I dont quite know how to separate my public, business and private life. I treat all of the people I know as friends. I got that from my mom. She is the most privately public person I know.
On Tuesday, she had a pounding headache at 812 pm and was taken to the ER at a hospital near home. My mom does have a history (recent) of both high blood pressure and diabetes. This, though seemed serious.
Since I got many calls (apologies, I ignored them all) and text messages asking for more information, I thought I’d outline what happened, whats the status and what’s possibly next.
My mom had and aneurysm on one of the vessels carrying blood to the brain. Medical experts mention that many people do have the same, and it does not cause immense damage to most people. The aneurysm was 2.7 mm in size and it spewed blood all over the brain. Since it was the main vessel that was carrying blood to the brain, the spread of the blood was extensive. Combined with the fact that she had very high blood pressure at that time (nearly two times the normal) and that she was taking blood thinners, the spread of the blood was fast and vast.
She went into a coma almost immediately and did not respond. A CT scan done at a little before midnight revealed the extent of the damage and the doctor’s at that time gave her a 10% chance of surviving. What they did say was that the next 48 hours were crucial.
She was transferred to an neuro-ICU later in that night. The blood pressure was an exceedingly high 180/120 and things were not looking very good.
Early Thursday, things did not get much better. The doctors mentioned that surgery to block the aneurysm was out of the question since she was not responding to sensory moves. In the scale of responses she was an M1 or M2 (very low on the scale of response to external stimuli except involuntary). In clinical terms she was a 5 (most critical). She remained in coma, responding to nothing at all.
After a routine check in the afternoon it became clear that unless her condition improved – which would be calibrated by normal vitals (blood pressure in safe range, pulse normal and breathing normal) the neurosurgeon would not risk any attempt to either a) do surgery to block the aneurysm or b) do any surgery to remove the blood from the brain. The former was extremely risky and had very little chance of doing any good, and the latter was going to cause more pressure in the brain since the blood in the brain was extensive.
The doctor equated the brain to a pressure cooker, which if was let to relieve pressure from one side, would have the opposite side compensate by putting more pressure to create a “balance”.
That was possibly the lowest point – 2 pm on Thursday. The vitals were not stable, the prognosis was bleak and the outlook desolate. She remained in a state of coma.
A slight positive turn of events occurred when my ever optimistic sister spoke to her at the ICU and saw a few responses – attempt to pick her hand up, move her body. These were largely calibrated as “involuntary by the doctor”. The vitals stabilized during this point as well.
If you know my mother, you would know that the number of lives she positively touched with her generosity and selflessness was amazing. Prayers from all over were pouring in. Turns out, it worked ever so slightly. She was still coma, the situation was still extremely critical, but she stabilized.
Late Thursday night, things got even more “normal” – enough to have the critical nature of the situation to remain at 5, but the sensory perception moved up ever so slightly to nearly M3.
Early Friday things improve a little more (she was and is still in coma) but she was responding to our voice and attempting to hear / understand and respond.
The doctors now deemed the situation sufficient enough to warrant a surgery to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing again. This does not necessarily improve the condition but prevents another rupture from happening.
There were 3 possible options – Surgical clipping, Coiling or using a stent. These options are largely determined by a combination of the patient’s state, the size and location of the aneurysm and cost of the operation.
Surgical clipping, puts a metal (high end metal) to clip the aneurysm at the base preventing further rupture. This is an option only if the patient was normal – which my mom was not and hence, ruled out.
Using a coil was deemed the best option to prevent any further bleeding, which if it occurred would cause a further and irreparable damage to the brain.
The surgery, however, would not necessarily make the chances of her recovery better. It was to prevent a further deterioration of the aneurysm which could rupture again. Since my mom was deemed relatively young at <70 years of age, there was a good chance of her responding well to the coil. Given that all other functions were “normal” we remain positive, but we realize the chances are rather slim.
The key part of this equation still remains her own ability to fight through this trauma and get herself back on a track for the rest of the medicine to work. She draws positive energy I am sure from all the prayers and positive thoughts from you all.
Update on Friday at 5 pm – the surgery (2 coils were inserted) was completed successfully and she remains stable.