30 July, 2009

Update 3 on Jennal

This is the 3rd update to my blog about my niece, Jennal, and what she's been going through. Here's a link back to the 2nd update on her condition. If you haven't been following this story, please read the original blog post.

My sister, her fiancé (Jennal's father), and I were there all morning right up to the point where she was taken into surgery. She was sleeping on and off. Jennal wanted her mother right next to her and me by her side. Her father came over but she actually pushed him away. She was extremely grouchy and cranky, as she knew what was coming. She kept begging us to take her home, and not let her go back. She kept saying that she didn't want another trip. Whenever the nurses would come over and and say something medical, she would use that word -- no matter what it was -- and say that she didn't want it, repeating it over and over.

For example, one of the nurses said that they needed to take an oxygen tank with the bed when they transported her, so Jennal started crying, "I don't want the oxygen tank" over and over and over. It truly was heartbreaking to be there with her. Her mother and I continued to comfort her, telling her that everything was going to be OK but at time the nurses' continued conversation about things in front of Jennal made it difficult. One of the nurses didn't think that Jennal knew what was going on but--trust me--she was fully aware that she was going in for another surgery, and Jennal was experiencing a great deal of anxiety over that, as she feared much more pain, etc.

Jennal wanted my sister in the bed with her, and my sister did her best to comply. Jennal didn't want me to touch her but she did want me by her side; she didn't want to see her father, and that really surprised me. She was extremely cranky and feared what was coming. She really did not want to be taken anywhere except home, which is what she kept repeating. When they took her away to go down to surgery, they took her in her bed, with her mother by her side. I stayed in the room, watching her leave, crying that she didn't want to go on the trip.

I truly wish there was a way to control Jennal's seizure without resorting to this horrific procedure. The surgeon came up before hand to speak with Jennal's parents, and asked if we had any questions. My sister had already done the drilling, long before they started these procedures this week, back when they had talked about the possibility of doing it. (They had discussed the possibility of this procedure back in the spring, but actually only decided to perform it last week.) I asked approximately how long it would take and if they foresaw any complications, and was advised that it was an approximately four-hour-long procedure and that they foresaw no complications.

Around 3:00pm EDT, the surgeon came out and informed us that the procedure was complete and that there were no complications. He said that everything went smoothly and according to plan. Shortly thereafter, Jennal was wheeled in her bed back to the pediatric ICU room, which now had three other patients in it. She was still under the effects of the anesthesia, but she was mumbling something about turning off the light and not being able to open her eyes. She looked extremely swollen--much more so than from the previous surgery. I guess having two brain surgeries in the span of four days will do that to you.

At that point, because I hadn't slept since -- Wednesday morning some time (my usual sleeping pattern is to be up at night and awake during the daytime, so I fall asleep around 6-8am or so), I returned to the hotel room that the hospital was providing (my sister was paying for a small portion of the hotel room fee, and the hotel is located just a few blocks from the hospital) and went to sleep. I knew that Jennal would mostly be sleeping for quite some time, and she didn't acknowledge either my presence or her mother's presence, so I felt it was OK to leave her for a while and get some much-needed rest.

My sister had an OB/GYN appointment this evening, which she had to keep, as close monitoring of her pregnancy (she recently found out that she's in her 2nd trimester and pregnant with twins of all things). I've been in contact with her father via SMS and he said that she's still out of it, under the effects of the anesthesia. When my sister returns from her OB/GYN appointment, I'll return to the hospital with her and stay with her, as her father has a prior engagement that he is obliged to keep and cannot get out of. Since Jennal was pushing her father away (which was heartbreaking for me to see--as I'm sure it was for my sister and him as well), I think she'll be OK with just my sister and me there.

As for Jennal's vitals, her heart rate was still a bit elevated but not nearly as much as it was when she came out of surgery the first time; we'll see how it is later this evening, when the anesthesia wears off a bit more. The blood pressure monitor via the IV was high, but the blood pressure monitor via the cuff was normal. The doctors said that they trusted what the cuff blood pressure was more so than the IV monitor, as that tended to be unreliable.

So all in all, Jennal seemed OK, except for that fact that she was very pissed off at the fact of having to undergo a second procedure. At least now, for the time being, she won't have to undergo any more procedures like this, or any surgeries in the near future. I do know that she will have to undergo surgery for her legs to correct the bone growth (because of her stroke, her muscles aren't pulling on the bones in her legs with enough strength so the bones in her right leg aren't growing properly). But that's something for the future, and not nearly as life-threatening as what she's going through now.

I'll keep everyone updated via the blog and my Tweets on Twitter. If you're not already doing so, I do tweet about Jennal's status and what's going on via my Twitter account. You can read about that at http://twitter.com/NiteStar

Jennal, her parents, and I (along with the rest of our family) have received so much support via friends who are commenting on-line, and we would just like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your previous, present, and continued prayers, thoughts, and healing energies. I don't think we could have gotten through this without all of the support that has been given, and the comments and tweets made via Facebook and Twitter. Please keep up the healing thoughts & energies, and your prayers. THANK YOU SO MUCH!