Forrest had his sixth brain surgery today. He has done well with the procedure but continues in ICU tonight as they try to balance the flow of CSF (cerebral-spinal fluid). We are hopeful that this procedure will be his turning point on his road to recovery. This surgery is the placement of a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt. This is designed to replace the small machine previously placed under the skin that was removed when the cranial implant (the lid) became infected. This small undetectable device shunts fluid when a specified pressure is reached from his brain ventricle to his abdominal cavity (the peritoneum) to be reabsorbed. It is made of antibiotic impregnated tubing and he is still on intravenous antibiotics from the previous infection. Infection is a concern of this procedure and sterile surgical procedure is practiced.
The pressures of CSF within his brain are of concern and the shunt operates within a range of CSF pressures. The shunt can be adjusted up or down externally via a magnetic device depending on the pressures his brain is encountering. One of the challenges with Forrest has been adjusting the pressures just right so the ventricular fluid is not so high that it is driven into his brain and also so that it is not so low that it over drains and can injure the brain. So it is a balancing act to get it just right and then get him to adjust to it.
The plan is to get him a CAT scan in the morning and see what size the ventricles appear and adjust accordingly. If he is doing well he will go to the intermediate care ward from ICU, which has been his home for the last two and one half weeks. Hopefully soon afterwards he will return to his National Rehab room which has been his home away from home for the last several months and return to his rehab work. The cranioplasty will not be replaced until sometime after the New Year to allow his immune system to recover from the infection as much as possible.
Mom, Austin, Maylin and Valerie Lee have been standing guard with Forrest today. Dad has gotten a cold and is temporarily on the bench for Team 44. I, like the rest of you are thinking and praying for Forrest right now as he struggles through this next hurdle.
Dad and Team 44