There are many web sites that provide detailed explanations and illustrations of spinal injuries and how to live with them. I had a look at http://www.spinalinjury.net/ which is rough but seems clearly written. If anyone has found better info centres please post links here? Thanks.
Archive for May 8th, 2009
Dr Zorio the Neurosurgeon says that the operation went according to plan. What this means is that the fusion of the spine using a transplant from his hip bone has been done and it entailed the removal entirely of the C5 vertebrae, and replacement with a plate. It seems that C3 was also fractured, in addition to the damage we already knew to C1, 4,5 and 6. So in terms of getting the procedure done, the operation was a success.
What it has confirmed though is the prognosis that we all knew was most likely – that damage to the spinal chord is sufficient to make recovery of movement highly unlikely.
Tom’s current condition is this: His blood pressure is a little low, and there are still some problems with his lungs, though these are being well attended to. These and some other “standard” post-op risks mean that he is still critical. He is in very good hands however, and we believe he’s strong enough to get through this period.
He will continue to be sedated for a day or two, at which stage they will try to wean him gradually off the ventilator. He will need to stay sedated during this period so as not to fight the tube.
The trauma surgeon Dr Moeng has hope that Tom will begin to breathe by himself – he says this happens in many instances, which would mean he would not need a ventilator indefinitely.
Once this weaning has (hopefully) been done – probably a week or two from now – then Tom will be conscious and moved to a rehab unit.
We’re all at the hospital, though not sure how long the operation takes.
Brett recorded messages from Kiki and Roo for their Dad on his cell phone. He’s in Durban, they’re in Zim. He sends the recordings to Robyn here in Joburg. They get put on an iPod. Tom’s just heard them. His heart rate shot up and his eyes tried to open. Contact made across so many miles. A special moment for Tom. And us all.
The Harare cycling community starts their time trial series tomorrow and everybody is ‘riding for Tom’. Sal is very touched. Wendy and Ant Greenway sent the pictures of Tom below. You can now upload your own pics – I will be putting another page for this purpose next to the message board, but obviously you can post where you comment if you would prefer. Sal is in with Tom right now (4.20pm). It looks like they’ll start prepping him for surgery sometime soon.
We’re at the hospital and Tom’s Mum has chatted to the nurse – he is second on the operation list today, though there’s no telling how long the first op will last, so we can still presume it will be early afternoon at the earliest. Jane, Greta, Dave and Linda, James and Robyn are here with Sal who is currently at Tom’s bedside. We don’t expect too much info to be forthcoming for the next few hours.
It’s probably obvious by now, but Brendon has been a HUGE source of strength and comfort to Sal – and in fact everyone who’s been here. He’s gone back to Zim this morning to be with Al, his own kids and Tom and Sal’s girls – but not without making sure all is organised and sorted here (with the eager assistance of Bertus). We just need everyone to know how much his help has been, and will be, invaluable.