Friday, May 05, 2006

Heroic?

The reader may remember that the last time our hero was due to meet with his surgeon, he had his xrays, but no doctors ventured into their offices that day.

Our hero and his merry band were almost thwarted again, when they journeyed to the hospital and were told that they were not on the schedule for appointments. Fortunately, our hero's nurse case manager spoke the magic words, and all were admitted to the sacred lair of the neurosurgeon. (This included the nurse case manager's adorable grandson, Kyle, who played happily with his toys on the floors of many, many waiting rooms.)

Okay. Enough of that.

We met with Dr Castro-Maure who answered many questions about the surgery, drew a lot of pictures to explain what exactly he had done to reconstruct Robb's injured bone. (They crunched up part of his bone, and used a kind of biological cement to glue it back together so that it would grow anew. Wild.)

He seemed very hopeful, and said that there was no reason to think that the nerves would not regenerate themselves. He did have some concerns about the very end of the spinal cord, but only time will tell us if that will heal or not. He told us that nerves regenerate at a rate of a millimeter a day, so it could take up to two years for the nerves leading to Robb's feet to recover.

We also discussed the fact that a recovery of this sort is neither a long gradual slope with incremental improvement, nor a staircase there you are at one level and then step up quickly to the next level. Rather, it resembles a roller coaster. He says that there will be recovery, and then because the nerves are improving but not yet working correctly, there will be apparent setbacks. The newly healed nerves will be sending incorrect signals at first. We had noticed something like this, in fact. Robb's stamina seems to have improved, but his walking has become "sloppier" in the last week.

We followed the doctor's visit with another round of xrays. Robb had to take his brace off and stand in front of the xray machine. Up until now, he has never had the brace off except when laying in bed. This was daunting, as he had to bend in addition to merely standing. He managed the xrays where he leaned forward, but for the backward leaning images, I donned a pink lead frock, and supported his shoulders in front of the xray machine.

The upshot of all this is that Robb's xrays look so good that he can start, slowly, going without his full-torso brace. We'll start by taking it off for half an hour at a time, inside our apartment. Our physical therapist suggests that Robb stands during this time, which will cause the least amount of stress on his spine and back muscles.

Signing Off, Now

I'm going to cut this short, because I have to drive to the airport to pick up Ellen, who is in town for a long weekend to help Kara. Kara is home from the hospital. She was in the hospital the first time for four or five days, and just spent another nine days fighting the infection. Ellen is a true friend to come out from Minnesota to help out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

True friends, yes. Possibly life's most important treasures. They really give the 'blood-is-thicker-than-water' idea a run for its money.
~~Doublesaj

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