Photos!

Well, here are a few photos from the last week. I have some from my hospital stay as well and will put those up soon and as soon as I am up to it, I will do a full update for everyone, although my dad did a wonderful job with his updates. I am sorry I haven’t updated sooner, but I am still feeling very, very rotten.

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Almost immediately after I got home from the hospital with the pressure bandage. Man that thing was tight! Image

The next morning when we took the pressure bandage off we found 13 shiny staples and crevice where a mastoid bone once was!

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Nimbus and mom taking a snooze!

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Day 6 – the day I got home from my unexpected 3 day hospital stay – update to come! Incision is looking good!

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Day 10 – staples out! Looking interesting!

As I mentioned before as soon as I am up to it, I will do a whole post on everything that happened after surgery and the hospital stay and everything! Some hospital photos soon to come!

Dad’s Update 2

7/18/2012 – Amanda update

We just returned from a visit back to Amanda’s surgeon, Dr. Paparella. The news was mixed.

The surgical site and the interior of her ear look “perfect”. She had her staples removed and upon return home she was able to manage a bath and had her hair washed for the first time in over a week. That alone helped bring up her spirits.

The problem continues to be her light headedness and instability when she moves her head. Most of the time she is comfortable only when sitting in her recliner with her head tipped slightly forward. Any movement of her head causes blurred vision and a sensation that she is about to faint. This is a different sensation than the profound vertigo she experienced prior to the surgery. She must be attended to at all times and cannot be left alone to walk into the bathroom. We can see slight improvements in her eye control each day and when she does walk, we are back to holding her hand and arm rather than having to grasp her tightly around her waist to avoid her slipping sideways and stumbling. She still shakes a little bit when standing, which again is far better than the shakes she had last week. We were pleased when she asked to try to work on her computer and answer text messages on her phone. These were common acts she could not perform since the surgery.

The doctor told her he is surprised that she is not recovering more quickly since she recovered so well from her first procedure. He did say that this prolonged recovery was not typical but was not unprecedented either. Because of the [extensive] work done, he feels she just needs more time to heal and let her brain acclimate to the revised signals coming from her inner ear. Kathie and I surmise she may also be slower to regain balance this time because we don’t know how well the other ear is helping her brain cope with balance signals. Seven years ago, she had a relatively healthy ear helping her brain. Maybe not so for this ear.

Amanda is very frustrated about her condition. She was not at all pleased when Dr. Paparella suggested it may take another three weeks to a month before she is comfortable with her balance. His story sounded very similar to the vestibular specialist at River Falls Hospital; she is simply needing the time for her brain to recognize the new stimulus from her left inner ear. He promoted continued physical therapy and seems very confident in substantial improvement in her symptoms.

It is tough for us to watch her slow recovery. We know the future will be much brighter, but we all wish this was a dine thing NOW!

Thanks for your continued support and prayers.

Dad’s update 1

7-14-2012.            Hi everyone!

I thought I would quick update everyone at once about Amanda rather than try to call you all like in the old days.

As you all know seven years ago Amanda had the procedure to treat her Meniere’  Disease on her right ear. The surgery went very well, recovery was quick and she had few symptoms for all these years.

She began to sense minor issues over the past year, but around Memorial Day, she was hit hard with extreme debilitating vertigo. Since most of you have read her blog I’ll dispense with more details about the past month.

Monday (one week ago, 7/9) she had the same procedure on her left ear. The surgery went well again. Dr. Paparella is a pioneer in this surgery (and is right now in Brazil teaching a team of surgeons his methods) and told us after the surgery that he was able to “see and correct the obvious physiological signs of the disease”. He suggested she should have a substantial improvement in her symptoms.

The first three days were unremarkable. She was still cautious, but was moving around quite well and we were all kind of celebrating.

Last Thursday, she became abruptly weak and was unable to stand without help. She felt as though she would fall over if she stood up, which did indeed nearly happen. I was at home when Kathie called to tell me they were heading into the emergency room at River Falls. Matt had to carry her down the stairs of their apartment and into the car for the trip there. By the time I got there around midnight, she was pale and weak and the hospital had performed a bunch of tests to find out what was happening. They found out she had an electrolyte imbalance and particularly low on Potassium. They started an IV and began loading her up with things to correct those problems. By Saturday she was better and we were hoping she could go home, but that didn’t work because she was still unable to walk unattended due to the sense of imbalance when she tried to stand.

Sunday afternoon she was finally able to go home, but with constant supervision.

A Vestibular specialist has been involved all weekend with her care. The chemical imbalances have all been resolved but she continues to experience the light headed, weak feelings. The specialist told us the brain uses three inputs to control your balance; your inner ear (most critical), your eyes and the position of your spine. She essentially is missing the ear component right now. She must basically train her brain to recognize the new information it is receiving from her ears. It almost sounds like she is like a toddler learning to walk. They have also said she has to receive minimal stimulation so that she doesn’t constantly move her eyes to watch the action which then leads to disorientation.

We are seeing Dr. Paparella again on Wednesday and will hopefully confirm all of this. I am sure you all know how agonizing it is when your kid is not doing well, especially when we all thought this would be a cake walk like the last surgery.