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October 07, 2007
Think Of Me As A Sugar Maple. Or As The Sap.

Monday, bright and early, I head to Duke for a three-day hospital stay.

First I'll see the physical therapy folks, who will do some tests on me — setting benchmarks with actual numbers.

Then, I'll again undergo a lumbar puncture. This time, they'll hang a bucket on me and leave the drain open for 24 hours. Because the body can produce as much as a pint of cerebro-spinal fluid per day, they want to drain enough so that the effect of vastly-reduced CSF volume can be judged. I'll be staying overnight.

The next day, after the tap has been removed, it'll be another trip to see the PT people, who will repeat the initial tests on me, so as to compare the numbers with the previously-established benchmarks. The expectation is that my neuromuscular performance will be better after the draining.

And that should be the proof that hydrocephalus is the problem.

I'll then spend another 24 hours at the hospital, specifically to ensure that I don't get an infection and that the puncture site doesn't leak, which could have moderately dire consequences.

If the test results are as anticipated, we'll schedule surgery to install a shunt sometime in the following week or two. They tell me it's a 30-minute operation (which I rather doubt, but who am I to say otherwise?) followed by 24 hours as an in-patient, after which I can go home and spend between one and eight weeks recovering.

Yes, up to eight weeks. It's brain surgery. I just hope that they don't accidentally remove my math or language skills.

Improvement, however, should begin virtually immediately after surgery. I'm really looking forward to being able to walk again. Then there's physical therapy. There are more than a few muscles that have atrophied and are going to have to be worked pretty hard to get back up to speed after all these months.

That is, if this upcoming test gives a solid result. It had better.

I've begun having headaches pretty regularly.

If you're new to the story, you can read the entire tale of woe by going here, starting at the bottom, and scrolling up.

As an aside, I'll note that this entire thing has been horrifyingly expensive. Not so bad that I can't get the necessary medical care, but as a contractor at my workplace, I'm not blessed with insurance coverage. I've missed a somewhat substantial amount of work, with more absenteeism in the foreseeable future.

[No, I'm not interested in having a national healthcare system. If we had that, I'd still be waiting to see a neurologist.]

So, if you ever wanted to hit a tipjar, now might be a good time. I promise I won't pull an "Andrew Sullivan" on you and disappear for a month.

Whether or not that's a good thing remains to be seen.

Posted by Russ at 04:44 PM, October 7, 2007 in Health

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Well, Sullivan didn't just beg and then bolt... he begged and bolted for a vacation in Europe.

Posted by: Laurence Simon at October 8, 2007 10:37 AM

All of us at the 'Post hope you're feeling better real soon!

Posted by: K T Cat at October 8, 2007 07:36 PM

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