My 55-year-old husband had a shunt placed in 1990 (age 37) and the neurosurgeon said there was no obvious reason from the scans why his spinal fluid had built up within a two-week period causing severe headaches and finally vomiting. At the beginning of surgery his spinal fluid pressure was -1. Anyway, within a couple days of surgery he raised up from the hospital bed and pointing toward the ceiling uttered a breathy "Wow" as though he were seeing something amazing. This episode only lasted a few seconds and then he was back to himself. His recovery from surgery was excellent--he was back to work in one week and playing racquetball again in two weeks and has been fine in every way but one these 18 years. That brings me to my question. Over the years he has continued to have these "Wow" experiences. Then about three years ago he had an episode where he became agitated and experienced what I call a "Blank" where he looses touch with reality. It seems like his brain stops in time. He realizes something is amiss and asks me over and over questions like, "What's happening?" "How did I get here?" "When did this start?" "What was I doing?" He repeats the same questions right after I answer them and this lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The agitation he feels and his insistence on knowing the answers to his questions is strong. The problem is he doesn't remember the answers I give him and asks the same questions over and over in rapid succession. Has anyone else experienced anything like this and what can be done--these Blank episodes seem to have taken place of the Wow episodes and are getting longer. Thanks!
It is very hard to pinpoint all of these episodes to the VP shunt. These manifestations may be attributed to the primary problem that he had before the shunt was placed in the first place (stroke? pseudotumor? infection?) I believe that there is also some form of mild depression that should be addressed by counseling and some anti-depressant medications. The forgetfulness may also be related to the primary problem. People who had previous strokes have what they call 'vascular dementia' which may be very hard to treat or reverse. I suggest that you inform his neurologist about these episodes and keep close contact with him.
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