Friday, April 9, 2010

I Fall Apart, but It's a Good Thing!

The Wednesday before last I took my mom to her general practitioner to ask about normal pressure hydrocephalus. I asked to speak with the doctor privately. I pretty much cried through the whole discussion. I asked for a neurologist to look at the MRI, specifically looking for water on the brain. I asked for a spinal tap. The doctor basically told me that I just had to wait until her appointment at OHSU on May 27. She didn't think a spinal tap was warranted, and she was confident that if there was water on the brain, it would show up in the MRI written report. I told her that I could not wait until May 27--that Mom could be dead by then. I said I was taking her to the emergency room. She said that they wouldn't help me so not to bother. I told her one of my closest friends is an ER nurse (Dana) who has been trying to get me to bring her in since November. Dana told me that if I brought her to the ER, a neurologist would see her right away and run all sorts of tests on her to find out what is wrong. Dana was working that night. When I told the doctor this, she agreed to admit Mom but still said that she wouldn't order a spinal tap; the neurologist would have to do it if he found it warranted.

Long story short, the neurologist DID see signs of NPH and performed a spinal tap, removing several vials of cerebral-spinal fluid. He said that if it is NPH, she'd improve in a week or so. We do believe that she has improved. She is more animated, talks more, responds faster to questions, has better eye contact, and seems to walk better. Of course, the changes we see may only be our imagination fed by hope. But my aunt noticed improvement, and she didn't even know that fluid had been drained. We take her back to the neurologist on Monday. Hopefully he'll decide to insert a permanent shunt from her brain to her abdomen. The fluid will drain regularly that way and be eliminated. This procedure has had a lot of success in helping people to recover at least some if not most of their previous level of function. We have hope. That's more than we had a month ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment