Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible.~ author unknown
The 'shunt' was put in place yesterday successfully. Tests and x-rays confirm that it is performing well in draining the cerebrospinal fluid into the abdomen and relieving pressure on the brain.
Daniel looks very good, he is one handsome dude! He has a much healthier complexion and any facial swelling has deminished, his natural facial features are back.
He has displayed several automatic reflexes over the last week, like opening his eyes and yawning. Keep in mind that an auto reflex is like breathing.....you don't think about it, you just do it.
A word about the ICU nurses that are with him 24/7. There is Dawn, Bridgette, Michael, Matt, Denise, and Robyn. They are very compassionate and empathetic. They talk to Daniel when making adjustments on IV's, they apologize to him when applying pressure to test his reflexes.....very caring professionals. Cathy, Margarita, & Tia Chita are ever present, in and out, conversing with Daniel and the nurses, rotating visitors in to see Daniel throughout the day, reading all the monitors and electronic metering devices and making endless inquiries. Three guardian angels with a mission!
Within the last two days there seems to be an aire of acceptance and comfort with the reality of this being a very long recovery period. A long journey with many travelers heading toward a common goal somewhere off in the distance. I know Daniel would remind us of a saying by Mao:
'The longest journey begins with a single step'. One day at a time, one step at a time.
A test of endurance which our collective experiences has prepared us for. We are in for the duration and endurance is our forte! "Don't pray for lighter burdens, but for stronger backs" ~ author unknown
'Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes'. ~Buddha
I know Daniel will enjoy this quote by Bruce Lee: "A fight is not won by one punch or one kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard"!
Rite of Passage:
Alfredito turned 12 yesterday and had the good fortune to have a beautiful celebration with family- parents, cousins, uncles, aunts, Padrinos and a cast of thousands.....enjoying hot dogs and hamburgers. Irene Lopez gave an insightful commentary on the gathering........."....it was so comforting being around family during this difficult time.....whether at this party or at the hospital.....it gives me strength"! Cathy was moved by Alfredito's cell phone that had a photo image of Daniel with a caption reading "I love you Tio"
In closing, I have an addendum to this post which hopefully will clarify some medical terms and questions:
Fluid in the skull?
Hydrocephalus, in which the excessive buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull dilates fluid pathways called ventricles that can swell and press on the brain tissue. The shunt corrects this condition.
Another delayed postrupture complication is vasospasm, in which other blood vessels in the brain contract and limit blood flow to vital areas of the brain. This reduced blood flow can cause stroke or tissue damage.
Vasospasms are very common after cerebral aneurysm surgery. Daniel is still experiencing this condition. His surgeon is monitoring this very closely and using medications to stop the spasms and increase blood flow.
What causes a cerebral aneurysm?
Most cerebral aneurysms are congenital, resulting from an inborn abnormality in an artery wall.
Cerebral aneurysms are also more common in people with certain genetic diseases, such as connective tissue disorders.
Other causes include trauma or injury to the head, high blood pressure, infection, tumors, atherosclerosis (a blood vessel disease in which fats build up on the inside of artery walls) and other diseases of the vascular system, and cigarette smoking.
Who is at risk?
Brain aneurysms can occur in anyone, at any age. They are more common in adults than in children and slightly more common in women than in men. People with certain inherited disorders are also at higher risk.
The incidence of reported ruptured aneurysm is about 10 in every 100,000 persons per year (about 27,000 patients per year in the U.S. ), most commonly in people between ages 30 and 60 years.
Take care of one another.
Oscar Vega aka Pilon
Nestor and Sara Aguilar
Luis and Socorro Vega