Friday, April 13, 2007

Mom's chances - have no one else to discuss this with

OK - there was a bit of confusion earlier this week about whether mom has any chance of recovery or not. Last I knew, she spent from about Thursday through Tuesday completely unconscious - due to having gotten a severe infection. They'd finally found the right combination of antibiotics on Sunday - and on Tuesday evening she woke up. She could look at people and could grip your hand... still not talking, but of course, she still had the tubes down her throat, so she couldn't have talked if she wanted to. On Thursday they did a tracheotomy because the respirator tube is allowing fluid to build up in her lungs and causing more issues.

It seems like everything that can go wrong has. When this all started, I asked the doctor what kind of chances she had of coming out of this with some functionality - which of course they don't always like to give - but I got him pinned down to "pretty good" which was good enough for me at the time.

Now, I had to do a little bit of investigation into how they determine "pretty good"...

According to a couple of web sites... they do a rating scale on admission into the ER. This is ranked from 0 to 6 and there are specific scores assigned based on symptoms displayed. At the time she was admitted she was a 3; and 0-3 actually have pretty good recovery rates. Although about 60% of the survivors tend to have "some" brain damage.

The only modification they make to this "rating" is that if they develop one of the secondary conditions - then they increase by 1 number. So - that means that mom is now a 4. Fours do not have as good of a chance of recovery - but they still have a better chance than a 5 or 6. 5 & 6 have little chance of recovery.

The problem is that they list three possible secondary conditions... and mom's had ALL three.

Encephalitis - swelling where the cerebral fluid doesn't drain properly - she's had a drain installed that we're monitoring closely and 1) the drainage isn't as bloody and 2) the drainage has decreased a lot - both are good now, but are bad news initially. This can cause serious brain damage, although, often times, it's temporary.

Vasospasms - where the brain reacts to the blood from the burst aneurysm and compresses the blood vessels - it's a natural function to stop the bleeding; however, since she had surgery to stop the bleeding - it's actually not a good thing, as it can keep blood from reaching parts of the brain, and can cause stroke and/or brain damage. She's only had one bout of this which is better than having it recurrently - however, it is the leading cause of death for people who have previously had an anuerysm.

Seizures - mom's had very small seizures quite often. You can't see them visually, but the brain was having recurrent seizures for about a week after the vasospasms. These also cause brain damage.

An anuerysm itself can cause damage - but they said that they won't do an assessment for function until after three weeks because they don't want any side effects from the secondary condition to cloud the assessment.

Add a serious infection on top of all this, and I can't help but think the worst. I don't want to, and there's still a chance she'll pull through with some functionality. But mom deserves a higher quality of life than I think she's going to get after all this is said and done. All I can hope for is to go home this weekend and be pleasantly suprised.

1 comment:

britchik96 said...

So sorry to hear this....it sounds like she's hanging in there for you all. However, with your investigative mind and the internet, you're being your own doctor. I hope you are hanging in there are doing OK in the circumstances. I'll pray for you all. Love you. Phil