Monday, November 24, 2008

Early thoughts on Max and his hydrocephalus

As described earlier, Max has a condition common to premature infants: hydrocephalus resulting from bleeding into his ventricles. He'll most likely have to have a shunt to control the pressure in his brain. If the Internet is to be believed, something like one million Americans have hydrocephalus and many of them have some form of shunt. In other words, casual empiricism suggests that hundreds of thousands of people are walking around this country with shunts in their brains.

Although we've only started investigating the condition, again, evidence from the Internet suggests that kids with hydrocephalus at birth have a variety of outcomes. Some have fairly significant cognitive and physical problems. Others appear unaffected. We don't yet know the frequency distribution across these outcomes.

As parents, we naturally want Max to have all the brainpower and physical abilities required for him to achieve his own hopes and dreams. We'll be gathering more information about the range of outcomes Max can expect, and how factors, such as physical and occupation therapy, that are under our control, can influence these outcomes.

We already know, however, the most important fact determining Max's future. He is our son.