Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tests and More Miracles

The appointment at the University of Utah turned into a bigger ordeal than anticipated. Tolan and Jodi went in for the appointment and Dr. Couldwell, the specialist, started by saying he wasn't even sure what to call "it", meaning he wasn't convinced it was even a tumor. Not wanting to rule anything out incorrectly, he decided on the spot to admit Jodi to the U Hospital for tests. Within minutes, she was moved to the building next door, into the Neuro Acute Unit to begin testing.

Tolan went home to be with the family and Jodi started a plethora of tests at the hospital. These were not at all pleasant and she says they seemed to be designed for exactly what she couldn't handle at the time. When she came out of one tough go round, Tolan and the kids were waiting in the room to see Mom. It was emotional for her and for everyone. Lots of loves and hugs went around the room. The family stayed for a while, then it was back for more testing for Jodi.

After several blood draws and pin pokes, it was about 9pm and she thought she would get to eat and go to bed. But, to no avail. A doctor came in and wanted to do a spinal tap (lumbar puncture) right then and there. So, she curled into a little ball and assumed the position. Not a fun procedure, followed by a Horrible "recovery". A spinal headache ensued, which is described as the worst migraine you can imagine. It was supposed to last for a few hours, but in Jodi's case, it lasted for 5 days. Apparently, the hole didn't seal after the puncture, so fluid continued to leak inside her body for days. Any movement at all (outside of a lay-down flat, do not move at all) position caused pain so severe she was completely debilitated. She remained like that throughout the rest of the hospital stay (which no one notified her was unusual!!!). Nurses brought pain killers, but nothing was done or said to indicate that something was wrong or anything could be done.

When she was released from the hospital, she was completely incapicated. Tolan was quite concerned since when he left Jodi at the hospital she was at least functioning, and when he picked her up, she couldn't even lift her head.

Results from the weekend of tests are still coming in. Numerous opinions and erroneous diagnoses were given by a variety of well-meaning residents who were anxious to share their knowledge. This was another rollercoaster in itself. But, in the end, Dr. Couldwell assured Jodi that even though he didn't know what was wrong with her, he would keep working on it until they figure it out...she is in his charge and is to listen to no one else (for the time being). (At least no more residents.)

After being home in bad shape for a few days, the family was getting very worried if this was Jodi's "new" normal state, in bed, flat out, unable to move. It was a very scary situation.

In walks another angel and miracle. Jodi's former neighbor, Stacey, stopped by to check on her and see how things were going. Stacey is a nurse and upon hearing about Jodi's new symptoms knew immediately that a spinal leak was creating the new headaches. The answer, she said, was a blood patch, a simple surgical procedure to seal the puncture wound from the original spinal tap. In walks another angel. While Stacey was still at the house, another nurse friend, Kathyrn, who works are the hospital concurred with the "diagnosis" and immediately began phoning the appropriate doctors to make things happen. It was too late at night for anything that evening, but the angels and miracles were already in motion...

Wednesday Jodi and her mom went to the hospital for another series of grueling tests. They were particularly difficult because of her headaches. They "drowned" her head and filled her head with water, giving her vertigo, then tested her (4 times, 2 times in each ear) to see if she could function in this vertigo state. It was an awful experience that made her feel even worse.

After the tests, she was supposed to find the doctor to talk to about getting a blood patch. More angels and miracles... Jodi could not even sit up at this time. They found her a bed and she waited to see the doctor. The doctor had no record from the U about the spinal tap (it wasn't even entered into their systems yet), had no authorizing physician to perform a surgery, and there was no record she was even there, as a patient. Phone calls were made, papers were signed, and angels made everything happen.

Jodi was in a complete "stupor" unable to do anything, but everyone around her took care of it all. Her mom signed papers, doctors made calls, technicians started IVs and a nurse and doctor pulled her into an open OR and did surgery. Just like that. No being on a list, no all just happened. One doctor and one nurse stayed in the room. She said the nurse turned to the doctor and said, "Doctor, we are here to perform a blood patch on Jodi Brown. Do you concrur?" "Yes," said the doctor. "I guess we better write this down somewhere. Get me a piece of paper to sign." Just like that, it happened. Within 25-30 minutes, the surgery was complete and Jodi was resting quietly in the OR. The doctor didn't even know where to put her, so he and the nurse arranged her a place in the OR, covered her with warm blankets and stayed by her side on and off for 2 hours as she recovered in peace.

These men were true angels. They did what needed to be done without question or hesitation. By the time it was over, Jodi was able to get off the bed for the first time and hug the doctor and the nurse.

Angels are working all around the family. Neighbors and friends have taken care of everything. Kathryn stayed at the house with the kids, calling doctors at the hospital. Wendy picked up kids from school and Andee brought in dinner. Cathy brought groceries, Cami watched kids, Cami and Brittany came by and everyone has pitched in to help. The young women Jodi works with at church came by the house and put dozens of balloons with get-well wishes in the yard. When Tolan escorted Jodi out front to see, the girls flew out of the cars and into her arms for loving embraces. They were heaven sent...angels all!

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