We are moving in the right direction - doctors tell us that Scarlett is infection free! The CSF cultures from Thursday and Friday have come back clean, so we are planning for the new shunt. The surgeons think that they will fit her in on Wednesday or Thursday. She also has an MRI scheduled for Wednesday, so Thursday is probably more likely. She is feeling GREAT, smiling at everyone who comes in, eating plenty and playing with her toys. Her medications are dwindling back to a manageable 7 or 8. Her blood counts are up and she is ready to get the last dose of chemo that she was too sick to have last week.
We have learned a little more about shunts. Apparently, the rate of infection is very high and it is likely that this could happen again. The new shunt will be placed on the opposite side of her head, the "clean side". Infections are most likely in the first few months after implantation, so we'll keep a close eye on it through the summer. Now that we have been through it once, we know what to look for, too: fevers, altered behavior, head swelling. With every experience, we get more and more aware of her baselines and abnormal behavior. If I ever notice these symptoms again, I think I would identify it or have doctors check her CSF early on.
We are also much more aware of the large number of doctors involved in her care. We feel like we have visits around the clock now. She is currently involved in Neurosurgery (at two hospitals), Neuro-Oncology, Oncology, Hematology, Radiology, Audiology, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. All the medical teams have large posses that we may come in contact with; Department Heads, Attendings, Fellows, Residents, Nurse Practitioners, Therapists...I lose track of who's who. Most everyone introduces themselves as they enter, even if they have been by before, because families get so inundated. Soon, I'll profile some of our doctors; they are really amazing and so wonderful with Scarlett and us. We feel very lucky to be in their care, even if there are so many!
I'm watching House (one of my favorites). It is much funnier to watch now that I am so well-versed in hospital-ese. I giggle every time the doctors explain a term to each other ("Do an MRI to get images of her brain!"), or actually perform a procedure themselves (they have people for that...). I used to be an avid ER fan, which strangely has helped me understand some of the jargon...I think I'm just about ready for TV medical school!