Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Acquired Brain Injury Day 39

The appointment with the Neurosurgeon,which was at the Alfred was at 11:00 in the morning and we arrived about an hour ahead of time at the Caulfield to make sure that we were not late. The Nurses at the Caulfield told us that if there were any emergencies the appointment with the Doctor might be delayed or cancelled. Another patient the day before had waited six hours for their appointment, only to have it put over to the next day.

The Alfred is only 20 minutes from the Caulfield and we arrived at the Alfred about 40 minutes early. We needed the time as the directions needed to find the clinic where the appointment was going to be held, were vague and we got lost. The Alfred is not that big, but it has many departments. 

After getting directions we arrived at the clinic and checked in; we were about 10 minutes early. As we waited, a Nurse came out and told us that there might be a delay as there had been a major accident and the Dr's may be tied up. My heart sank, as I we had been anticipating Colleen getting released and to wait one more day would be very disappointing. We waited for about 40 more minutes and then people started to be called in for their appointments.

Timing is everything in life, I sometimes think. One person was called and they did not appear to be the waiting area as many people had left. Lucky for us as the person had left, because Colleen was called as soon as the staff realized the person ahead of her was not there.

We went to see the Dr. and in the meeting he was quite thorough. The Dr. talked to us about what had happened, showed us the X-Rays he had and talked about the fact we needed to follow-up with a Neurosurgeon in Canada to make sure the coiling they had used to stop the bleed, stayed in place. 

He told us that Colleen still had fluid on the brain, but that would be absorbed by the body over time but we were to watch for any severe headaches or dizziness or feelings of being off balance. 

Then he told us that Colleen had three more brain aneurysm that had been discovered through the course of her treatment. He was quite quick to point out that these aneurysms were small and there was only a slight risk of rupture. He also said it was quite unusual for a person to have more than one aneurysm and to be alive.

He was very happy with Colleen's recovery and said quote: "She had made a remarkable, remarkable, remarkable recovery." He also said that we were free to go home when we were ready.  He gave us all of the medical notes and a couple of CD's with images for the Doctors back home and then phoned the Caulfield and told them that Colleen could be discharged. We were very excited.

We left the appointment, told Danielle and Adam, then we went back to the Caulfield, where they were in the process of getting all of the paper work we would need back home for rehab together to give to us. It took the staff about 20 minutes to put everything in order for us. While we were waiting for the paperwork, we packed up and Colleen said goodbye to all of her team. They were all excited and happy to see her go, as she was one of their success stories.

Later that day, I phoned Cathay Pacific and the earliest that we could book a flight home was December 14th, so I booked that date. We went back to Rye, where everyone happy to see Colleen. We talked about the best course of action and decided that we would spend the next few days with Danielle, Adam and Ryder in Sawmill Settlement. We thought it would be quieter and it would also give Dan and his family a break. They had been hosting me for the full 39 days. It was time to give them a break. So we said goodbye to Dan, Bogs, Nikki and the kids and left for Sawmill. l am looking forward to spending some quality time with Danielle and her family before we fly home. 

It has been a very trying time, and I know we are very lucky that Colleen  had the level of care and support that we received.The kindness of my extended family in Australia and friends and family in Canada will not be forgotten. 

The issue now is getting Colleen into rehab in Canada and knowing that she has three more aneurysms. The Dr's was encouraging and said that the likelihood of  having a problem with the new aneurysms was very small. 

The fact that the risk is small, may be true, but this new fact of life is something we have to think it will take time for both of us to figure out how to live now that we know about this new risk.  Bottom line, we are heading home in 12 days and the acquired brain injury journaling is now ended. Thank you to all those who have stayed with me over the last 39 days. Life is precious and it can change in a heartbeat, so cherish those around you and be thankful for them, I know I am.

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