Monday, 22 August 2011

Surgery is done!

So I had my operation on 29th July. It all went oky. I had some problems whilst under GA, and my blood pressure bottomed out about 4am the next day. My herniation was much larger than they thought, my surgeon actually apologised for not doing the operation sooner. If only the MRI was accurate!
So I was oky, surgery Friday and was home by Monday. Was having problems with headaches and on the Tuesday I was at my GP due to pain. I was literally constantly sweating because of the pain. It was seriously yuck! Wednesday I was doing oky ish. Thursday I was unable to keep my eyes open, was feeling sick and hot and cold. Went to my GP and saw a stupid locum. She told me "what do you expect, you have just had brain surgery?!" I told her I knew something was wrong. She told me if I was worried to go to A&E but it would be a waste of time. I ignored her and went to A&E.
Got to A&E and they actually bothered tot take my vitals. My temperature was 38.9 and my pulse was 147. If the GP had bothered to do this she would have known I was not right. Got taken to majors and had a really great doctor. Neuro came down and I was sent for an urgent MRI. Also had a lumbar puncture. They found out I had raised intacrainal pressure and also a build up of fluid on my wound site. Also had a fairly large amount of blood in my CSF which is abnormal.
They then found out that my white cell count in my CSF was high. You are supposed to have between 0 and 5 white blood cells in your CSF. I had a massive 2600. So started on IV antibiotics, which I am still on now as the meningitis is still winning. I am also on oral antibiotics. My last white blood cell count was 375, it did get down to 250, but the infection fought back.
I also had lots more lumbar punctures. Normal ICP is 7-15, with anything over 20 considered high. Mine was 59 in one LP. So they decided to fit a lumbar drain, as the high pressure was causing my wound to re-open and leak. The lumbar drain is a needle placed between 2 vertebra in your lower back. They stitch this in and attach it to a bag, which collects the excess spinal fluid.
A normal person with slightly raised pressure drains about 5mls every 4-6 hours. I was draining between 10 and 35mls per hour. I had the drain in for a week, and they were hoping when they took it out my brain would stop making so much fluid and sort itself out. Within about 6 hours of the drain going I was, again, in a world of pain. It is the hardest feeling to describe, but try and imagine feeling your heartbeat in your head all day long. Wn you feel your heartbeat, you get a rush of fluid which you can kinda feel and it is painful. It is almost like someone has stuck a bicycle pump in my ear and is forcing air into my head. So that was Thursday. They have been watching me over the weekend to see if I improve. I have not improved, I have got a fair amount worse. I can no longer lie down flat as it makes my head worse. However, I can not sleep upright as it hurts my still very tender neck. So I have been catching only a few hours kip each day. The antibiotics are given all round the clock, every 4 hours and so I am woken up every night at 1am and 5am. The antibiotics take 30 mins to run though and then they have to disconnect and flush my IV. This means I am awake for the whole time. Every night. I normally sleep from about 3am till 5am, then maybe another hour and then I am woken up for meds and obs ect. I feel like a walking talking zombie lol.
Anyway, I digressed. As I am not improving they are going to scan me again with a view to fitting and LP or VP shunt. More surgery, BOO! I have another week of IV antibiotics so by the time that is all done I will have been stuck in here for a month!
Even with the meningitis and Hydrocephalus I am still super glad I had the operation. My chiari head has gone, I can move my right hand properly and my eyesight has improved, both the squint and vision, in only 2 weeks.
I hate being in hospital but I view it as everyday I am in here, I am one day closer to going home and living the rest of my life as a proud chiarian, brain surgery and meningitis fighter and winner.

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