Thursday, April 03, 2008

Leaving the Hospital

On Monday, Elise will leave the UW Medical Center Rehab for home. Cameron is busy moving into their new handicap-accessible apartment. And I'm here at the hospital with Elise thinking about the last few months with its ups and downs, disappointments and triumphs ... and so many realigned expectations.

The most salient hospital moments for me include getting the initial call from Cameron to come to Emergency, being with Elise during many hours of seizures, looking at the MRI pictures of the tumor, seeing movement unexpectedly return to her right side, watching the doctors and nurses fall in love with her, and Elise telling me to back off because I am helping too much ... that's my independent girl!

Hospitals have changed so much. Cameron and I were able to be with Elise 24/7. We've learned and have been trained to do much of what the nurses and therapists are doing for her care. Gone are the days when family members were relegated to the role of visitor. We've truly been part of the team supporting Elise's recovery.

As you may know, I have a background in computer technology. So, I've been fascinated in how new technologies have been used for Elise's benefit. When taking the biopsy and placing the shunt, the neurosurgeons used stereotactic surgery. It is a method of pinpointing exactly where to operate in her brain using coordinates and a CT machine to deliver 3-D computerized imagery ... truly amazing.

While in Rehab the therapists were excited when Cameron brought in their Wii for Elise to use. The Wii is a video game player in which the users' controllers detect movement acceleration in 3-D. So, when Elise plays Wii baseball, she actually swings the Wii controller like a bat. The Wii was so effective in helping Elise in an enjoyable way that the occupational therapist was convinced that they need to to get one for all rehab patients to use! ( Elise is excited to keep playing it with Jasper once she gets home.

Finally, I've been very impressed with the quality of care and dedication of the doctors at the University of Washington Medical Center. Almost without exception, they have proven themselves to be both caring and competent in their practice of the medical arts on Elise's behalf.

More later, Suanne (Elise's Mom)

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