Last week Sue meet with a surgeon at Children’s Hospital (Washington, D.C.). It was a pre-operative meeting, where she gave Ryan’s medical history and then acquired clearance for surgery to have the internally implanted baclofen pump removed. All went as expected and Ryan is in line to have it removed.
We are looking at early October for the surgery. I’ll let you know the exact date once we have someone to house-sit.
This is just over five months since Ryan’s weaning from the baclofen drug. This is a powerful skeletal muscle relaxer and when pumped directly into the spinal column doesn’t need to cross the blood-brain barrier; increasing its potency exponentially. Just one year ago I never thought this day was possible. It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I started thinking it might just happen. In late April, once entirely removed from the drug, I decided to wait three to six months before having the pump removed… just in case. During this span the pump was filled with saline solution and run at the minimum rate just so it wouldn’t seize.
With this out it not only alleviates any pain from having the device in his abdomen, it also makes therapy less worrisome when Ryan is on his stomach. Hey, having that huge lump gone is nice too!
The downside is Ryan needs admitted for a minimum of twenty-four hours after the surgery; strictly for monitoring. The risks are comparable to any other surgery, with a few more specific to this operation. Although rare, it is possible to have cranial and/or spinal fluid issues, like leakage or an air bubble. These complications are similar to the risks of an epidural. The tell-tale sign of this is extreme headache (where we’ll need to watch his heart rate for signs of discomfort) and profuse vomiting. With that said, my greatest concern is Ryan’s exposure to highly resistant bacteria found in every hospital (MRSA and C-Diff, to name a couple).
My plan is to have the house on lockdown at least ten days before the surgery and probably two weeks following. Think of it as “reverse quarantine”. I won’t even bring the mail or a delivery into the house without first hitting it with the ultraviolet lamp to kill any viruses and bacteria. It’s worth the effort, even if it might be a bit extreme.