Understanding what happened

Friday, April 3, 2009

This is the big concern - he had a significant midline shift. His bleed was not IN the brain, it was in the layers of "skin" (there has to be a fancy word for brain skin...) surrounding the brain. So, as the bleed grows, the rest of the brain gets smooshed over to the other side.


The picture in that article differs from Tom's original CT in that his is more centered on the left side of the head and doesn't reach quite so far around the front of the head (which is at the top of the pic).

What happened??

Tom and Greg had fixed the go cart (Tom's first welding project since he got the welder for Christmas), and they took it to the elementary school a block away to play with it. Greg was driving, Tom was riding, and they took a left turn really fast (which they do all the time because it's more fun that way). When Tom felt the wheels coming off the ground, he tried to stand up and get out of the cart, fell backwards onto his shoulder and left side. They got him a towel for his head, Greg loaded up, they came to get me (luckily I was dressed and hanging out in the kitchen when I found out, just needed to grab my purse), and we headed to Denton Regional. Tom was cognizant enough to say we should go in Greg's car instead of the truck so no one would steal the go cart out of the back of the truck at the hospital...LOL. So we did.

At the ER, they got him back there, did the CT, afterward Tom was in bad shape, and that's when I started calling family. I had to leave him to go outside because there was no signal in the ER. UGH! I came back in to find out that they were going to careflight him to JPS in Fort Worth, our new home. The short version of that is - we arrived, they did an emergency craniotomy, and the doc came to talk to us at 7pm, post-op (time frame: accident was about 2:45, got to ER at 3, so four hours for all that, I find impressively quick). "We got the two clots out within 6 minutes of beginning surgery, but we have no way of knowing what damage has been done in the meantime, he may not wake up, he may die, yes this is the same thing that happened to Natasha Richardson." I don't mind his bluntness. This is not a situation that needs to be sugar coated.

And the rest is "my new normal". The biggest deviation from that was Tuesday night, when his fever spiked to 106 and stayed for a few hours overnight. The doc was in surgery so the nurses couldn't get an antibiotic approved. The nurses tried a ton of different things to help him. Eventually, they packed him with ice and stuck a fan on him as well as two cooling blankets, and his fever slowly went down. By morning it was 100 again ("his new normal"...) It was seriously the scariest night of my life.

So, now the View is on, and that's my cue to hop in the shower and head out.


The O'Brien Family said...

Wow! What a crazy accident. You never know what's going to happen. I'm glad you all were able to get to the hospital so quickly & glad Tom came to pick you up before going!

I wish I could just give you a big giant hug! I know you need one!!!

The term for "skin" around the brain is meninges. There are 3 layers: the pia mater, dura mater, and arachnoid membrane. I know this info from Connor's 2 crainotomies.

Hang tough girl!

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