After surgery, Brittany is in the intensive care unit (ICU) for 9 days. Her condition is critical and many ICU resources are used to ensure her survival, including: a ventilator; IVs; arterial lines; a Foley catheter; a nasogastric tube (NG tube); an EKG machine; an intracranial pressure monitor (ICP) and a pulse oximeter.
Brittany continues to be heavily medicated for pain and to keep her brain swelling to a minimum. She is partially conscious – knows where sounds and visual stimulation are coming from, is able to reach for objects with her uninjured arm, responds to commands from her parents and nurses every now and then, can vocalize at times and shows emotion. However, Brittany’s behavior is often inconsistent and she easily becomes confused and disoriented; which is so uncharacteristic of her and leaves her parents emotionally drained.
Additional tests, such as an MRI, are performed and each day new information is added to her ICU Chart.
Brittany’s recovery will continue once she leaves the ICU, but her treatment path will depend on how quickly and how well her body heals. Often mental health issues develop because of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and depend on the severity and the type of injury. Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are examples of the most common disorders associated with TBI. Regardless of her path, Brittany will spend time in a rehabilitation unit where intensive therapy will occur to help her regain some of her lost abilities and make adaptations for any physical or mental deficiencies. Brittany’s recovery from her traumatic brain injury could take months to years and she may never recover completely.