Monday, April 15, 2013

Three Years Since our New Normal

I like to bring awareness about Traumatic Brain Injuries.  To let other people out there know that they're not alone in dealing with this.  Three years ago today, DH had his first brain surgery to put a shunt in.  It was supposed to be a routine surgery, and he would get out of the hospital in a couple of days.  For one day he was good.  He didn't have a bad headache, and was actually in a good mood.  Then they discharged him.  Since it was late, we stayed in the Fisher House overnight and during the night the vomiting began.  The next morning, he could barely stand up.  I put him in a wheelchair and Monster in his stroller and wheeled both up to the emergency room at the hospital.  Nothing.  They sent us home.  When we got home, DH went to bed and stayed there almost a week with the vomiting, and increasing lethargy.  So, I called his doctor.  We were told to go up for his appointment early in the morning even though it was in the afternoon.  They did an emergency CT scan, and blood work.  Everything turned out fine.  BUT...I'm very thankful that we had a good doctor that coould tell that there was something wrong with DH and admitted him to the hospital.  
After a day or so on the hospital, it was discovered that there was an infection in the shunt.  He was scheduled for surgery right away to remove the shunt.  After a week in the hospital, right at Monster's first birthday, DH was discharged home on IV antibiotics.  I had to learn how to mix them and administer his IV twice a day.  Then, the long uphill battle for DH to get his strength back so that he could go in for another brain surgery to put in another shunt...that took almost a year.  During that time, we've gotten used to our "New Normal".  DH has headaches all the time, sometimes he's wobbly when he walks, and he has a very bad memory.  But, I believe that we're never given more than we can handle.  Yes, we've been through a lot, but it has made our family stronger.  We appreciate our days together and we especially appreciate days when DH doesn't have bad headaches.  Hydrocephalus is a part of our life.  I'm constantly worried about a shunt malfunction.  I always try to make sure that DH is walking in a straight line, and there's some days he needs his walking stick.  Then, there's the days when he gets the really bad headaches.  Hydrocephalus never goes away, but it can be treated.  The brain damage that DH has because of the Hydrocephalus can never be fixed.  We just have to learn how to live with it. 
Daddy and Monster opening presents on Monster's first birthday!