Wednesday, March 6, 2024

10 years later, part II

This week, I had pain behind both eyes, nausea and pain along the distal catheter in my head and down my neck. My shunt is working, just making adjustments and my past injuries causing chronic pain... I had a good cry about this one afternoon. I don't speak for everyone who has an  unruly medical device and/or chronic pain - Sometimes you just have bad days and you cry a lot. That was me for one day last week.

Then I played Star Fox (1993) on Super Nintendo and it made me smile. I felt accomplished when I beat one of the levels. The end title music is wonderful.

 In 2009, after my shunt was moved to the left side of brain I changed doctors and saw another neurosurgeon who I thought would listen to me. We'll call him Dr. Potato ( Not to be confused with Dr. Potato head who is smarter than this physician)  In 2011, I had a shunt revision and Dr. Potato moved my shunt valve to the right side of my brain, leaving the distal catheter on the left side. 

In 2013, my shunt began to fall apart inside my body ( unknown to me ) except around November 2013, I started to not have an appetite due tot he distal catheter being broken in my stomach. I also started to have vibrations inside my head which would indicate part of the shunt is broken ( a medical emergency by the way ).

Again, this went ignored by Dr. Potato. Until I insisted on doing a shunt revision where my shunt stopped working during surgery and I had two strokes, a brain hemorrhage and and Traumatic Brain Injury. 

Like anyone who has experienced a traumatic event and/or living with a chronic illness... I still experience the following:

Survivor's Guilt

Chronic Pain 

Brain Damage

Like every brain anniversary, I enjoy something sweet. This year, I decided to be adventurous and had a slice of cheesecake.  I also treated myself to a new friend ( How I feel when I experience chronic pain). 

Additionally, I treated myself to a new game, which I've heard is a good memory game...

I made a film about my injuries. Again, I am just one of many people who has a cerebral shunt, chronic illness and has experienced a traumatic event.  My film can be viewed here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

10 years later, part 1

I woke up this morning with the theme from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time (SNES) in my head. I didn't have much luck playing Mega Man X due to chronic pain issues. I was more successful with Super Mario Bro 2. I got a lot of satisfaction with throwing vegetables at various characters...

This year, 2024 marks ten years since I survived multiple brain injuries while having a shunt revision surgery in March 2014. The shunt drama began in April 2009, a month before I was suppose to finish my first graduate degree in May 2009. A late friend of my mine would refer to this as Murphy's Law.  On April 7, 2009 my shunt became obstructed and stopped working. I went  to the hospital for emergency surgery.  

 I'm just one of many people who has a shunt in my brain and has a chronic illness. 

When I was in the hospital in April 2009, I was taken to the operating room for surgery. During the surgery, my shunt was put in backwards. I suspect this was because the x ray was in the wrong way and no one checked this. 

The reason I believe my x ray was in backwards during the surgery was because of what the surgeon wrote in the operative report:

 The patient's right side of the head was shaved and left side as well and the right side of the neck was shaved and then prepped.  There were two scalp incisions, 1 on the right side, 1 on the left side and the bur hole had been placed in the left side. Both incisions were opened and the shunt system was identified.


(LEFT) X Ray image of my shunt placement birth to 2009.

Upon waking up after the surgery, I felt my lungs burning as I had stopped breathing. I could still feel the intubation tube in my throat, as they had used an large size.

I'm a petite person, I need small intubation tubes. 

Before I've had any shunt revision surgery, the anesthesiologist is suppose to check you before you go in for surgery to make sure they know what size tube to use. 

No one saw me before the surgery. 

After surgery, I couldn't breathe because I could still feel the tube in my throat and struggled to get air into my lungs. After what seemed like a very long time, I finally was able to breathe on my own with assistance from a nurse. 

 ( LEFT ) incorrect shunt placement X Ray image (2009-2014)

The surgeon who performed the surgery never saw or spoke to me again. 

 I was never given antibiotics after surgery and developed an infection.

Upon coming back for a follow up appointment, I saw an assistant who gave me medication for the infection.

I developed a chiari malformation type 1 by my cerebellum after this surgery. I suspect because my brain almost herniated after this surgery. 

I now get headaches in the back of my head. If I lay on my back, putting pressure on the back of my head, I will have headache pain on the top my head ( both left and right ) among other issues....

Since this doctor had refused to see me, I changed hospitals and found another doctor.

And that was only the beginning...