Karl (louderback) wrote,

Health problems for the whole family

         Life is less than wonderful these days. Finances are in the toilet and Sis & I are both having health problems. I keep having chest pains. I don't think they are heart issues, as taking a nitro pill does nothing. I believe that I may have cracked a rib when I fell forward in my last seizure, or while pounding my chest on the ground. I don't think I'll go through all the x-rays and binding of ribs unless I get some indication of a problem. I will see the cardiologist though.

         Sis is going to need brain surgery. Her condition is called Arnold-chiari syndrome. In the picture the wedge-shaped portions highlighted by a lighter circle are the tonsillar lobes of the brain. They are closely related to the cerebellum. When these lobes descend toward the brain stem and spinal column, they cause pressure that affects balance and coordination. They also cause a variety of pains.

         As regards treatment, once symptomatic onset occurs, a common treatment is decompression surgery, in which a neurosurgeon usually removes the lamina of the first and sometimes the second or even third cervical vertebrae and part of the occipital bone of the skull to relieve pressure. The flow of spinal fluid may be accompanied by a shunt. Since this surgery usually involves the opening of the dura mater and the expansion of the space beneath, a dural graft is usually applied to cover the expanded posterior fossa.

         The preceding is cadged whole-cloth from wikipedia. As is the prognosis: types I (almost certainly Sis's condition) and II are generally adult-onset variations and, while not curable, are treatable and non-fatal.

         I hate to think of Sis under the knife for this. I had surgery on my skull a few years ago, and while I was upset by it, it was not of the same order (fibrous dysplasia). Sis has held up quite well so far, but her nerves are beginning to fray. All I can really do is remain light-hearted and optimistic and just "be there" for her.

         All that aside, the rest of my life is uneventful. I'm spending my time worrying about how to finance the surgery, which is at least constructive worry.


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