Sunday, July 1, 2012


Revision:  the act or process of altering something with the intent of improving it.

As a former English teacher, I know a thing or two about revisions. I used to make my students do them.  I personally revised my master's thesis no less than 10 times.  Revisions aren't done for fun and they aren't done because the first draft was a piece of crap. They are done because all things can be improved with a little thought, time, and effort.  And that's the real issue for most of us, isn't it?  What in our lives is worth the effort of revising? Sure, something may be bothering us, but is it bothering us enough to go through all that effort to totally rehash every detail, find the errors, and make the tweaks? But more on that subject in a moment....

 All this vague talk of revisions is of course inspired by Evangeline's recent shunt revision.  Revising the shunt was a proposition that shook me to the core before her shunt was installed.  How many would she need?  Would they be terrible?  How would I know to take her to see the doctor?  For all the other paranoid....erm...I mean diligent new moms of babies with shunts, I will attempt to answer those questions below- at least in regards to how it played out in my situation.

Evangeline's shunt was installed at four months old. For five blissful months it operated with narry a peep of complaint.  Then, on Friday night we put her to bed- just like always; at 3 am she woke us up crying.  Thinking it was a sour tummy (something she occasionally gets) I went to get her and offer her a back pat and jiggle in case she had a burp stuck somewhere.  No burp came out...just some foam and rancid smelling vomit.  It was not projectile like they say to be concerned about. (Though she has projectile vomited when the shunt was not involved. In those incidences she got some pretty incredible totally across the room.  It was impressive but just a tummy bug- not a brain issue).  So anyway, after she threw up her sour milk, I offered her a drink of fresh formula, which she seemed happy about. She drank a bit and fell asleep. That morning, she just couldn't get awake.  This was also not uber scary as sometimes when she's going through a growth spurt, she wakes up in the morning, eats and then wants to go back to bed.  But when it was after 10am and she was still wanting to nap, I decided further investigation was in order.  I took her and placed her on her play mat.  She had no interest in toys.  Neither would she lift her eyes upwards to track them. She didn't want to eat- but more telling than anything, she didn't smile or laugh.  We knew there was an issue.  There was no guessing involved.  No need to worry that "maybe it was nothing".  Shunt = obvious.  We took her to the ER and in a few hours time, after doing an MRI, they informed us that emergency surgery would be needed.  It broke my heart to see her uncomfortable. I was nervous about the surgery but oh so very glad that it would bring her back to me...smiles and all.

Less than 24 hours after, she was coming off the morphine and ready to play.  As you can see in this video, she was a little baffled with life.  The entire scenario to her was probably like an infant version of "the hangover".  She woke up still a little buzzed, in a strange place with a sore throat (from the intubation during anastethia), a slight headache, and some random banage on the side of her noggin.  Clearly she was like "What the Heck, Ya'll?" But all her people were there, so she figured it wasn't all bad.  (BTW, I had no idea I'd be on film... I thought I was going to be an off camera voice but oh, well lol)

Our hospital stay wasn't a fun time, but it wasn't terrible. We had our great nursing staff, our wonderful neuro team, and family and friends by our side.  Baby girl wasn't in over-much discomfort and I cannot explain how wonderful it was to see the "Evangeline" spark back in her eyes and the majority of her discomfort gone.  Hopefuly we won't need any more revisions for a long while - or ever.  I'm good with one and done!!

Now, back to what I was saying about revisions in our lives that have nothing at all to do with brain implants.....  I have to admit to a little unforgiveness in my life lately.  There is a situation that went down in a way I don't care for...and a couple of individuals who lied to me. And they and their lie cost me and my family a lot.  It hurts and I'm mad.  It was maybe a week ago... that even though its been about a year...I realized that I haven't yet forgiven these people.  At first I was all "well that's OK, cause these are the sort of people who don't really deserve forgiveness anyway".  After thinking about that statement, I realized that is sort of the point.  People that deserve forgivenss don't generally need it.  And the unforgiveness in my heart has been gnawing at my belly, making me feel angry all the time. And that anger pops out of me like a rabbid rabit out of a burrow- when I least expect it.  I recognze this situation as one that needs revision.  Alas, I cannot quite forgive these individuals YET.... but I am praying, asking God to help me, and letting go of the little pieces of anger that I can. I am on my way to revising this area of my life- one little error at a time.  Find it, fix it, make it better.  In that sense, life is one big revision.  A constant re-write of our heart, soul, thoughts and emotions to improve the overall substance of our existance. So whether its brainsurgery or a change of heart, revisions are never fun.  But they are necessary.