I am writing this while sitting in the basement of the hospital washing clothes. The fact that we have been here long enough that I have to wash clothes says a lot. I had a flash back to my senior year of college when I realized that I had run out of clean underwear, and instead of washing clothes I just went and bought new ones. Yep, did that. I was planning on going to Krista's so I wouldn't have to buy more socks, but I found that they had washers and dryers downstairs. The smell of Tide is permeating the hallway, and the click-clack sound of someone's buttons in the dryer is the only thing I have heard in about an hour. I suppose a little change in scenery is good.
Patrick had a great Monday. He was up and walking around, and all of the doctors were pleased with his progress. Two doctors said that they would discharge him on Wednesday. My heart was filled with glee. I started pricing plane tickets home, and I even got Krista to come get me so I could buy Patrick a comfortable change of clothes to wear home. He will come home on IV antibiotics so they will leave his PICC line in his arm. I wanted to be sure that he was super comfortable on the plane, so I got him a great pair of athletic pants, and green shirt, and some comfy flip flops. I called Momma to double check his shoe size so that there would be no problems getting him out as soon as they gave us the word. Krista's mom, Donna, came and picked me up after she got off work. (She works very near to the hospital), and we went to their house where dinner was waiting. Roast, rice and gravy, squash, and sweet tea. Krista and I sat on the counters in the kitchen and talked while the squash was finishing up, and I felt closer and closer to home. After dinner, we went to Target, and then to Rayo's. Rayo's is an amazing bakery near their house, and Patrick must have gone there three times a week when he was out here. I got him some great little treats. A creme brule, a fresh fruit tart, and the sweetest little cake I have ever seen. It was mint chocolate, but it was shaped like a woman's summer hat. It was so neat, and Patrick said it tasted wonderful. I laid down in the horribly uncomfortable recliner, and I went to sleep knowing that tomorrow would be the last day before we were out of there.
I should know better than to count my chickens….
Tuesday morning Patrick told his doctors that his nose had been dripping. At first he thought it might have been sinus drainage, but it seemed pretty regular when he would stand up and walk. His nurse called his neurosurgeon who came by. He had Patrick stand up and bear down, and sure enough he started leaking. That dripping wasn't from his sinus, but rather from his brain. He somehow has sprung a spinal fluid leak, which is pretty serious business. Dr. Levine decided to put in a lumbar drain to take some of the fluid out of his spinal column so that hopefully the tear (wherever it is) will heal on it's own. If not (and I am knocking on wood this isn't the case), he will have to go back into the OR where they will have to find the leak and patch it. When I asked if that was something that they could do endoscopicly, the doctor said that would be hard to determine, but more than likely not. The thought of more surgery makes my heart sink. He has had enough surgery for two lifetimes. Pray that doesn't happen.
After they made the discovery, they decided to move him to the 8th floor, which is the neuro-unit. We had to pack up and move again. Down stairs - the wrong direction. We got there and got halfway settled when one of the neurosurgeons came by to put in the drain. He was a soft-spoken korean man in his late 30's. He and Patrick's night nurse Greg, prepped Patrick, and got all of the supplies out. The procedure involves putting an enormous needle in-between two vertebrae in his lower back, inserting a catheter, and attaching a collection bag to drain off 10 ccs of fluid per hour. I had lots of questions about how much fluid that was in relationship to the grand total, and how long it took for the body to replace it. He said that 10 ccs an hour is just a little more than the body produces, so the goal is to take just a little bit of fluid off to make room for the leak to heal. He will have to lay flat of his back for 5 days, and then they will remove the catheter, and keep him down for 24 more hours. After that they will sit him up and see if he is still leaking. If not, we will come home, if so, more surgery. Putting the needle in was extremely painful, for Patrick and me. They numbed the area with some lidocaine, but the deep tissue and ligaments can't be numbed because they are so deep. I held Patrick's hand, and I could tell the exact moment they hit the tissue. He nearly came off the bed. The doctor told him that it was very important to lay still, and that he knew it was very uncomfortable. "Uncomfortable" is doctor's speak for as painful as getting hot bamboo shoots shoved under your fingernails. He gave Patrick a little more lidocaine, and tried again. They had draped Patrick as though he was in surgery, and the mirror was behind him, so I could see most of everything. Patrick pulled his knees to his chest, and they started again. I told him to squeeze my hand just as tight as he needed to, that I was there for him, and he could do it. With every movement of the needle, Patrick squeezed harder and harder. I put my head down on his arm and kissed it gently. "You are doing great, and it will be over in just a little while. Think about Cameron and her singing her ABCs." Patrick closed his eyes, and squeezed harder then a few tears rolled down his face. By the time it was over my hand was nearly broken, and that' was ok with me. They threaded the catheter, and now there is nothing to do but wait. I tried to get a little work done, but with him on his back, that is going to be harder than ever. He can't sit up more than 15°s, so I am going to be waiting on him hand and foot. Good think he has pretty feet. :)
We are both ready to come home.