Monday, May 25, 2009

Mom in surgery

Mom was moved from pre-op to surgery about ten minutes ago (roughly 2:50PM). We've been told that the procedure, which is likely to involve the removal of some bone from Mom's skull, will take an hour or two. A lot depends on the extent of the infection that the doctors find. If it's discovered that the infection hasn't reached the bone, then the removal won't be necessary. If, however, a removal is necessary, then the bone will either stay out a few days and be re-placed in the skull, or it will be replaced by synthetic bone. Different doctors told us different things about this procedure; I'll have a more exact description for you later.

No matter what the docs find, Mom will remain at the hospital another five or so days. Her first day will be spent in the ICU; after that, it's likely that she'll be moved to a non-intensive ward. Mom will also be fitted with a special type of IV called a "PIC line." This is a long-term IV line that is more stable, and feeds into a larger vein both to aid in the introduction of fluids and to facilitate the removal of blood samples. The PIC line is also necessary so that Mom can go home: she'll be attached to an IV setup for 4 to 6 weeks, receiving antibiotics. We still need to determine what this will mean for Mom's radio- and chemotherapy, but one doctor (of the ten or so docs who visited Mom today) conjectured that she might still be able to undergo therapy despite the IV, but only after her reopened incision had healed sufficiently.

And that's about where things stand right now. Once Mom's procedure is done, the first thing we'll want to know is whether bone had to be removed. We were told that this was highly likely. Because Mom will have to spend some time without bone over that part of her brain, she will be given a special helmet to wear for when she's walking around.

Mom spent yesterday and today lying in her hospital bed, either sleeping or staring at her sons or staring straight ahead with a resigned look on her face. She still retained some sense of playfulness, though: when the time drew near for Mom to be taken out of pre-op to surgery, Sean placed his hand near hers, but instead of holding Sean's hand, Mom pinched the tip of Sean's index finger between her thumb and forefinger and gently shook it. She smiled while she did this, making me wonder just who was reassuring whom.


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