Roller coaster? Meet Charlie’s VP shunt. How do you do? Not so well, actually. By way of inconclusive update, something is going on with Charlie’s new shunt, part of it is not working properly and he’s being subjected to a battery of blood tests, taps, and other procedures to try and figure out what’s happening. The main fear is that he has an infection which would mean the entire shunt would have to be removed from his body as soon as possible (he already has a slot for surgery tomorrow just in case) but preliminary white blood cell counts and the early cultures for the cerebrospinal fluid they tapped yesterday and today do not show a definite infection, nor does today’s head ultrasound. The part of the shunt that’s in his brain seems to be functioning okay, it’s the part that’s supposed to bring the fluid into his peritoneal cavity that is not working “optimally,” there’s some kind of backup or blockage. At the very least, it sounds like they’ll have to go in there and monkey with the tubing but if there’s the slightest sign of infection tomorrow or the day after they’ll have to take everything out, put the reservoir back in and wait WEEKS to try the surgery again. Sigh. So much for my fantasy of Charlie coming home for my 50th birthday (September 4).
I really try not to engage in negative “what-ifs” here but that’s the story for the moment. And poor Charlie has been completely sedated since Wednesday morning so he hasn’t been eating and has only rarely opened his eyes. Or maybe I should say lucky Charlie, given all that’s going on—I’d kill for a morphine drip! Thank God tomorrow is Monday and all the maven surgeons will be back and will be making decisions about the best next steps.
Until then, here is the song that I've been singing to Charlie and to myself all day long. It's what we've had to have for the past 112 days and what we continue to need: