The Weekend In Hell And The Epiphany

Some people are sucker for punishment.

Had to get out of town for the weekend, so I dragged the fam to my mother’s.


Besides the social issues, mom lives at an altitude 1000 feet above where I live.  Barometric pressure averages 30 mb lower there.  Sometimes that makes me feel better, sometimes worse.  Or, like this weekend, like it was gonna kill me.  I found myself in a pathologic vicious cycle unique to my current situation: my shunt is set at its highest setting and my ICP is still to low.

On day one I felt like a million bucks.  Day two I was in trouble.  My shunt was draining heavily, and my tinnitus, normally a low background tone, had become pulsatile.  From experience, I knew to check my blood pressure.  It was in the 145/95 range with an average pulse of 60.  Without going into detail, I was pushing more blood into my brain than it could drain.  The brain was swelling as the blood vessels filled, squeezing precious CSF out of my underpressured shunt system.

As it turned out, I had just read an article about the dynamics of fluid in the brain, and was actually able to manage this issue with medication and postural adjustment (in this case, sitting back in a recliner at 45 degrees to open up my venous drainage while minimizing the reduction in pressure of my shunt assist.  If you don’t know what this is yet, wait a while, I’m going to get around to shunt system design).  Within a few hours I started to come out of it.

Living with weather changes is unavoidable.  Having this marginal pressure shunt system has allowed me a unique insight into what goes on inside my head, and likely yours as well.

That said, I’m ready for a revision.  In the meantime, read about what I discovered here.

Dr. Liu, paging Dr. Liu….


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