Friday, April 3, 2009

A word with Dr. Anyanwu

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; GREAT is YOUR faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."

New mercies for today. That is what I have to believe.

After a sleepless night, and once again preparing for a trip to the hospital (husband and baby in tow) Chuck gave me a call. Jess (LOVE HER!) is Mom's nurse again for today, called Chuck as he was on his way to the hospital. She informed that Mom's breathing was a bit labored and after a quick word with Dr. A, they had decided to intibate her. She didn't want us to be shocked when we walked in this morning. My heart sank.

Brad and I got on the road to Forsyth hospital and shortly after being on the road, Jess called me. She was seeking consent for a new arterial line to be placed in Mom's arm. An arterial line, or art-line, is a thin catheter inserted into an artery. It is most commonly used in intensive care medicine to monitor the blood pressure real-time (rather than by intermittent measurement) Yes. Of course.

After waiting in the waiting room (appropriate name...) Jess called Chuck and said the A line was in and we could go back to see Mom. This was perhaps the hardest of all visits, to see her intibated, lines from all parts of her body, connected to machines...My heart ached. Dr. Anyanwu slipped in her room and asked us to step outside to talk about Mom.

Here is what he said...

He pulled up her MRI from yesterday. This is the one that showed the strokes that she had over the last few days. He used the pictures on the screen and pointed to the bright white areas of her brain. These were the strokes she had. He pointed to the larger of the strokes and explained that this occured in the area that affects speech. It was a large one (my words...after looking at the MRI pictures and comparing them to the other visable strokes on the MRI). This area is next to the area that allows her to comprehend speech, to understand language. This area is viatal for any sort of recovery to be possible. We DO NOT want another stroke especially in this area. Dr. A is continuing to give meds for treatment of the vasospasms (which lead to strokes) as well as increasing her blood pressure, and meds to prevent anymore seizures.

He pointed to a group of numbers. These Transcranial Doppler (TCD) numbers measure the intensity of the vasospasms. The higher the number, the thicker the walls of the blood vessel meaning the more deflated the vessel is. The lower the number, the more blood moving through, inflating the vessel making the walls thinner. The blood vessels on one side showed 2.8 something and the other slightly lower 2. 6 something. Dr. Anyanwu told us that these numbers were way too high. He wanted to see numbers lower than 1. So, he went on and said "I'm optimistic". However, we are in the throes of it right now. Dr. A said that she is on the fence and could go either way. Her vasospasm numbers were lower this morning. One was .96, and the other was 1.7. I didn't ask what contributed to this. I guess it could be the meds from Dr. Hecht's procedure yesterday or just the tapering off at the end of the natural plateau of vasospasms. He repeated that we just need to continue this for 72 hours. To quote him, "If we can make it through the next 3 days without a stroke, I'll claim victory." Then we can begin recovery. Recovery....I love talking about recovery!

He also showed pictures of the CT scan and there seemed to be no activity. Great. Chuck spoke up and told Dr. Anyanwu,"I believe that God has enabled your hands to care for her at this time." Dr. A said, "I believe that too."

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!

We continue to sit and wait. Currently, Mom is getting and EEG to check the brain for any seizures. Will blog later. Continue to pray!

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