Monday Update at 1:50 pm CT
Well, here we go again...I told Heather if she wanted to come back and see everyone here at Vanderbilt, I could have brought her over in a wheelchair; she didn't have to go to all this trouble. She was admitted last night back to the Neuro Intensive Care Unit because of the rapid heart rate. She was given 2 units of fluid for dehydration; she had a chest X-ray for possible aspiration or pneumonia; another EKG; a CT scan on chest checking for blood clots in lung; and a urinalysis checking for urinary tract infection, given more of the beta blocker medication for the heart, and blood work. All test have been fine and have ruled out anything serious with the heart thus far, Praise the Lord!!! I honestly believe that the Lord has given Heather the physical strength to be able to continuously go through all of these tests, lack of sleep, major brain surgery, vocal chord surgery, 7 days of intubation, etc. He has given us strength as well, but I do know that I am exhausted. I can't image how exhausted she is. I tell myself, if she can do this, I for certain can. My husband and Hannah are likewise exhausted. After leaving Nashville late Saturday evening, they were able to be back for the Church services yesterday and were planning on staying back in Hixson for a few days, but when Heather was brought back to the hospital, they felt they needed to come back up. They drove up this morning from Chattanooga through freezing rain and sleet to be with us. What normally would have taken 2 1/2 hours to make, took 5 hours today.
Heather got over here to the ER last night and was cutting up with everybody from those in the ER to the different ones giving her the tests, making them all laugh, and then she is sure to thank every one of them as well. We told everybody about her website last night from the two guys in the ambulance, to the ER nurse, X-ray technicians, etc... All we can figure from this newly developed problem is that the Lord is needing to get someone's attention. I hope everyone doesn't miss what the Lord is trying to do in each of our lives! I had a few moments with the ER nurse and she was in tears. She shared with me things that the Lord has recently been dealing with her over an issue that she wasn't having a good attitude about, and then she witnesses Heather's attitude and the way that she responds to everyone with this incredible spirit of kindness Both of her main doctors, Dr. Khalil and Dr. Neimat came in together this morning. They have ordered more tests and blood work to be done throughout today to see if there is something they can pinpoint that would be the cause of the Tachycardia. This morning they have been able to get the heart rate down to 115 beats per minute, so they have added the beta blocker medication to her regimen of medications. Discussion was made, after we brought it up, concerning the possibility of Heather's left Vagus Nerve being damaged because she is showing several symptoms of this type of a condition. She has the rapid heart rate, left vocal chord paralysis, incontinence (no control of bladder), hypersensitivity (sensitive to touch in arms and legs), swallow problems, pulmonary issues, etc. and these are all consistent with a damaged Vagus Nerve. My husband has been concerned about this for the last couple of years and has asked several doctors about this. What brought us to Vanderbilt originally, last February 2014, was because Bro. Cape had read about the Neuro-pace device that had just been approved, three months prior. He was concerned that the constant stimulation at high volts of the Vagus Nerve Stimulator she had implanted over 16 years ago, and the eight replacements of the generator, could damage or paralyze the Vagus Nerve. This again might be the reason for why she is having her current problems. The doctors are consulting together and possibly getting input from the doctors who are more trained with the Vagus Nerve, etc. There is a condition called Autonomic Nervous System Disorder that is in question. This disorder controls involuntary actions, such as heart beat, blood pressure, breathing and swallowing, etc. Could this be the reason these other issues have risen to the surface? ... or is the right hemisphere just over reacting and trying to regroup? ... and will things level back out once the brain calms and heals? They feel that she is somewhat out of danger since there isn't a serious condition contributing to the rapid heart rate. As test results come back, they will rule out the major causes. Heather is Heather, she is doing fine and she really has no complaints, however they just cannot find out for sure why her heart rate is staying up. Factors with her heart rate in the past, would have been contributed to her Vagus Nerve stimulator, but it has been turned off since her Brain Surgery, which was three weeks ago, on January 26. Other factors would have been contributed to any seizure activity she may have been having in the past, but Heather will tell you, she is not having any seizures now. Whenever she is reminded of how many days it has been since her last outward seizure (today is the 24th day seizure free) she always says, "Amen and Praise The Lord!" We know everyone is concerned and we will give another update later this afternoon when we have more information.
Psalm 149:5, "Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds."
The picture above was taken this morning- (from left to right) Dr. Lake who helped assist during the Brain Surgery on 1/26, Dr. Neimat who preformed the Brain Hemispherectomy, & Dr. Khalil who is Heather's Neurologist here at Vanderbilt...all three of these Doctors have helped to see that Heather's health will continue to improve!
Notice the adorable hat with hair attatched, that Heather is wearing? Mrs. Trish Phillips, a dear sweet lady at Church made it for her!