Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Saving throw = 00

Greetings from a guest blogger (Janet, da wife)!

Sometimes we forget just how fragile life really is.  On Saturday night, Chirine made the biggest saving throw of his life, and rolled a double-aught -- literally for his life.  Evidently Lord Vimuhla still needs Chirine on this plane of existance, because Chirine had a stroke which required emergency brain surgery, and he survived with little, if any permanent damage.  He has a bit of vertigo, which triggers his motion sickness, and sore muscles from the surgery, but given what happened, that's minor.

Saturday, after the Golden Gophers football game, I picked him up (he worked 11am to 7pm) and we drove home.  He left me at home (because I'd spent the time while he was at work at Mrs. Barker's, photographing Phil's Egyptology books so I can put them up for sale for her) and drove up to the new Tekumel Foundation office to install doornobs and locks on the new door for the collections room.  Before he left home, around 7:45 p.m. he complained that he had a headache starting.

At 9:14, I received a phone call saying that his headache had gotten much, much worse, and that everytime he moved he threw up.  Since he had the van, I called Thiolleb and her Nlyss who came to my rescue and brought me to Chirine.  When we arrived, Chirine was lying on the floor, next to a bucket.  We stowed the tools he'd been working with and, when he told us he couldn't walk, called an ambulance.

Co-workers of Joe, our firefighter/paramedic roommate, came to our rescue and transported him to the U of MN Medical center - Fairview (UMMC), which was the closest hospital.

He arrived at the UMMC, and was given meds for the pain and nausea.  His blood pressure was extremely high 200+ over 100+.  All of the usual neurological tests were normal - i.e. pupils equal and reactive, no numbness, no tingling, no one-sided weakness, etc.  It took them a while to get a CT-Scan, as another patient had just gone, but once they did they discovered a large blood clot at the back of his brain.  He was in surgery an hour and twenty minutes after the CT Scan, having also undergone a brain angiogram to check for malformed blood vessels. Thiolleb stayed with me while Jeff was in the ER, and Joe arrived right before the CT Scan -- he'd  been working but they let him take time off.  He was kind enough to drive Thiolleb home, then came back and stayed the rest of the night.

The surgery took four hours.  They had to take a piece of skull out, open up the membranes covering the brain, and take out the clot while cauterizing any blood vessel that was still bleeding.  At 7 the next morning he was in the surgical ICU where he was checked every hour for neurological symptoms.  Joe and I left about 8 a.m.

They think the cause was high blood pressure; given his levels of stress lately, it's hardly surprising.

Monday night they transferred him from the ICU to a regular hospital ward.  He is very tired, but he knows the day and knows what happened to him.  If everything goes well, he'll be going home soon (Wednesday or Thursday, we hope).

I'm sure he'll be giving a full account of his adventures when he gets home.

I'm just glad he made his saving throw.