Anna Elenbaas Anna Elenbaas

First post: Oct 26, 2017 Latest post: Nov 11, 2017
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.  

Anna started with a severe headache on Sunday morning of the 22nd. We were at the cottage spending the weekend with Anna while she was on her fall break.  Her pain was so severe we took her to the Ludington Emergency Room where they treated her for a migraine. Throughout the day on Sunday, her pain did not subside and we ended up back in the Ludington Emergency Room late Sunday evening. On the second visit the doctor was puzzled as to why the pain was not subsiding.  They did some blood tests, gave her more meds, but did not find anything conclusive. Early Monday morning, Steve took her to Holland Hospital where they did an MRI and found that she had had a stroke.  She and Steve rode in the ambulance to St. Mary's in Grand Rapids, and Erin, Eric, Alex, Dani and I met them.  She had a scan of her head and found that she had an arterial dissection in two parts of the artery that goes from the aorta to the brain.  These dissections affected her medulla and her cerebellum. 

After a VERY painful night Monday night, her neurological assessment was not positive.  The next scan showed that she had fluid on the brain and the swelling in the cerebellum area was not going down.  Immediate emergency surgery was next to put a drain in  for the fluid and cut away part of her skull to relieve pressure.  On the way, we almost lost her.  She went into respiratory arrest.  When the surgery was over the neuro surgeon's main concern was that she wake up.  It was then that we realized how serious this was. 

After a couple of hours she opened her eyes and wiggled her toes.  I have never seen anything more beautiful.  She had breathing tubes in, but she made good progress in her neurological assessments.  She had a chest X-ray that showed fluid in her lungs, and a blood test showed that she might have muscle damage in her heart.  She was given an echocardiogram to see what was going on.  It showed that her heart was only pumping 26% blood out of her heart. It should be about 60-70%.  It was determined that she has a weak heart.  This is totally unrelated to the stroke. One more thing to consider in her recovery.  Tuesday night was peaceful.

Wednesday, Anna continued making progress with her neuro assessments, but that darn tube in her throat was really uncomfortable.  It was frustrating to have her try and communicate and not be able to understand what she was trying to say.  She was getting quite angry.  But overall, when sedated and drugged she could relax and sleep.  Wednesday night was peaceful and we slept until about 6:00am.  I woke up to lights and 6 people around her bed. That little stinker pulled the intubation tube out on her own!  But, she was breathing okay on her own, so they let it stay out.  Because she pulled it out there could be damage to her vocal cords, but we won't know for a while. Though, this is the least of our concerns right now. 

Today, Thursday, she had a swallow test, and she is able to take one medication orally mashed in applesauce today. This is good because the medications will last longer.  This will get better with time. The OT and PT also came in a did some exercises.  She did really well, although it exhausted her.  She also started some cardiac medication today, and is on a diuretic which is helping to drain the fluid from her lungs.  

We are making slow gains. Each one has been such a blessing.  Thank you so much to dear friends and family who have been praying for this girl.  Thanks to those who have come to the hospital to spend time and pray with us.  We are filled with awe at how wonderful you all are.  Many people are asking what we need. We need nothing. We have a stubborn strong girl, Erin, Eric, Alex, Dani, and our Heavenly Father. We have our families and the most wonderful friends.

We'll keep you posted. 



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