Today is a very different Valentine's Day for me. My sweet eldest sister, Jasmine, is currently in ICU.
She suffered from a stroke (subarachnoid hemorrhage) on the afternoon of 12 Feb 15. Everything was normal that day. We even had a good chat on our "Chat Sisters" whatsapp group in the morning.
When she was at a work meeting, she had sudden severe pain in the head and spine. She wasn't able to move at all and started vomiting non-stop. It was really fortunate that she has quick-thinking colleagues who knew something was seriously wrong and called for an ambulance instead of dismissing these symptoms as mere headache and vomiting.
CT scans revealed that she was suffering from subarachnoid hemorrhage due to a rupture of an aneurysm on the left of her brain.
An aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel. There is no knowing how someone gets aneurysm and it may be inborn. According to the doctors, 1 in 3 people with ruptured aneurysm drop down dead on the spot. My sis is really fortunate she belongs to the 2 in 3.
The first surgery last night (12 Feb 15) was to insert a draining tube in the brain to drain the fluid and relieve pressure. The operation went smoothly. Other than coughing and causing all the increase of readings on the machine, her condition was stable after sedation.
Yesterday (13 Feb 15), more scans were done to ascertain the next course of treatment which depends on the size and location of the aneurysm.
Two common surgeries are used to repair an aneurysm:
- Endovascular coiling is the less invasive technique most often done. During endovascular coiling, a catheter is passed through the groin up into the artery containing the aneurysm. An incision in the skull is not required.
- Clipping is invasive as it is done during open brain surgery (craniotomy)
My sis has aneurysm that weren't just simple berry/sac for coiling to be done. Hers were more complicated. They were curved on both side of the same blood vessel. (Usually people would have aneurysm on separate blood vessels) The more invasive and higher-risk clipping is the only surgical option for her. That holds a 15% mortality rate during surgery.
She would undergo that surgery on Monday (16 Feb 15). Please pray for a smooth surgery and healing for her.
She was practically drifting in and out of sleep the whole of Friday (13 Feb 15). In the morning, she responded to her name when the nurse called her.
In the evening, she woke up and was conscious and aware that she has a Valentine's Day date with my brother-in-law, Ben, tomorrow. I was glad to catch her awake for a brief moment and happy to know that she's aware of her surroundings.
Due to the respirator in her throat, she is feeling very uncomfortable and is often nauseous. When she tries to talk, all the readings on the machine would shoot right up. She is currently lightly sedated to keep her drowsy and sleep the nausea away. Doctors have also advised to keep her readings stabalized for fear of rupturing the aneurysm.
Today (14 Feb 15), she could still wave to us, albeit with just a slight lift of her wrist. She is conscious and aware though we feel that she could be suffering from short-term memory at times. Although she could only mouth words with great difficulty due to the respirator in her throat and many tubes everywhere, she kept asking "What happened?", "Why it happened?". She also wrote on my BIL's palm that today is Valentine's Day while he showed from through the glass the tulips he bought for her.
This is my most recent wefie with my sis during her wedding last November. She is the most beautiful that day and she would always be beautiful inside and out. You could tell that she is the kindest, most filial (to parents, grandparents and elders) and just such a great person from all the love, support and tears she has received from her family, friends, relatives and even friends of mine (some of whom are acquainted with her).
Wefie with my sis and BIL who has been with her tirelessly day in and out the past few days. It was supposed to be their first Valentine's Day as husband and wife. Life is not fair. But I have faith that they would be going through many many Valentine's Day together after her surgery. Tan Tock Seng Hospital has rounded up a team of experienced professionals for my sis's surgery scheduled on Monday morning led by neurosurgeon Prof Ivan Ng. Please pray for a smooth surgery and healing for her.
It is a difficult time for all of us and I apologise if I'm not always replying to messages on any medium. Thank you all for reading and for your kind thoughts, well wishes and prayers.
Edited to add:
After about 8 gruelling hours, my sis's op was over and it is a success! They had such a hard time sedating her back to complete sleep. Such a stubborn sister. Thank you all for your prayers!!! She still gotta be kept under close observation for post op complications and further procedures which would depend on her condition these few days.