28 February, 2008

Alex got encephalitis

On the principle that we put this blog for family news, and that family news can be good and bad, we're posting about how Alex is currently in Derriford Hospital being treated for Encephalitis.

Last Friday, Alex was taken to A and E after having a seizure in our study. She then had 2 more seizures in the next 4 hours at hospital. Alex had been feeling some anxiety in the week leading up to this, but nothing that would suggest that she had a serious medical complaint. She has since been in Derriford hospital and will probably be there for the next 2 weeks as she is treated with both anti-viral and anti-bacterial drugs.

Alex is recovering and feeling ok within herself and the signs are good for her making a full recovery. She is alert, able to make conversation and she started to wander around yesterday.

On the downside, she is struggling with her memory working, she still has some residual problems with feelings of anxiety, she is bored and she can't see Rocky for risk of passing infection in the hospital. All of the downsides seemed to be linked with the encephalitis.

Ok, so here is the science bit, you may be like me and not know what encephalitis is, well you can read more about it by going here. But here is the potted version. Encephalitis works to inflame your brain, when the brain inflames, it sends crazy electrical signals around itself and then you have seizures.

The doctors believe that Alex has herpes simplex encephalitis, which is a virus that looks like the picture opposite. Although a team of six neurologists all believe this is what Alex has, they cannot prove this conclusively because they would have to do a lumbar puncture to do that and they can't because the shape of Alex's brain suggests there might be complications. So that is why she is being treated for anti-bacterials as well, belt and braces.

Now, this virus likes to attack the temporal lobes of the brain, which you can see helpfully in the diagram opposite. The temporal lobes are useful for many things, but they have a big part to play in how your memory and emotions work, which is why Alex's memory and feelings aren't doing so well. She should make a full recovery, but there is likely to be a bit of scarring on the brain. What effect that might have, we are not sure. At the moment, a lot of what we are dealing with is wait and see.
We are coping pretty well with all of this. My family have been brilliant and so have Alex's. Somewhat ironically, we booked in this week for the bathroom to be re-decorated after waiting 2 and a half years, but that's going well too. It should all be sorted by the time alex comes home. Rocky has taken to being fed by bottle and I am getting to see Alex for about 3 hours a day. Life isn't very normal at the moment, but we're doing alright. Thankyou to anyone who has prayed for us. We really appreciate it.
Naturally, we are going to have to postpone the dedication until later in the year.
Ok, my brain is hurting a bit now, and Rocky is going to need a feed in a minute.
God bless.


Orangeaurochs said...

I'm sorry to hear that. Please pass on my best wishes to Alex. I hope you and Rocky take care of each other and life gets back on an even keel as soon as possible. My thoughts are with you all.

Orangeaurochs said...

BTW, Orangeaurochs=Tom

Alan said...

As ever I'm probably one of the last to know! But since Kathy and I do now, we want to you both to know that we and everyone associated with work both in the office and at court wish you the very best, even if you have to spend a little longer moving from one ward to another at Derriford. If we can be of the remotest practical or any other use don't either of you hesitate a moment to get in touch at any time.We'd send some flowers but from my experience too many can turn the bed space into something approaching a suburban crematorium. If there's anything else that break the routine, helium balloons, indoor fireworks, electronic pets, graphic magazines - you get the idea, then please give the word.