Throughout my hospital stay I struggled with nausea, vomiting, and severe headaches. If I had anything in my stomach at all, I couldn’t keep it down. This caused me to have to have a Jtube (feeding bypassed my stomach by going straight into my small intestine) so that I could tolerate nutrition. After many failed tests, they still couldn’t figure out where my nausea was coming from. This was a huge issue mostly because I couldn’t lean forward (because of the halo) and I also couldn’t swallow. So, if I vomited, I would choke and risk aspiration, pneumonia, or worse.
The day before they removed my halo, they did some imaging to be sure that my skull fusion was stable enough to remove the halo. In that imaging, they thought they saw hydrocephalus (fluid on my brain) but couldn’t be sure because the halo was blocking the full view. After the halo was removed we went to an MRI for a better picture of my brain. Unfortunately, the MRI confirmed their suspicion— I had developed hydrocephalus.
The nausea and headaches suddenly made sense! I had been having symptoms of this for a couple of months but since it was not there at the initial trauma, it was not something they suspected. So, on October 3rd, the day after I got my halo off, I had a shunt placed. The shunt is a piece of tubing that is inserted into the brain. It relieves pressure on the brain by draining the extra fluid to a different area of the body where it can be absorbed more quickly. The neurosurgeons said that this was why I had been so sick and that I would feel much better after this surgery. I was glad to know that there was a reason I had been so sick because that meant it was able to be fixed.
The night after my surgery, I woke up in extreme pain much like the pain I experienced after my accident. Over the night, I lost all the movement I had gained over the last three months. I remember hoping it was just because of the pain and praying that it would go away and that I would still be able to move when the pain was gone. I didn’t do much for three weeks because of the pain, and over this time, I realized it wasn’t the reason I wasn’t moving, something had happened in my brain that caused these changes. The neurosurgeons explained that a sudden shift of fluid can cause pressure against nerves and can cause shock that results in no movement or nerve response. I can’t help but wonder how much more movement I would have in my arms and hands if I didn’t have to have the shunt, since I still haven’t regained the movement in my fingers. Although, I do realize that the shunt was a necessity, because without it, hydrocephalus can cause a number of problems if left untreated. As for the headaches and nausea, the shunt did solve these problems.
There are many examples in the Bible that show us how God worked things out for His people after they experienced something bad. The same thing happens in everybody’s life. Bad times help us learn to trust God and trials are a test of our faith. Things will get better, God promises victory to His people!