Yesterday Sue and I had a telephone follow-up with the vascular doctor to be brought up-to-date on the Celect IVC filter (an implanted umbrella-looking device at the junction of the vena cava; it’s sole purpose it to catch any blood clots that break loose from reaching the heart). The news is not good. We are stuck between a hard place and an equally hard place.
Based on the last MRI of Ryan’s abdomen, four of the filter’s prongs have puncture the vena cava. This will make it’s removal difficult and dangerous. Fortunately, these didn’t cause internal bleeding (yet), but is dangerously near the a bile duct. It’s concerning, to say the least. The doctor went on to tell us that Ryan’s vein above the filter looks abnormally small.
Here’s the catch, and it’s a doozy… the doctor indicated there are serious risks in leaving in place if it punctures the bile duct (causing Ryan to become septic) and serious risks in removing (tearing the vein). The recommendation is to have an interventional radiologist and another vascular doctor weigh-in. We decided to have this, and any surgeries, performed at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and already began the process of setting it up. Oh, and just for good measure, the filter might be too far embedded to even consider removal as an option. This means Ryan will live each day with the risk of dying a painful death.
Well, there you have it. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
It will come down to this decision; when do we take the risk? My first thought is we try to get this filter out (if possible) and take the risk while Ryan is already on the operating table. This way he has all the hospital’s resources available if something goes terribly wrong. The alternative is to wait and hope nothing happens. But if something does happen we’ll need to act quickly.
It makes a me wonder, what are other parents deciding upon today? Probably the good things. Where to vacation? What to have for dinner?
Even parents of criminals, I guess, might wonder simple things, like if it’s meatloaf and carrots night at the jail. Maybe even debate what the on television in the convict’s common area.
I really don’t know, but I (personally) suspect it’s not how to keep their child alive for the one-in-a-gazillion chance of recovery from having their brains beaten in.