As soon as Nathan's infection had cleared, Dr. Riva-Cambrin was ready to reinsert the shunt. The plan was to reinsert it in the same spot at last time. However, since the last shunt had been infected, it is policy to move the catheter end of the shunt to the opposite side of the head. So since all of Nathan's shunts to this point had been on the left side, this time the shunt catheter would be on the right side.
The biggest problem with Nathan having a right-sided shunt was that the surgeon would have to work the tubing through the ECMO scar tissue in Nathan's neck / collar bone area, which was why the original shunt was put on the left side. It wasn't a major issue, just a minor inconvenience for the surgeon.
So as had become somewhat of an unfortunate ritual, we watched them roll Nathan away to the OR as we made our way to the waiting room.
It never becomes any easier to watch them roll your child away to surgery. And we were somewhere around the 10th surgery by this point.
After another long wait, Dr. Riva-Cambin emerged from the OR to let us know that the surgery had been successful. Again he was optimistic that the large space in which they had placed the shunt would serve as the ideal spot for the CSF to deposit. We were also optimistic, but we seemed to be getting less optimistic with each shunt failure.
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