WELCOME Kirstin’s four children Kira (and husband, Darren), Doug (and wife, Andrea), Andrew and Alison - and her grandsons Jaq and Nate - have been profoundly moved by the number and depth of Mom’s supporters, by the myriad offers for help we have received from those we have long known and those we have never met, and by the abiding and tender affection so many feel for our Mom.
Because we want to ensure that EVERYone has access to all available information about Mom, we have created this website, which we will update on a daily basis. The website also provides the opportunity for you to post comments, and to communicate with us and with each other.
We thank you all, truly, for your support.
INJURY On December 31st, Kirstin was found unresponsive in her home. Paramedics were immediately called, and Kirstin was transported to Rose Hospital. It was there determined that she had suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, one that others without Kirstin’s fortitude might not have survived.
TREATMENT From Rose, Kirstin was raced to Swedish Medical Center, one of the premiere neuroscience treatment centers in America. The neurosurgeons at Swedish determined that because of the excessive amount of fluid that had accumulated in Kirstin’s brain as a result of the burst aneurysm, it was necessary to first surgically insert an external ventricular drain (EVD). The EVD, a small tube, works to release the pressure that this excess fluid exerts upon Kirstin’s brain. The fluid in her brain now flows through the EVD tube into a bag that hangs near her bed on an IV pole. The amount of fluid that has drained is constantly monitored, as is the pressure in Kirstin’s brain as the draining occurs. Kirstin is thus confined to a specific position in bed, in order to ensure that the measured flow of fluid remain constant. Once the fluid has drained, the EVD will be removed, and Kirstin will have considerably more freedom of movement.
Following the insertion of the EVD, the neurosurgeons performed an endovascular coiling procedure. A hollow catheter was inserted into an artery in Kirstin’s groin, and threaded through her body to the aneurysm. A platinum wire was then guided through this catheter and into the aneurysm, where it then coiled up. That wire reduces the flow of fluid, and seals the aneurysm from the artery, preventing future bursts.
CARE 12/31 - Present Kirstin is recovering in the Neural ICU unit at Swedish Medical Center. Following a burst aneurysm, especially during the initial two weeks, the risk of a stroke or strokes, minor or severe, is appreciably elevated; thus, aneurysm patients are routinely and attentively monitored during this time. Furthermore, it is also customary in this initial time that recovering patients will experience vast fluctuations from day to day, even hour to hour, in their manifestations of improvement, so that a morning visitor might find Kirstin to be alert, even to engage in a kind of conversation, only to return in the afternoon and find that she is unfocused, and unengaged. These variations are an expected aspect of recovery, and do not indicate a worsening of condition.
While in The Neural ICU, Kirstin is attended at all times by a highly qualified nurse who is responsible for only two patients, thus enabling the opportunity to devote meticulous attention to her. Additionally, she is visited by speech and occupational therapists, who monitor and encourage Kirstin’s mental acuity and physical movement.
VISITING Kirstin’s medical team has encouraged visitors, and we also believe strongly that even when she may not seem engaged, on some level, having those who care for her near her is of tremendous benefit to Kirstin’s recovery.
Visiting hours are from 8:00AM to 8:00PM.
Flowers are not allowed in the room, as they contribute to the possibility of infection.