Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Follow-Up Visit to the Neurosurgeon

We met Dr. H_____ yesterday. He's a neurosurgeon.

The hospital referred us to his office upon Danny's discharge last Monday. It was a follow-up appointment to talk about his progress and prognoses.

Dr. H_____ looked at the CT scans from last week's emergency room visit. Dan's balance has progressively gotten worse over the last few years, with his torso bending back and to the left slightly. Since the fall, he needs a lot more help with mobility. Normally, he's able to get around mostly on his own with his cane and AFO. But now it seems that anytime he gets up to go anywhere he needs assistance.

The doctor pointed out that Danny's cerebellum was a bit on the small side. The cerebellum controls motor function, including balance. Damage to the cerebellum can cause movement and balance disorders.

There were also some slightly dark spots on Danny's brain. The one on the left frontal lobe represented the blood from the hemorrage, most likely caused by the knock on the head. Several others were there as well though.

"I'm afraid these could be behind the deterioration of his balance," Dr. H_____ said. "Don't put him in balance therapy until we look into it more."

Danny's head was turned around 180 degrees in his accident 23 years ago. It took EMS about 10 minutes to arrive on the scene and a couple minutes more before they decided to turn his head back around. At that point his respiration was down to about 4 breaths per minute. His head wasn't bruised or battered from the wreck. His TBI was caused by hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain. Could hypoxia cause cerebral damage? Could it also be behind the mysterious dark spots shown on the CT scan? If Dan has cerebral damage, is there any hope for improved mobility?

Tomorrow we'll go back to the hospital for an MRI. Hopefully we'll get some useful answers soon.