Sleepy Days Ahead


 

The next couple of days in the hospital are a blur. Sure I remember seeing my family, friends, Dr.’s, therapists, going for walks, eating; but I slept like I had never slept before, or since. And it wasn’t restful, peaceful sleep either. It was rather unpredictable, a few hours here and there, wide awake at 1:00 AM and out like a light at 3:00 PM. I had incredibly vivid dreams as well, like I was falling through the sky, through clouds; with no end in site…Then I would literally feel myself falling out of my bed, only to be jarred awake when I hit the guard rails. I would spring up in a flash not knowing where I was. The room was dark and dead silent. And then I felt the all too familiar tug of the IV’s in my arms. Suddenly, it all came back to me, and I fell back to my pillow and let out a long sigh.

I was in and out of sleep for the rest of the night again. Until morning arrived and my routine started again. At this point I was starting to get, well…tired of being in the hospital. I was bored, I was tired, I needed a shower…For some reason or another they always talk about people getting sponge baths in hospitals…Well I never got one. Then there was constant checking of my staples and stitches in my abdomen. I remember that on one particular day, the nurse who checked my staples resecured the bandage on my head rather tightly. Within minutes I had a mind-splitting headache that rendered me incapable of doing much of anything. My mom must have picked up on my discomfort as she asked me if I was alright. I guess maybe she had noticed that the nurse had wrapped the bandage on my head a little too snuggly as well. I shook my head “no”, and she asked if my bandage needed to be loosened, and I nodded “yes”. That’s really all I could do at the moment. So she loosened it for me, and the pain slowly started to recede.

One thing was hindering my progress, one thing was standing between me and freedom; a possible cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. See CSF surrounds the brain and spinal cord, and during surgery a hole is cut into the membrane (dura) that surrounds the brain. If the dura does not heal adequately, CSF will continue to leak out and the pressure around the brain drops. So everyday my doctor would visit me, and everyday he would walk me through certain tasks. Among them was I had to lean forward and see if any fluid would come out of my nose. Some fluid during the initial days post-op was normal, but beyond a certain point it was determined that you had a CSF leak. I was going on four days in the hospital and three days of steady leakage, not a good sign…