed. So she has one less tube. After that Shannon pointed out to me that she was back down to only two things, her IV and the feeding tube.
The other thing that has been bothering her has been headaches. They have decided for a while to just manage the pain with regular doses of pain medication. That along with the ice packs that she likes to arrange around her head have helped to keep the headaches more under control. This afternoon she got back into the therapy mode with her normal schedule of physical, occupational and speech therapies. She wasn't too excited about it, but she did well. Following her last therapy of the afternoon, Shannon and I made a trip over to the PICU. We stopped at the office where Jaime, her main PICU nurse and new friend was working, and then she took us around to introduce Shannon to many of the people who had worked with her when she was so sick. The people in the PICU see the patients at their very worst. By the time the patient starts to improve, they are transferred to another unit. So it means a lot for them to see people come back when they are doing so much better. It was touching to see tears well up in the eyes of these nurses as they had a chance to meet the real Shannon and have a chance to talk with her. Shannon still has a difficult time understanding how so many people (both here at the hospital and following her on the blog), some of which she doesn't even know, can care so much about her and have so much concern for her. We are all overwhelmed at the continued outpouring of love and support that we feel each and every day. Thank you all so much.
Tomorrow has more great things in store as changes and improvements are anticipated for her schedule, nutrition and therapies. We'll let you know about those as they unfold. Above all we are so grateful for the way that Heavenly Father continues to send his comfort and blessings. We stand in awe of His goodness and mercy! Udell