‘We’re hoping and praying the new tube will help little Nadia’

2019-01-21 13:25
Melissa and Nadya. (Photo: Supplied)

Melissa and Nadya. (Photo: Supplied)

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“A large cyst collapsed with the first drainage tube and caused it to become blocked, but this new one must work,” grandmom Christa Roos (47) says about her “sweet princess” grandchild Nadya, who was born with hydrocephalus or water on the brain, a so-called water head.

Little Nadya is nearly three years old. On 12 December a new drainage tube, or shunt, was inserted intp her brain at the Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. Christa and Nadya’s mom, Melissa (24), moved from Stellenbosch to northern suburbs Bellville to be closer to the hospital.

The shunt runs from her lower brain cavity through her neck and chest to her stomach, draining fluid from her brain for the body to naturally dispose of it.

Two days after Nadya was born on 30 April 2016 doctors at Cape Town’s Tygerberg Hospital had inserted a similar tube, but it had become inadequate for relieving pressure on her brain.

The family dearly wished the new shunt would drain the fluid faster and produce the requisite relief so she would suffer fewer epileptic fits. But shortly before two o’ clock yesterday her grandchild suffered another severe fit, Christa says.

“Her eyelids first flicker then her eyes become fixed; her little body turns rigid. It’s heart-breaking to watch. At the end of the year she got another drainage tube. She had a lot of damaged tissue in her stomach,” Christa recalls their ordeal.

"She was in terrible pain, she vomited and didn’t eat, and didn’t sleep for two days,” adds Melissa. Doctors drained the cyst and inserted a specialised drainage device.

On 14 December a scan of the little girl’s head revealed a sizeable air vacuum around her brain. This was the result of a large volume of water having suddenly been drained off and that’s why her child became so ill, Melissa explains.

Three days later, on 17 December, Nadya was discharged from hospital. “She seemed fine until 1 January. Then we noticed that water was collecting at the cuts on her head, seeping out more and more and she had a fit. The following day she started vomiting again and didn’t sleep at all.”

They suspected that the shunt might have become blocked by a piece of dried blood might. Nadya was back in the operating theatre on the afternoon of 2 January for a new shunt, and doctors learnt that “the cyst had collapsed completely and the tube had gone its own way.”

Melissa and Nadya
Melissa and Nadya

Nadya will take some time to recover completely. “Some days she’s her old self and on other days she cries a lot. Today she’s had a seizure again,” Melissa continues.

Meanwhile Nadya is back at home again. She must be at Red Cross on 6 February for a follow up visit. “We’re hoping and praying that the new drainage tube will do the trick,” Christa says.

Melissa and Nadya

Read more on:    water  |  brain and nervous system  |  brain
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