Sunday, April 09, 2006

Christopher, my 8-year-old nephew and namesake, is in the hospital right now.

He was playing on a tire swing earlier this afternoon, and the rope snapped and he hit his head on the driveway. Turns out he's got an epidural hematoma, which means he's got blood accumulating in the space between the skull and the menbrane that surrounds the brain. Or something like that. I'm not a goddamn brain surgeon, you understand.

He was pretty lucid when they took him to the hospital. He had some short term memory loss, but he was conscious and he recognized his mom and dad (Sunny and Nick). The side of his head was swollen up pretty bad, so they took him to the emergency room at Presbyterian.

Once he got to Presby, he stated complaining about the pain, so they gave him morphine and something else that they don't ordinarily give kids. They looked him over there, and decided to transport him to Children's Medical Center (across town) by ambulance for observation.

The doctor at Presby had said it looked pretty serious. The EMTs who rode in the ambulance with Christopher and Sunny said it didn't look like a big deal, and he'd probably be released that day. After all, he hadn't even thrown up (which is a major symptom of epidural hematomas).

So once they arrived at Children's Medical, they did a CT scan and realized it really was an epidural hematoma. By the time I got to the Emergency Room, poor Christopher was in a bad state. He was screaming about the pain, saying he couldn't stand it. He was fighting the doctors and nurses, and he kept trying to pull off his monitors and pull out his IV. And he was starting to vomit. A lot.

He finally settled down and fell asleep almost immediately. Even when the nurses came in to draw blood or check his pupils, he didn't wake up. He just kept snoring away. (Christopher snores like a goddamn old person. It's the funniest thing to hear it coming from that tiny little guy.)

The neurosurgeon showed up, and for the first time started talking about surgery. He said he wanted to observe Christopher a little bit longer, because he wasn't sure if the grogginess and slow reactions were from the head injury or the drugs he'd been given at Presbyterian.

(From what I can gather, they fucked up at Presbyterian. There are medications much more approriate for kids Christopher's age, and the ones they prescribed actually made his diagnosis a bit harder.)

At first, the neurosurgeon was pretty optimistic. He said he hadn't seen anything really alarming on the first CT scan, so he was thinking they'd just move Christopher out of ICU and into a regular room so they could observe him overnight. Then, tomorrow, they'd decide whether or not to operate.

My mom was at Sunny and Nick's house, watching the twins. Just as Sunny was calling her with the good news, the neurosurgeon came back in and said he was still concerned by Christopher's lack of response and couldn't really determine if it was from the drugs or the head injury. So they were going to keep him in the ICU overnight after all.

They took Christopher down to get another CT scan, and the poor guy didn't even wake up when they ran him through that huge machine. They moved him back down to ICU, and I left to take a turn watching the twins so my mom could go up to the hospital.

By the time I got to their house, they'd already called to let my mom know that the blood clot was twice as big in the second CT scan as the first, and they were going to operate tonight. My mom grabbed some clothes and things for Sunny and Nick, and took off for the hospital.

So now it's about 10:00 on Sunday night. I'm at my Sunny and Nick's house, manning the phone and babysitting. The twins are asleep in the other room. Adult Swim is playing on Cartoon Network in the living room, and I'm in here blogging because I'm going out of my fucking mind just sitting around doing nothing.

Nick just called. They took Christopher in for surgery about 10 minutes ago.

It's supposed to be a slam dunk. The neurosurgeon explained it to us while I was there. Said they'll make an incision, cut out a small circle of his skull, remove the clot and drain the blood to relieve the pressure, then plug the piece of skull back in place and sew him up. The surgeon made it sound like he'd be up and around the next day.

Christ, I hope he's right.


Tanginika-Simone said...


I just found your blog, and read about your nephew. I am praying that he is OK. This is such an unfortunate accident, and I deeply hope the little boy comes out of surgery OK and that this will be a thing of the past soon.


Anonymous said...

Christopher, like his namesake, has both impressive inner resources and a very thick skull. I am absolutely certain he will be fine. He's too wonderful a boy not to.

Farrago said...

I understand your feeling of going bananas waiting for word. It was that way with my mother...cerebral hemorrhage, unstable b.p., coma...but she didn't make it. 1993.

Your little guy will come through it okay, and he'll have some really cool scars and a really cool story to explain them!

Tanginika-Simone said...

How is your nephew? Hope everything turned out OK. Blessings.