Wednesday Update at 4:30 pm CT
We are not having as good of a day today as yesterday. Heather keeps saying that she is really tired. They have moved the pump pressure tube that is draining fluid from her brain up to a higher setting to see how she does before they actually remove it. By moving the pump up, it will not drain the fluid from the brain as much as it has been. She has had a ventricle shunt in her brain since her surgery in 1996, and it should take over draining this fluid. Since the recent surgery, there has been quite a bit of fluid draining from the brain. They will be keeping a close watch on her to see if she becomes more sleepy or confused, or showing other symptoms which could mean that the shunt may not be working. If the shunt isn't working it would mean it wouldn't be draining the fluid, so pressure would begin building up in the brain from the fluid. This could be a serious problem. Please pray that she has no complications with this.
The Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists teams were in earlier this morning to assess her and to give their recommendation for her care. Physical Therapy really worked her over. They sat her up on the side of the bed, but physically had to support her. Though she was very tired and a little nervous and anxious, she did a really good job. She is doing well at following most of the commands, but was having difficulty with comprehending everything they were asking her to do. Little tasks like raising her thumb seem difficult for her.
She still cannot get the right arm and leg to work, yet, and you can tell that it is bothersome to her. She did well for the Speech Therapist, but still has difficulty finding the right word. Her word finding and short term memory were both injured after her first brain surgery in 1996, but doesn't appear to be worse. An Ophthalmology doctor will be evaluating her because she is saying that things look blurry. She wasn't able to recognize letters and she was unable to read for the Speech Therapist.
She didn't do well with the swallow test, so they are going to try it again tomorrow. There is so much congestion in her chest, so she coughed a lot during the test. If your swallow is delayed, you can aspirate (food goes into your lungs, instead of your stomach) easily, so they are just being cautious. A person can get pneumonia easily if they aspirate. Heather has gotten pneumonia several times in the past, by aspirating. Her oxygen dropped while she tried the swallow test, which is an indicator that whatever she is swallowing may not be going to the right place. Also, she is really complaining of some pain in her left hip area where she had a hip replacement almost two years ago. We are getting this checked out as well.
As you read these updates, please keep in mind that the doctors anticipated her having a tough month. I keep reminding myself of this as we watch her working so hard to get better. She has been very excited today as a few cards have came in the mail here at the hospital, and she held them as her Dad read them to her. She has also loved looking at the computer while her Dad has read every comment that each of you have left. For those of you who have known her for years, when she hears your name mentioned a huge smile covers her entire face! For others whom she may not recognize the name, she always says, "That was sweet of them." She is real appreciative of every act of kindness she is receiving. No matter what it is, it means a lot to her. Thank you for you support! It means a lot to all of us!!!!!
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
Knowing they would shave Heather's head during surgery, Mrs. Phillips a faithful lady at our Church, helped to get her prepared by cutting her hair just five days prior.