It has been a trying and stressful week but with a cautiously optimistic outcome.
On Monday I took Laurel to Queens hospital in Romford for her pre op. Aside from a truly awful journey - it was during the he rush hour and morning school run, not helped by numerous roadworks - the procedures she had went very smoothly. They did a blood test, a Covid swab, an MRSA swab, and ECG, blood pressure and weight etc - all was good and swiftly and efficiently done.
Tuesday was spent with Laurel isolating in preparation for Wednesday. For a variety of reasons we felt that it would be a good idea for her to pack for an overnight stay which she duly did. This proved to be a very wise move.
Laurel had her spinal angiogram on Wednesday with the caveat that should they see the affected area in more detail than from the enhanced MRI they would then proceed to carry out the angioplasty - essentially repairing the AVM with surgical glue. That was the plan and naturally this would have been advantageous as it would all be done in one hit. After a myriad of delays (highlighting just how much the NHS in under due to staffing and resourcing issues) - a five hour wait (9am until 2:15) on her own until she went to theatre - she eventually had her angiogram and was out into recovery at around 5:45. There was some confusion as to what she had done as no one seemed to be sure if it just the angiogram or if the angioplasty had featured as well. This was cleared up the next day.
She was coming on on Thursday and as is usual had to wait to be discharged following the ward rounds. Eventually I was told it would be around 2pm so I left home in good time to collect her. For a variety of reasons it was not until after 4 that we were able to leave. In the meantime one of her consultants team came to tell us what actually had taken place.
The angiogram was not able to identify the place where the AVM was from the enhanced MRI. It appeared to have dispersed of its own accord! The increasing frequency and severity of lower back pain she had been experiencing over the previous couple of months were indicative of it ‘bleeding, clotting and then breaking down’. We certainly did not expect to hear that!
As expected Laurel was feeling tired, groggy and with a bewildering variety of surgical procedure induced aches and pains. We got home and so after a bite to eat she hit the sack for some much needed sleep.
We had a phone call from the consultant himself yesterday evening. He apologised for not being able to speak with us whilst we were waiting for the hospital discharge but he was tied up in theatre until around 7. He explained in more detail what had taken place and it does appear that the increasing pain Laurel experienced was due to the AVM effectively repairing itself but to be on the safe side she will need to have a couple of further scans to confirm this and to rule out anything else untoward.
Overall this is reason to be cautiously optimistic although we need the effects of the angiogram to wear off - Laurel has some interesting bruising for sure - so that she can work out what is post procedure pain or the ongoing back situation.
Give it a couple of weeks or so and we should have a clearer idea, especially once the further scans have been done.
There are few things in life worse than seeing a loved one suffer and being unable to alleviate the pain and stress caused. It has been an exhausting week for her and for us as a family but with support and help from friends and relatives it has made it a little easier to cope with.
Many thanks one and all.