Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tests of consciousness

John was stable last night, as has tended to be his night time pattern, with the rising ICPs coming during the day. The doctors repositioned him for better drainage of his head, and gave him a super dose of saline, which brought his ICPs down. They were in the 15-20 range overnight. His fever is also down. They have put cooling pads around his body which circulate cold water. The doctors are not yet sure whether the fever is due to infection or the effect of the brain injury.

Since John was admitted to the hospital, the doctors have performed repeated tests of consciousness or coma depending on your view of the fullness/emptiness of the glass. They measure abilities of visions, speech, and movement. They reduced the level of sedation and tried to get John to do thinks like open his eyes and move his limbs on request or in response to pain. The test is somewhat subjective and affected by the amount of sedative in his system.

Today's test was encouraging- he moved both of his hands, turned his head away from pain, and tried to open his eyes (showing a fluttering, but not getting them open). His past tests have been both better (he opened his eyes and moved all limbs) and worst (no movement at all) than this one. As the previous one was his worst, today's was good news to us.

He has an EEG scheduled for later today, which will measure the amount and location of brain activity.

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