I am trying to decide if the outcome today was good or bad, because the news is both good and bad, in a way. So I shall try to evaluate the results in a Ben Franklin way.
Are you familiar with a Ben Franklin decision? Basically, from what I was briefly taught, if you have a choice or decision to make, you fold a piece of paper in half vertically then you put the positive or pro points on one side of a piece of paper, and the negative or cons on the other. Ben Franklin used this method and described it in a letter to his friend, Joseph Priestley, in this manner:
To Joseph Priestley
London, September 19, 1772
In the Affair of so much Importance to you, wherein you ask my Advice, I cannot for want of sufficient Premises, advise you what to determine, but if you please I will tell you how.
When these difficult Cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because while we have them under Consideration all the Reasons pro and con are not present to the Mind at the same time; but sometimes one Set present themselves, and at other times another, the first being out of Sight. Hence the various Purposes or Inclinations that alternately prevail, and the Uncertainty that perplexes us.
To get over this, my Way is, to divide half a Sheet of Paper by a Line into two Columns, writing over the one Pro, and over the other Con. Then during three or four Days Consideration I put down under the different Heads short Hints of the different Motives that at different Times occur to me for or against the Measure. When I have thus got them all together in one View, I endeavour to estimate their respective Weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out: If I find a Reason pro equal to some two Reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two Reasons con equal to some three Reasons pro, I strike out the five; and thus proceeding I find at length where the Ballance lies; and if after a Day or two of farther Consideration nothing new that is of Importance occurs on either side, I come to a Determination accordingly.
Well, I had to look up who-the-heck this Joseph Priestley guy was so that I could fully educate both you and myself and here’s what I learned. Preacher and chemist Joseph Priestley is generally credited with discovering oxygen (he called it “dephlogisticated air”), and more conclusively discovered carbon dioxide. He proved that plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, and invented soda pop by dissolving carbon dioxide into water to make fizzy carbonated water. This guy was a real gas as well as a preacher! I wonder if his sermons were full of a lot of hot air??
Now with ‘pros’ in regular font and ‘cons’ in bold font – here’s how I can describe my day:
We made it to the hospital without traffic or bad weather issues.
It was way too cold this morning.
We were registered and ready by 7:30am as we were told to be.
We didn’t even get called back to get ready for surgery until 10:30.
The hospital gowns at Children’s fit Amanda much better than the scratchy oversized ones at Wyandotte.
Amanda was a crazy nervous monkey who sweated like a nervous pig and was so upset she was dry-heaving.
Every doctor and nurse was very kind and patient with Amanda.
Amanda did not have any veins left since her 3 week stay at Wyandotte Hospital.
Amanda agreed to go back to the OR without us and probably talked the ears off the anesthesia doctor who had to poke several times to find a vein for an I.V.
…but he FOUND a vein for an I.V.
They shaved a little hair off her head ‘just in case’ they had to cut there so she has a bald spot.
The top half of her shunt works and drains just fine! They left that part alone. (meaning they didn’t need to prep and shave her head)
The bottom half of her shunt drained just fine. However…
They wanted to remove and replace the bottom half because it was not long enough and it was not in the correct position but … it was STUCK! The doctor pulled and tugged a bit on the lower half and it was supposed to slip out. It didn’t. Pulling too hard could have ripped a blood vessel. That’s not good.
The shunt drains just fine.
They sewed her up and kept all the parts the same – just a small incision on her chest wall.
Only a little anesthetic was used so she woke right up afterwards.
Her shunt works fine BUT they could not change anything which means we didn’t FIX anything.
If we want to try to replace the lower tubing, we can try again but we have to prepare for a six-hour surgery to do it and it will involve cardiac surgeons.
So what do you think? If you had to decide on whether today was good or bad? Well, there are more pros above then cons – but I think they all carry different weight.
Bottom line is that the surgery was quick, easy, and relatively non-invasive. We are happy to be home and Amanda feels good. And we know that her shunt drains well. But we didn’t change anything. Ted and I were hoping to find and fix something that was ‘broke’ so we could see other repairs and improvements (lower heart rate, less apnea, steadier eyes).
So … we’re going to let Amanda recover and enjoy life in her apartment. We will go back in 6 weeks to consult the Neurosurgeon again.
Oh, Ben, what would you do now?