Surgery #3 – Shunt Revision #1

Colten and I arrived at Mott Children’s Emergency Room around 5:30 PM. They were expecting us, which made it easy to check-in. Heck, the ER staff even called me around 4:30 to ask where we were since we had not shown up yet but were on their “expect soon” list. Talk about good ER service!

Since it’s now 3:08 AM and I haven’t slept, and I will not get much sleep, here’s the shortest version I can manage:

This evening, Colten had an x-ray of his head and abdomen, an MRI of his head, and a cranial ultrasound. Plus a failed IV attempt, a blood draw, then a successful IV attempt and another blood draw. After all of that we were told that while the shunt looks good on the x-ray and MRI and the blood counts show no infection, the ultrasound shows an increase in ventricle size (ventricles are the spaces in the brain that hold a lot of the cerebral spinal fluid, and where the fluid builds up in cases of hydrocephalus). An increase is not good, that’s what got this kid his shunt to begin with. So something is most likely wrong. Not definitely, but most likely.

Today, Tuesday, at around 4 AM, they’ll take him for a shunt revision surgery. This entails testing each piece of the shunt – the tube that goes into the abdomen, the pump on the side of his skull, and the probe going into his brain. They’ll replace any piece that doesn’t work. They access the parts using the same incisions he already has. They could find that everything works fine. If that’s the case, they leave the parts as they are and close him back up. Then they’ll watch him here for a day or so and see if anything else presents itself. It could simply be that his ventricles are finding their own “new normal” and fluctuating. But due to the sizes they are seeing, they feel (they being neurosurgery) they will find something wrong with the pump or probe.

That’s all I’ve got tonight. I’m going to take a power nap before we head down to surgery. In the meantime, maybe someone can think of a reverse 5-hour energy drink. I would like to be able to sleep for 20 minutes and have it feel like I’ve slept for HOURS. Can you imagine how much more we could get done in a day?!


PS. I’m not asleep yet because Colten woke up. They’re about to get him for surgery soon anyhow so I might as well sleep later. But I did add some pictures to the Photo Stream page, including two that are of his x-rays. Don’t tell the hospital though. They frown on taking pictures of x-rays and other diagnostics because, “if that picture gets out there, anyone could have access to it”. Okay. I’m not sure what anyone would do with these x-rays anyhow so I’m sharing. Note all the extra tubing in his abdomen – that’s to account for height growth over time!

4 thoughts on “Surgery #3 – Shunt Revision #1

  1. Love your humor Katie. When you get to be my age, you’ll be waking at 2:30am thinking about some of the dumbest things………. Give Colten a hug. I pray all goes well this morning

  2. Dear Kate & Richard,

    I’m so sorry that you have to go through this—sorry for Colten too, of course, but at his tender age he’s spared at least the knowledge of everything that’s happening to him! I must be having sympathetic anxiety because I woke up at 3:00, went back to bed, couldn’t sleep again, and got up to do some office work. My cousin Pat O and I can tell you younger folks that being awake in the middle of the night isn’t just something that regularly occurs to young parents! Love and prayers as always to you all! I am hoping that the medical team finds something quite minor that is easily rectified so you all can be home again and Colten can continue being just a baby.


  3. Remember Colten has his own bamd of prayer warriors that came as a result of receiving his Prayer Quilt. I will pass the word on this update.

  4. Pingback: Diagnosis Day – Two Years Later | The Adventures of Colten Robert

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