The last week has been complicated for me, and the next few will be as well, although hopefully less so. Let me explain.
Last weekend, my wife and daughter went on vacation with my sister in law, mother in law, and my nieces. While they were away, my daughter, Sophie, started having balance problems, and these gradually worsened. In addition, her speech became halting and slurred. By Sunday night, she was in the emergency room in Hilton Head, South Carolina. After a CT scan showed nothing, they decided she needed testing they couldn’t do since they had no pediatric neurologists on staff, and she was loaded in an ambulance and sent to a children’s hospital in Savannah, Georgia.
Once there, an MRI was done on her head, along with other tests, and we received a preliminary diagnosis of acute cerebellar ataxia. By this point, the loss of equilibrium was causing nausea, and she couldn’t eat or drink without getting sick.
After a couple of nights in the hospital in Savannah, they went back to Hilton Head for a couple of nights, then made the 8-hour drive home. By the time they got home on Thursday night, Sophie was completely listless and not speaking at all, so we moved her from my mother in law’s car to my car and went straight to the children’s hospital in Knoxville.
There, she got more testing done, including a spinal tap and spinal MRI, and the end result was a confirmation of the original acute cerebellar ataxia diagnosis. She was in the hospital there for two days, and got home, finally, on Saturday afternoon.
Her speech has been improving, and although it’s still slow, it’s no longer halting, and it’s not slurred anymore. She can’t walk without assistance, but stood up without help for the first time this morning.
The doctors’ opinion is that Sophie had a very minor viral infection a couple of weeks ago — so minor that we didn’t notice it — and her immune system overreacted to it. With nothing better to do, it decided, incorrectly, to attack her cerebellum, impacting her movement center.
She will be out of school for at least a week, more likely two, and will need near constant attention for at least a few days. Because of all of this, my schedule and availability are likely to be complicated for a while. Hopefully this won’t be too big a problem for folks, but I have to do what I have to do…
On top of all that, I’m in the process of moving into a new office. My stuff is all in place, and my Internet service has been moved, but I need to get some painting done before I can start really setting up.