Saturday, February 13, 2016

head injury

Recently, I decided to leave Melbourne and head north to work in indigenous schools.

My first choice was Northern Territory since there is now a whole swathe of remote schools there that have introduced the Zig Engelmann Direct Instruction approach, imported into Australia by Noel Pearson and first implemented in a handful of Cape York schools. I wrote a report about this method in 2012: Direct Instruction observations at Djarragun College

Fate and luck intervened. I was offered a great job at Djarragun College, near Cairns, and decided to accept.

In the meantime I had booked a flight to Adelaide and went ahead with it.

The unusual headaches started on Monday 1st February and although not severe they weren't going away. So eventually I visited a doctor and he suggested a CT scan.

This revealed a chronic subdural haematoma which requires an operation. The problem is that blood has leaked into the brain cavity which puts pressure on the brain. The surgeon drilled some small holes in my head and then I had to lie flat on my back for 48 hours to drain out the old (motor oil) blood. I'm an active person so lying flat for 48 hours was the hardest thing for me about the whole procedure. I had the operation at the Royal Adelaide on Monday 8th and was discharged on Thursday 11th.

I'm still going to Djarragun but my start has been delayed to March 7th

The surgeon and nurses at the Royal Adelaide were brilliant. I'm reminded that we have a great medical system in Australia for urgent cases, even though waiting times could be improved for non urgent cases. Many thanks for the support I've received from friends and family during my brief hospital stay.

The first pic shows me still smiling straight after the operation.

The two other pics show the stapled wounds on the day of my discharge.

Reference: Chronic subdural haematoma in the elderly

Some points from this article which relate to my situation:
  • Presenting features in my case: headaches, drowsiness
  • Risk factors cerebral atrophy in the elderly, increasing space between the brain and the skull by 6-11% of total intracranial space. This stretches and can rupture the bridging veins and they haemorrhage into the subdural space. A history of head injury is absent in 30-50% of cases
  • Complications - recurrence can occur within 4 days to 4 weeks but this appears to be associated with inadequate expansion of the brain back into the void where the dead blood was. My surgeon says in my case this is unlikely since my brain has moved back to where is should be. But I won't know for sure until my next CT scan on Thursday 25th February.
  • Update, March 2nd: I had the CT scan on the 29th February and received clearance to fly to Cairns by the neurosurgeons on Tuesday 1st March. My flight is on Thursday 3rd March.


plakboek said...

Bill, now that you have received the first of your Borg implants, assimilation into the collective will be easier. Glad that you are feeling better and it was picked up quickly. Take care.

Steve Owens said...

Pleased to hear that you got good treatment and pleased to hear that your heading out bush I think that they need good teachers