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Monday, September 7, 2015

Even Less Sugar: Pummeled by Complications

I dread trotting over here to the blog. Because sometimes so much as happened since my last post, and I don't want to relive it to get it into print here ... but I also don't like to leave gaps in the story. So here's a brief summary of our current state of affairs:

The surgery to realign his scalp to cover the hole went well. They removed the bone flap, but the surgeon says that barring his participation extreme sports and ultimate fighting, it might not be necessary for him to wear a helmet out and about.

He had, post op, two drains in place: one to drain CSF and one to drain blood from the surgical site. Unfortunately the former drain did not prove effective, and so they re-installed a lumbar drain, which seems to be functioning as they expect. This is a SLOWER drain than before, when the air was getting sucked INto the head and into the brain.

Unfortunately all this lazy lying around stuff he's been doing has led to a blood clot in his lung. According to last night's nurse, the clot is REALLY big. Her eyes got big. Serious stuff.

From what I can piece together and keep learning from nurses and doctors as they pass through, here's the current course of treatment:

1. blood clots cannot go to the heart; if they do, heart attack, stroke? and ... delicately: Ian would not likely survive such an event

2. blood thinners are an immediate course of action (and were started immediately), however they hold their own risks, vis a vis bleeding following a surgery. Specifically, they'll need to monitor closely for a brain bleed(s) (which they are doing via regular CT scans).

3. thinners allow the body's blood to slowly break down the clot. And by slowly, we're talking MONTHS. In the meantime, it seriously, no kidding can't break apart/move to the heart. So now ...

4. it's likely he will have, perhaps today, more likely tomorrow, installed a filter. This is a procedure, not an operation, and is relatively standard in treating this situation. Again, however, there are risks, and Ian's condition accentuates those risks.

Ian: is relatively cognitively stable. He is mostly horizontal. He's had nothing to eat or drink since lunch yesterday, pending this possible procedure, so he's crabby about that.

Rachel: is pressing on. No vertigo today, thank God. I'm bunked at the Family House Shadyside across the street (for patients getting treatment from out of town, families of patients, etc - an amazing thing, really), which, albeit a pricey week-long solution is preferable to waiting room non-sleep. I can be in his room within five minutes and have access to a shower and bed.

Audrey & Ezra: are doing the Gramma Cha-Cha. I don't know "how" they are, REALLY, but for the moment, they are doing life the only way they can ... one day at a time.

Thanks to everyone for your help and continued prayers.

Below, a picture of the rather Frankenstein's monster-esque head scar. You have been warned.


  1. Rachel, I admire you probably more than anyone in the world at this time. Waiting on blood clots to dissolve, etc., is no picnic....have been through several scenarios. You are strong and so brave......but I also get that.....what is your choice? You cannot, would not, run away. I will not stop praying for Ian and for you and the rest of the family. Your blog is perfect. You told it all and seriously, it was done it a way that I could read it easily and did not get squeamish or anything. Just felt such compassion for both of you. I pray that God gives you both a ton of strength to continue on this journey. Keep up your wonderful, committed work!.....Becky

  2. Rachel, I had the great privilege of visiting with Ian yesterday. He was very clear thinking as we talked, laughed, shared scripture and prayed. I tried telling him a funny story about a Psalm (pastor's humor) and Ian totally anticipated my punchline ("I saw that one coming", he said). Being in Ian's presence was very uplifting for me. Our prayers continue for you, Ian and your family. And, please tell Ian, the verse we were trying to find ("...for only you, Lord, make me dwell in safety.") is Psalm 4:8. Love, Bob Trask