Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spinal Tap Lane

A regular eye exam turned bad. This time, it wasn't mine. It was my husband. An even worse place to be. I would much rather tell you this story was about me. So, there we were waiting for the results. Results? We don't need results. My husband doesn't need results. The only results I want to be looking at are that of a pregnancy test. But this wasn't the result we were awaiting.

Like I said, it started out as an eye exam to check a recent problem with his peripheral vision. The Optometrist took one look in his eyes and said, "You need to get the ER and have an MRI. Do you need an ambulance to take you? ", I can call my wife".

I rush around the house in a panic. I was in my sweats and looked terrible. Leighton was still napping. So I threw on my clothes, prepared a snack, sippy and blanket for him and started the car. I woke him up gently and raced him over to my dear friend's house. Thank God for friends and family who are there at the drop of a hat.....My heart was pounding all the way. I prayed all the way.

When I got to his exam room at the clinic the optometrist showed me the pictures of his eye. His optic nerve was severely swollen. The optic nerve is connected to one very important organ: THE BRAIN. If the optic nerve is swollen, it means the brain is swollen. And let's all just admit the first thing that comes to mind when you think of what causes swelling in the brain. Brain tumor. More praying. Lots more praying.

At the ER, they conducted some simple neurology tests. (touch your nose, follow my finger, push against my arm...ect.) He passed all those with flying colors. They were all perplexed and told us so. Next was time to see an actual neurologist. She calmly walked in and started conducting her version of the neurology tests. "You are causing quite a stir in this ER, Derrick", she said. "you don't fit the bill for a having a mass in your brain but we need to do an MRI to see what is going on." So, they wheeled him away and I wasn't allowed to go with.

There I was in the ER all alone. There is so much chaos and busy-ness in a place like that. Lots of sickness all around me. People coming and going past our door with lots of real problems. But none as real and as scary as what we were questioning. Or being questioned about. Why is there swelling in his eye/brain? The neurologist told us if the MRI didn't show anything, we would move on to a spinal tap. When she said that, Derrick got a look of dread on his face. Probably one of the most dreaded procedures out there. But, hey, I'm praying for a spinal tap because that means the MRI was negative. Go spinal tap, go. So I'm still waiting. Made a few phone calls to check on my baby boy and to update a few worried parents. Waited. Worried. Prayed. Mostly prayed.

Finally, they wheeled my husband back in. As much as I hate the thought of my husband in a hospital gown and wheel chair, he does look good in a backless gown.... But back to the seriousness. It's time to wait. The MRI results were being printed. People were looking at them. Knowing our fate before we would. We just sat there. Waiting. We tried to look at the magazines in the room but that didn't feel right. We shot worried glances at one another. I reminded him that it would be fine. The results would be negative and we would be on our way home soon. We prayed. I thought about bargaining with God but I knew that wouldn't help. I just trusted HIM and prayed.

Finally, she came in. Literally. Finally. TWO HOURS LATER, finally. The first word out of her mouth was normal. It was normal. The MRI was normal. Wow! The scare of a lifetime right there. That is one scary road to go down. Or to try really hard NOT to go down. And now we just thank God for those results.

Next stop: spinal tap lane. Dreadful, horrifying needle into the spine. He took it like a trooper asking her what she was doing with each step through the entire process. Through the tap, it was discovered that Derrick had insanely high spinal fluid pressure which was causing the inflammation and swelling on the optic nerve. They did a battery of tests on the spinal fluid and they all came back negative. So, they prescribed a diuretic medication (which had really bad side effects) and sent us on our way for the weekend. Derrick spent the weekend in misery post-spinal tap and dealing with nauseousness, extreme fatigue, tingling, loss of appetite and dizziness (due to the medication).

A follow-up exam to the neurologist this week led Derrick once again down spinal tap lane. This time, it was good news. His pressure was down to a normal level. Praise the Lord! However, his optic nerves are still looking pretty bad. So, the only next step is surgery. We will be travelling to Mayo Clinic on Sunday and meeting with the opthamologist on Monday. Possible surgery on Tuesday. It's called an Optic Nerve Sheath Fenestration (try to say that one 5 times really fast!) and it entails cutting slits in the sheath covering over the optic nerve to act as an irrigation for any excess fluid.

So, we wait and pray. We pray for good weather and roads. We pray for a good consult. We pray for no need for surgery and if we must, we pray for successful/safe surgery. We pray for our sweet baby boy who will be staying back at our home with Grandma and Grandpa. Our faith rests fully in God for this entire matter......More to come.


Susie said...

Holy Toledo Shannon. You will be in my thoughts.

Wildlifewife said...

You are going to a good place Shanny! The people at Mayo are the best. If you need anything let me know. You will be in our prayers.

Valerie said...

Before I forget, Liz said to she has friends down there that you could stay with if you need to. Let me know if you want the number..

Anonymous said...

Shannon & Derrick,

Thoughts and prayers being sent your way -

Linda & Jason

Anonymous said...

Shanny - we pray for you guys every day...I know things will work out. Remember, we are just a minute away so if you need ANYTHING, let us know.
Love Andy and Les

Shannon Joy said...

Thanks for all your kind thoughts and prayers, everyone. We will keep you all posted.