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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hazel Gets Her Wings!

Actually, Hazel has always had wings.  
She's been an angel since day one. 

What I am referring to are her wings to get out of the hospital. She has been so terribly sick since November 5th and in order to go home she had to have her shunt replaced.That required so many things to happen first.  First they had to diagnose what was wrong.

Looking back on it now this is my take on what happened. In mid-August Hazel had a major surgery involving her intestines and a complete bladder reconstruction.  Her recovery was smooth and quick. Then, out of the blue it seemed, she got very sick, very quickly a few weeks ago.  She became very pale and lethargic and non-communicative within a few hours. They couldn't figure out what was wrong.

After several days the doctors thought that possibly there was a micro leak in her bladder that deposited bacteria into her abdomen. That bacteria began to grow causing an infection that produced some seriously bad results. That in itself would have been a grave illness, but it was also compromised and became deadly because of the shunt that drains her cerebral fluid from her head into her abdomen.

When a person has hydrocephalus they need a shunt to carry that excess fluid away from their head to be absorbed by their body. We all have this drainage but in a hydrocephalic person the opening is nearly closed at the base of their skull so the fluids do not pass through and collect in the cranium causing terrible pressure. 

The CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) has been draining from her shunt (which is a tube inserted into the ventricle in her brain that has the drained right into her abdomen since she was a newborn when her original shunt was placed.)  So that created a conduit (or an escalator, in a sense), from her abdomen right into that fluid.  So as that bacteria spread around her body she became gravely ill and systemically infected. That was when she was diagnosed with septic shock and not waking up.   Peritonitis in the abdominal cavity is a bacterial infection that can be fatal.

Fortunately there is a very excellent infectious disease team at Primary Children's Hospital.  They were able to identify the bacteria and the suitable antibiotic for treatment.  It was widespread so it took time to get it under control. After the first few days in the PICU, She was moved to the Neuro Trauma Center; a more specialized ICU for neurology patients.  There she acquired another set of physicians to watch over and care for her and report to us what they were finding with all her numbers and tests.  They have been fabulous.   They added one more team, the neurology team that would be in charge of replacing her shunt.  All of these people have been super amazing.  They're all so helpful, so kind, so brilliant.  Every nurse, every technician, pharmacists, even housekeeping has been wonderful.  I cannot say enough for the surgeons, the radiology department, the phlebotomists. Without exception they are the creme de a creme.

In recovery after the last surgery!
The shunt replacement
3rd surgery during this stay.

The shunt replacement happened yesterday finally. When everything was perfect and they felt the bacteria was under control, the surgery was a go.  This time they decided to do what they call an AV shunt.  The tube goes from the brain to her left upper chamber or atrium of her heart. The two atrium chambers of the heart draw fluids into the heart and the ventricles of the heart push the blood and fluids out. 

This is a better solution for Hazel as if there are any other times when there is seepage from any of her surgeries the infection will not will not land up in the CSF.  So the risk of ever getting spinal meningitis again is reduced considerably. 

So as I said this is just my take. But primarily this is what I saw happening over the past 17 days.  There is a very good possibility that Hazel will put on those pink wings and fly right out of here in the next day or two.

Just got the word!
Tomorrow she will come home!
True Love and Happiness!


  1. Replies
    1. Hallelujah! Your sweet angel is going home! I'm so overjoyed. I have been praying for Hazel and will continue to do so!
      Your friend, Susan

  2. Hi Bonnie,
    So happy to hear this good news. Know all of you must be so
    elated. Thanks for sending us the update hon, we will keep
    praying until she is fully up to par......
    Hope you guys have a good time with your other daughter and
    her family for Christmas...........
    Love and Blessings, Nellie

  3. Thank to both of you for being such sweet friends. Life is crazy and it is nice to have friends that care! Love you both with all my heart! Bonnie