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Sleeping Beauty

Posted Sep 27 2010 12:00am
Ashley had yet another MRI under anesthesia last Friday. She was already having them twice a year to check the status of the three brain tumors she has, but this time, her neurosurgeon ordered an MRI of her spine to make sure no tumors were present on the brain stem or the cervical spine. Ashley has been experiencing some slight right-side weakness, and the neurosurgeon said he would rather be proactive about checking.

I agree with that approach, but still don't like it. The MRIs under anesthesia are incredibly difficult for her.

She knows what is going to happen as soon as we pull into the hospital parking lot. She tries really hard to be brave, but her anxiety kicks in after just a few minutes. It doesn't help that the MRI staff seem to move in super slow motion. The longer she sits, the worse the anxiety gets. But the time the staff is ready for her to get on the stretcher, she is in all out refusal mode.

We've tried a couple of things to try to make the process easier. One thing we have tried is giving her Versed via her G-tube. According to the manufacturer, "Midazolam is given to children before medical procedures or before anesthesia for surgery to cause drowsiness, relieve anxiety, and prevent any memory of the event. Midazolam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by slowing activity in the brain to allow relaxation and sleep."

Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, it doesn't work all that well for Ashley. If it reduces her anxiety, I'm not seeing it. She still fights for all she is worth when it's time to move to the stretcher. Friday, it took two strong men and a nurse to get her in what appears to be a great wrestling hold, and then move her to the stretcher. Another nurse had the mask for anethesia on the ready, but Ashley still ripped it off her face and broke it. In addition, whenever we use the Versed, she is slow - really, really slow - to wake up after the procedure. And that scares me beyond words.

The other thing we have tried is Ketamine. According to Wikipedia, "Ketamine has a wide range of effects in humans, including analgesia, anesthesia, hallucinations, elevated blood pressure, and bronchodilation. Ketamine is primarily used for the induction and maintenance of general anesthesia, usually in combination with some sedative drug. Other uses include sedation in intensive care, analgesia (particularly in emergency medicine), and treatment of bronchospasm. It has been shown to be effective in treating depression in patients with bipolar disorder who have not responded to other anti-depressants."

Ketamine knocks Ashley out in less than 30 seconds, but the side effects frighten me.

I want there to be another solution...

Here are some photos from Friday (sorry for the poor quality. I was using my cell phone)
Ashley is waiting in a small room adjacent to the MRI room and watching TV while we wait...and wait...and wait. This is early on so she is not too upset yet.

Ashley is in the recovery room. This is exactly how she looked for 4 straight hours. See why I am so scared?

Even on the trip home, she is still half asleep. And, she stayed 'out of it' for the rest of the day and night.

Now we have to wait until Tuesday to see if the MRI revealed anything :(
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