I won't bore you with medical details. There are far better
places to get those. We found www.asbah.org
plenty of information in a way we could easily understand.
People of my generation knew hydrocephalus as "water on the
brain" and in my youth only children had that because, quite simply,
they did not live to become adults. Their heads grew larger to
accommodate the fluid while they were children, but when they stopped
growing their heads stopped growing too and the pressure increased killing
them. Now though it's very different.
As soon as Ryan was fit enough (by July) he was moved to another
hospital, this time in Plymouth and had an operation to fit a shunt. In
his case this drains the fluid away from his brain and down into his
abdomen and so out of his body. There are different types of
shunt, but that is the type best for Ryan. Of course we
worried. He was such a tiny thing still and a general
anesthetic is dangerous even for a fit adult. Also, I have to admit
I didn't really like the idea of them cutting into his skull and
"messing" with his brain; but when you think of the alternative
you just have to have faith in the skill of the neurosurgeons.
When I had the phone call at work to say that he had come through it OK I
went outside walked around and cried. The people I worked with
were great, they just waited and then made me a cup of coffee and sat
talking to me. We all need this at times.
Ryan moved back to Treliske again. We noticed a difference
immediately. His head was not swelling any more, in fact it
even went down a bit. Not many people now can see anything
wrong with the shape or size of his head, his hair also helps to hide it,
but anyone with a hydrocephalic child can recognize it.
No one could tell us for certain how much damage had been done to his
brain, either by being born so prematurely or by the pressure exerted by
the fluid. He was not paralyzed, that much was obvious, but
that was all we could be sure of. It was enough.
Ryan came home from hospital at the end of August - he was just over
four months old and weighed 5lb. Between then and his first
birthday he spent more time in hospital than out. He had his
shunt replaced three times in that period. He has had two more
since. So he is on his 5th now. Each time we hope
that it will not happen again. He has horseshoe shaped scars
on his head and scars on his stomach from the shunts. His left
leg is scared from the drips and IV lines. BUT he is happy so
I've added another page to this site USEFUL LINKS it's just
a page of the sites for organizations we have found very useful.
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