Brain Bleed: Surviving the First Night

This will be a roller coaster ride

After Todd survived the first night, a sense of relief passes over you. As his wife, I knew this wasn’t over, but knowing he fought through that first night gave me a sense of peace.

One day 2 I was exhausted due to no sleep. I wasn’t anywhere near ready to leave Todd to go to a hotel and wouldn’t go beyond the hospital cafeteria to eat. Thankfully they had chicken noodle soup daily…that’s about all I could get down.

I did get to speak to both the neurologist and neurosurgeon this day and both were pleased with how Todd is doing so far. They planned to do an angiogram sometime this morning to check and make sure there were no aneurysms before they discuss the next steps.  I remember watching the sun rise from the waiting area.  Todd had been heavily sedated all night, but I think he knows we were there.  They kept the Ventilator in place and said they would extubate after he has an MRI.  After the MRI, they took Todd for the Angiogram.  He has responded when I talked to him and calmed when I rubbed his shoulders. 

The Angiogram looked good, but it was hard for them to see some areas because of blood and swelling. They were able to do their MRI and Todd has now been extubated but had to be put on BiPap until he started exhaling better. All of his numbers were where they expected them to be and a plan to do another CT Scan tomorrow was the next step. If the CT Scan continued to look good, they would take steps to being the process of removing the drain from his brain.

He gets constant neuro exams to check his reflexes and response. So far so good. He was sedated the first night and was irritated that day when he woke up. Knowing he had to be restrained didn’t make Todd very happy. The straps were necessary, though, because they couldn’t take a chance that he would mess with the drain at all. So, the restraints were life saving right now. They did give Todd pain mediation but wouldn’t sedate him as they needed to watch for brain swelling. That was tested by regular neuro exams…thumbs up, look to the right and left, wiggle your toes, etc.

I remember the doctors telling me that if the brain bleed hadn’t been stopped before his flight from Altoona, he would not have made it to Pittsburgh. The gratitude I felt for everyone in Altoona and the speed to which they reacted was overwhelming. I knew Todd was in the best place and he only made it safely because of the ER staff in Altoona and the flight crew.

At this point, I had been awake for more than 48 hours. Exhaustion was settling in. We made plans to get a hotel room so we could all get a shower and some sleep. After falling asleep in a recliner in the family area, I eventually did go to the hotel. I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. I got a much needed shower, took a nerve pill and, after checking with Todd’s nurse and learning they were giving Todd meds to help him sleep as well, I gave in and went to sleep.

Before I left the hospital, I had to say goodnight to Todd. He was able to talk with the BiPap on and told me he loved me. He told me that going to the hotel to sleep was a good idea and he knew I was only a five minute walk away if he needed me.

My love for him is beyond measure. This roller coaster ride is one we will take together…one day at a time. There is nothing we can’t handle together.

Now, I just hope we can both get a good night’s sleep.