Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday into Saturday update

It's about 2:30 am (Saturday morning) and they just finished putting in a new IV for Shannon.  Not counting the ones for surgery, this is the third IV.  For whatever reason, her IVs have been very painful and end up blowing the vein.  Hopefully this one will do better.  They use the IV for some of her meds.

Friday was a good day!  Shannon had lots of visitors -- thanks to all who came yesterday, it did a lot of good for her and helped to fill the long day.  She also had a couple phone calls as well and she enjoyed those.  Thanks!  She loves you all!!

Shannon has continued to swell which was to be expected.  The doctors don't expect the swelling to peak until day 3.  So by the end of today--but there is a lot of day left to go.  Her poor little face is getting bigger and rounder. Her left eye is swollen nearly shut and is getting more black and blue.  Interestingly, the area around the temples is really swollen, looking like she has 2 small eggs under her skin on both sides of her face.  One doctor said that was because of a pocket area we have there and so it is a good place for the swelling to flow into.

By the time Dr. Walker made his rounds, we had talked with the residents of neurosurgery and from plastic surgery and the plastic surgeon as well.  Each had their opinion about how long the drains should stay in her head and none of them were anxious to get them out too soon.  Also, one resident said that she couldn't wash her hair for 5 days.  She was quite dismayed.  Then the plastic surgeon came in and said, oh no, you can wash your hair after 48 hours.  She was thrilled.  He wanted to wait until Saturday to pull either of the drains and then only if the output was small enough.  And then, Dr. Walker came in--the one with the final say on everything and rightfully so with his vast knowledge, expertise and experience!  We asked about washing the hair, stating we had been told 48 hours.  He shook his head and said no way!  5 days at least.  When it came to the drains, he said, let's get them both out of there today!  The reason, he stated simply was his concern for any chance of infection.  He said, the plastic surgeons aren't the ones that have to deal with an infection if she gets one!  Although disappointed, we all have great faith, trust and respect for Dr. Walker and we will abide by his word.  The bad part...can't wash her hair for 5 days, the good part, he said to take both drains out.

Well, that was about 10 or 11 yesterday morning.  Dr. Walker stopped by 2 other times throughout the day just to see how Shannon was doing.  Who sees their surgeon 3 times a day unless there is something wrong?  The nuerosurgical team was swamped yesterday (probably because they had bumped at least one surgury that was scheduled for Wednesday to later in the week).  Evenso, Dr. Walker kept checking in.  The second time he came in, he brought Shannon a CD with pictures of her skull he had taken during surgery.  They aren't for the faint-hearted either but they are definitely educational and certainly show us the extent of the surgery.  He had saved some of the plates and screws they had taken out for Shannon.  The resident brought those in early in the day.  They are TINY!  I don't know where I got my perceptions of what they would look like but they are a lot smaller than I could have imagined.  Then when we looked at the pictures from the surgery and saw where the plates and screws were, it was really incredible.  Modern science never ceases to amaze me.  Our bodies are such miracles!  I can't even begin to express the profound respect I have for our bodies and how they repair themselves and are so resilient through so many things.  I don't think we stop and consider that very often and what a blessing our bodies really are.

The third time Dr. Walker came by, he was just looking in on her and said he was sorry that they hadn't gotten the drains out yet, but that they had been back to back in surgery.  I commented that I figured it would be one of the residents and not him to which he responded, they have been there right with me!"  So the drains didn't come up until 9:15 pm.  A resident did do it, but he wasn't freed up until then.  When they take the drains out, they say it is a very weird sensation but not necessarily painful.  Shannon begs to disagree!  They had loaded her up on her pain meds right before but still she was very uncomfortable when they pulled the drains.  I think the resident was really tired because most generally after taking the drain out, will deaden the area where the tube was inserted and put a stitch or two in the hole.  He taped one side and pressed a guaze to the other side and said that should do it but that if it continued to drain tomorrow, he would come back and stitch it!  Fortunately, they haven't seemed to drain or bleed much since.  So the drains are gone and Shannon's comment was, now there is only one thing left invading my body (referring to the IV).  It's a count down for her! :) 

It is still Shannon's greatest desire to leave the hosptial Saturday night but when I asked Dr. Walker tonight what he thought the time table would be, he said, MAYBE Sunday.  I reminded him that she had this farewell she really really wants to go to.  He kind of shook his head in his own way and said, "we will see how she is doing tomorrow."  At this point, I am sure he was thinking that we needed to see how the swelling was doing.  So we keep hoping for Saturday night but we want what is really best for Shannon and so she may not be home as soon as she would like.

The packing of the head in ice continues to be quite the ordeal and a great time consumer!  Fortunate for Shannon some of her visitors yesterday were willing to try all kinds of options to find ways to make the ice packs stay where Shannon wants them.  She is determined to keep ice on continually to decrease any possible swelling.  I am sure that it has helped immensely but the body has a right to swell and pull fluids and other resources to the injured area!  Contemplating the complexity of the surgery Shannon had, I can't see how the body could not need some swelling time! 

Pain management has been better but it is still taken some heavy duty pain killers to keep her even close to comfortable.  It really does help to have her distracted by company.  The swelling , saw just a few minutes ago when they were changing the IV, was definitely quite a bit more than she has had up to this point. 

Well, I have given much more detail than any one might want but it is still the easiest way for me to send information out to the many that are following Shannon's progress.  Thank you all once again for your faith and prayers on Shannon's behalf.  We certianly know that God is in control!


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