Monday, September 15, 2008

A visit to the Neurosurgeon

Today we took Marley to Dr. Gupta, a neurosurgeon at UCSF. After waiting for 30 minutes I marched into the room where they were viewing her MRI, and clearly stated that we needed to be seen before Marley lost her mind (getting over tired). I probably wouldn't be so pushy if it wasn't for the fact that I am a nurse and one of my many duties is to kick doctors into moving it along when they're dragging their feet.

Marley was evaluated for surgery on her tethered spinal cord. Basically her cord is longer than average and is tethered down at the base of her spine. Normal would be if it was free floating. The risk of not having the surgery done is that she may have long term mobility issues. Surgery in the next few months will be to release her cord. It's a pretty basic procedure. The cord will be cut below the main spinal cord so there is no risk of paralysis. Dr. Gupta even mentioned that they don't even go anywhere near the cord. The main risks are anesthesia, infection, etc- the main ones that pertain to all surgeries using general anesthesia. After the surgery, Marley will remain in the hospital for 3 days and then have a dressing over the incision while it heals. She will receive vicodin and tylenol for pain management.

Before we can schedule the surgery, Marley must have her urinary continence evaluated by a urologist. I guess babies with tethered cords can have incontinence issues that can affect toilet training. Dr. Gupta wants to make sure that is not an issue before performing the surgery, though correcting the cord will treat the incontinence.

A urologist should contact us in the next week to set up an appointment. She'll have to be catheterized for the test which hopefully will be easy.

Now that Marley is 6 months I feel like we can finally move forward with some of her treatment. The first 6 months was such a waiting game and I time of just evaluating the extent of her birth defects. I'm beginning to not feel so helpless in helping her become a fully actualized little human being.

It's a good day.

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