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2/27/2017 Latest post:
Becky fell off her horse July 14, 2008. She has been living in a group home for almost three years. During the day she goes to work. On Sundays we take her to church and home for dinner with her family. She has had about 30 different procedures on her head from things like and Intracranial Pressure chip being implanted to having shunts replaced. But one troublesome spot has been the bone flap procedures. She kept getting infections requiring their replacement. November 3, 2014 her last bone flap had to be removed because there was so much scar tissue that the skin pulled apart and the plastic skull was exposed. A young plastic surgeon told us Becky's had too many surgeries on her head and she can live without her skull, that many people do and we shouldn't put her through another surgery. The neurosurgeon said when she was declared stable we would need to take her to the Mayo to have the new skull put in because it will require plastic surgery and the plastic surgeons in St. Cloud wouldn't do it. We started this process December 2015. Because of films not being forwarded and because of a sore on top of Becky's head that wasn't healing quickly, the procedure was delayed. In July Becky started going down hill fast. She had an adjustment to her shunt in July, again in August. She went to the Mayo in September 2016. It was a shock to us to find out that a person's skull should not be out more than six months. We were so impressed with the team at Mayo.
January 3, 2017 she started declining again, more rapidly this time and with new symptoms. Her temperature dropped as low as 89. By February 21 she wasn't eating or drinking much. She couldn't stand up by herself and needed two people using their full strength to move her around. She went to the Mayo February 24th. She was admitted to the hospital right away. Her decline is due to the skull being out too long and her brain is sinking. Her speech had gone from normal, to talking too fast and too quiet, to not being able to understand anything she said. Her mouth and tongue are not working normal so she is now on pureed food and highly thickened liquids.
The team of doctors are working on getting her stable and healthy enough for surgery and they are working on the quickest course possible to replace the skull, while still doing things right. They are keeping her on IV fluids, mostly in bed,, with her head at 20 degrees. In just a couple of days of this, we have seen how it makes a difference. Her head is looking much better, not sunken in like before. And her speech is more understandable. She is able to pivot when they get her out of bed and on the commode. Tomorrow the whole team will decide how to proceed. If it will take weeks to get the skull built, she will probably move to a skilled nursing facility or swing bed unit. But, if they can build the skull bone in house, she probably won't move and it can be done within a week.