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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Crazy Dad scares hospital patient

Harrison had his op today.

They let me go into the operating theatre with him to stay with him while he got his anaesthetic. It's a pretty harrowing experience to watch, so it must have been quite scarey for the young fellow.

He was brave. I asked him if he was scared and he said "No". I said it was ok to be scared, then he admited that he was a bit fearful.

We clowned around in the waiting room before going in. Then, to take his mind of the whole thing, I asked him to name some capital cities while they gave him that horrible gas. (It's a bit more creative than counting down). He managed Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria, but passed out before we got to the capital of Mongolia, but I'm sure he knew the answer anyway :)

It went well. The doc says they didn't need to take any cells from his pelvis. They got some from the other bone in his forearm (ulna). The damged bone (radius) is wired together again now, and will start on the the Pamindronate therapy in a couple of weeks.

Liz is staying in the ward with him this evening. Hopefully they'll be out tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Premature celebrations

We celebrated too soon about Harrison's arm.

It's worse than we thought.

He broke his radial head (end of the forearm bone near elbow) in June. We were worried that the lack of circulation to the broken end of bone would stop it healing.

A nuclear scan led us to beleive that the bone had good circulation, but it was wrong. A later MRI scan showed that there was no blood getting to the broken bit of bone. That's why it didn't heal. So after more than 6 weeks, Harrison's broken bone hasn't joined back up.

MRI's have a much higher resolution, so it was much easier to see what was going on after Harrison had the MRI. The attached image is a sample MRI of an elbow joint. It's not Harrison's elbow, because the hospital doesn't give out MRI's but it gives you an idea of the much better resolution that's available.

Since the bone isn't healing, our doctor has recommended a bone graft. They're going to take a small amount of bone from Harrison's pelvis, put it into the break in his arm, and wire it together.

The scarey thing is that they're going to give him a drug called Pamidronate. It slows down the natural breakdown of the bones. In most of us, our bones are in a state of equilibrium - bone cells get created while others get broken down. When you take Pamidronate, your bone cells don't break down. They just keep growing. There can be some nasty side effects like Kidney failure, seizures, breathing problems etc. But if it works, it will encourage the bone graft to take, and hopefully heal Harrison's elbow.

Because of the seriousness of the drug, Harrison will have to go into Hospital for a full day of tests every month while they he's receiving the drug.

This is hard work for all of us. But it will be worth it if Harrison's arm heals. The alternative for a growing seven year old isn't very nice. The bit of bone that broke is a "growth plate". It's where his forearm bone would normally grow from over the next decade. This won't happen if that bit of bone dies, and he'd need an artificial "spacer" to replace the dead bit of non-growing bone.

Lets hope it all works out ok!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Farewell Myuna II

My boat (Myuna II) sank this afternoon.

I'm not sure why - we'd had a lot of rain and the marina manager said she went down pretty fast.

A salvage crew is going to try to get her out of the water tomorrow.

We had a lot of fun on that old boat - sailing many times to Moreton Island, and I'm really sad to see her go like this.

She was built in 1967 and did a circumnavigation of the world in the early 70's. Pretty amazing for such a small vessel. Ironic that she could go all the way round the world, and still end up under water in a marina after a moderate storm.