Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hydrocephalus and Brain Injury Awareness

Watched the movie, Shaun the Sheep yesterday after borrowing a copy from my library. I didn't realize until I watched the film that one of the main themes was about brain injury. A character in the film, looses his memory and it shows how his brain injury impacted not only him, but also of the other characters in his life.   It was also animated by one of my favorite studios, Aardman Animation. This summer, Regal Cinemas was having a $1 Summer Movie Express where you could see selected films for $1. I won't be able to see Shaun the Sheep on the day it will be at Regal Cinemas for $1, and I got a copy from my library.

September is Hydrocephalus Awareness Month.  I found this interesting article explaining the lifetime commitment of a shunt. For example,  ''Having a shunt is a lifetime commitment. Once a shunt is implanted, it is not a "one time" operation. Life expectancy of a shunt averages 10 years. However, a shunt can last 5 minutes to many years. It is wise to always be aware of the warning signs for a "shunt malfunction." Retrieved from

During the last week, I've had nothing but discomfort from my Aesculap ProGav shunt.  I've come to the realization that it reacts to the weather and other magnets in the area. The last week or two it's been either severe thunderstorms and extremely hot outside.  Both situations haven't been good for my shunt. I have pain and throbbing on the shunt valve plus in my abdomen from the distal catheter. There are also pieces of my old shunt (which was falling apart in 2014) behind my right ear and in my abdomen.  This causes pain as well and I can sometimes feel pieces of the old shunt in my abdomen. I'm still trying to figure out to effectively manage the pain.  Not much seems to be known on the medical end about how these programmable valves actually work. I think if more was known about them, they wouldn't be used as much. My new neurosurgeon even told me when I saw him earlier this summer, that he doesn't use ProGav shunts because they're temperamental and it takes a while before you even know the correct setting for the patient.  We need Star Trek level technology when dealing with the hydrocephalus.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

2015 Eye Surgery Notes

I had to have eye muscle surgery in order to correct my double vision after having multiple brain injuries in March 2014. I was able to get a hold of my operative report from my eye surgery in 2015, which I had been curious about. After each operation I have, I order the images ( X Rays, CT and MRI scans ) plus the operative reports from the doctor. I like to read about what happened to me while I was under general anesthesia.

Here are some excerpts from the long report:

Part I:  The patient was brought into the operating room and
placed under general anesthesia. The eyes were prepped and draped in sterile
fashion. The right eye was in a slightly adducted position. Forced duction
testing demonstrated mild increased tone to the right medial rectus, and reduced
tone to the lateral rectus. The left horizontal muscle tone was normal.
An eyelid speculum was placed into the right eye. A radial fornix incision was
created in the inferonasal quadrant and the medial rectus muscle was placed onto
a Guyton hook.

And later...

Part II: The muscle was reposited and verified to be hung back 3.5 mm from the insertion
against the noose. The pole sutures were left untied to allow for post-operative
adjustment. A four-limbed traction suture of 5-0 Mersilene was placed through
the insertion and the sclera near the limbus. 

Towards the end....

Part III: The remaining stump was excised from the globe and hemostasis was established with cautery. Both ends of the Vicryl were passed partial thickness through the original insertion and tied with a surgeon's knot. The conjunctiva was closed with interrupted sutures of 6-0 plain.

The eyelid speculum was removed. One drop Betadyne ophthalmic solution followed
by several drops Blephamide were placed into the right eye. A patch and shield
were placed. The patient was awoken and taken to the recovery room in good