The baclofen pump surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday, Feb. 10. Paul will stay in the hospital (UT Southwestern/Zale Lipshy) at least one night, maybe two but at this point we don't know. Once the pump is installed, I believe that the doctor will want to watch him as the first doses of baclofen are distributed via the pump and then fine-tune the amount and what time he receives the baclofen. We are excited but, as I said, a little scared. Paul has expressed sadness that he will have to have this device in his body but we've tried to assure him that, if it allows him to get stronger, gives him more control over his body, and, hopefully, walk with less assistance, than it will be worth it.
Paul's short-term memory continues to slowly improve. We've learned that we have different types of memory and each is located in different areas of the brain. A doctor at Pate explained it, in very simple terms, by using this as an example: You have a doctor's appointment in the morning. One part of your brain stores the information that you went to the doctor, another stores the information about what the doctor looked like, and yet another will store the information about what the doctor said. Basically, it comes down to taste, smell, vision, hearing, and physical feeling - all are stored in different areas of the brain. If one of these areas of the brain is not working properly for Paul then that leads to confusion when he tries to put the pieces together. He is currently being tested to see if it can be determined which areas are affected so that we can help him with those specific memories.
That said, Paul's longer-term memory continues to amaze me. We went to see one of the doctors for the first time at Pate here in Dallas. The moment we walked in, both Paul and I, and the doctor, knew that we all knew each other from somewhere but couldn't figure out where. We went through the usual scenarios of work, school, neighborhood, etc. but still couldn't figure it out. Then, near the end of the visit, Paul spelled out O-L-D D-A-Y... and before he could finish we realized it was from Buzz's daycare. Her son was in Buzz's class for a time but that was almost three years ago. So, the dynamics of the brain and all that Paul can and cannot do continues to fascinate and frustrate at the same time.
Please think of Paul, and say a prayer for him, next Tuesday around 3:30 pm as he goes in for his surgery. It is minor surgery but could bring about some major changes.