Below is the recounting of the discovery, removal, rehabilitation, and survival of an arteriovenus malformation. To read from the beginning of the story, click here.
Party in the ICU: Sunday, November 15, 2009
The neurosurgeon on call the weekend I was admitted did not specialize in the malformation I had in my brain. So since my vitals were very stable, I was not rushed into surgery as the doctors at the first hospital thought I would be.
The surgeon decided to wait until the following week for the specialist to come in and see me.
Isn’t God amazing?!?
Here I am with as rare brain condition that I have never heard of, and there just happens to be a specialist here in town. There is lots of medical stuff in Grand Rapids, but this AVM is pretty rare. God is so good!
Everyone and their mother came to see me on Sunday. It was a great party. People would come up to the fourth floor and ask for Emily, and the nurses would just point down the hall to noisy room filled with people! How fun!
Another area where God is amazing: He surrounded me with people who love me and supported me through this crazy, scary time. Our small group, parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters all came to see me that day. I must tell you that I had a smashing time. Crazy, huh? I couldn’t do anything more than sit in bed, but it was so encouraging to see everyone that loved me.
Note: Sometime Saturday or Sunday they let me eat. I don’t remember when, but I do know that I raved over the food!
An Angiogram with A Very Soft Pillow
Monday (I think, not sure when this event occurred) I had an angiogram to assess the extent of the AVM. I was SUPER chatty with the nurses as they prepped me for the procedure. They said I’d be partially awake. Above the operating table was a panel of six monitors and one had a picture of a brain still up on it.
Cool. This is not so bad. I can totally handle watching this. This is going to be sweet!
Then the doctor came in. I was chatting with him too, 90 miles an hour. I told him that I must be nervous because I don’t usually talk this much. Then I asked him if I could talk during the procedure.
“No,” he said.
“Bummer, why not?” I asked.
“Because I will be going through your neck.”
That shut me up good. I don’t remember anything after that.
Oh, wait! I do!
As I was getting ready to leave the operating room, they moved me to the transfer bed. I looked back at the table and longingly said, “Can I have that pillow? It was SOOOO comfortable.”
The nurses laughed.
Why are you laughing? I just had the best sleep of my life on that pillow!
“Would you like us to sign it too?” they asked.
“Yes!” I said. So they all autographed it and I hugged it to my chest on the way back to the room.
Later, when I was more conscious, I saw that the lovely, soft pillow was really nothing more than a square piece of foam with an indent for the head.
Crazy what the drugs to do you, huh?
Sometime Monday or Tuesday, my neurosurgeon came to see me, ran some tests, and decided that I could go home until after Thanksgiving. The surgery needed to take place for me to lead a normal life, but I was in no imminent danger in the state I was.
There’s only a 6% chance of a second bleed within the next 6 months. Pretty good odds, don’t you think?
Next: My AVM Story – Part 7