Shunt…

Jake went to the adjoining children’s hospital for his vetricular shunt placement surgery. He was scheduled for January 9th, 2015. We didn’t make it. He had gone to see Dr. S. the previous week with too much pressure; after a lumbar puncture, he received an IV bag of prednisone. The plan was that it would hold him over until surgery. There was also the forecast for heavy snow the 7th and 8th. We decided that Jake and I would go stay in a motel near the hospital just in case. The snow wasn’t too heavy, but Jake’s pressure became unbearable, so we went to the ER in the middle of the night.  He was admitted early,  and the shunt placement seemed to go well. It is totally internal. It can be seen (after he lost his beautiful, thick hair to chemo) and felt on the top of his head. The shunt is placed in an open, fluid-filled spot on his brain and a tube runs down the back of his head, down his neck and chest and empties into his abdomen.  He had a flap lifted on his head and two incisions to thread the tube down. If the pressure became too high, the shunt would remove the excess, but keep the pressure at a normal, healthy level. We took Jake home a few days later, and at first he seemed ok. “Mom, I have a headache…” I cringed. He had never complained of headaches, but now they were a sign of something very serious. We were prescribed a pain reliever, but the headaches persisted until he would lie down. I emailed Dr. S., “Somethings not right.  The pain subsides when he lays down, and he is coherent.  Could the pressure be too low? He just doesn’t feel good…” Dr. S. hadn’t placed the shunt, but he was the doctor I trusted and counted on. We were seen the next day. Before the doctor came in, the CNA said Jake had a fever. THAT changed everything.  Jake was on an antibiotic,  antiviral and antifungal.  He shouldn’t have a fever. I started to get nervous. He was admitted, and they started looking for the source…

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