The fluids thing was easy. Following Mal's early morning surgery Monday to have the ventriculostomy tube removed from her head, they allowed her IV to also be disconnected. She still had the port there in her vein, just not connected to anything. So, every time she told me she didn't want a drink, I told her that she needed to take a drink or the nurse would have to come and hook her "arm tube" back up and she would start guzzling. It worked wonders, but I am sure I cursed myself. Dollars to donuts that the next time she has to have an IV, she will start yelling for a drink (or in Mal terms, "A Dink! A Dink!") so she can get the IV taken off.
The holding food down was another matter. Mal threw up two of her three meals on Saturday, but after being put on Zofran for anti-nausea on Sunday she kept all her meals down. However, Dr. Smyth said that nausea is a common side effect for someone who just had a tumor removed where Mal did, because it has thrown off the balance in her nerve center. Her body had gotten accustomed to having the pressure from the tumor there, so now that it is gone she is going to have to readjust. After Monday morning's procedure to remove the tube, Mal held down her lunch and dinner on her own with no drugs. We thought we were on line for a Tuesday lunch at home, but Mal was not able to stomach her breakfast Tuesday morning. We were doomed; destined to sleep another night at the hospital.
But then the doctors decided that holding three consecutive meals down was overrated, and that Mal needed to eat a good lunch, and then she could go home. So, in turn, Mal then basically refused to eat lunch. She ate a quarter of a yogurt and a pack of baby food applesauce, but nothing of substance. The doctors convened again, and decided if she ate a good snack after nap she could go home. I'm pretty sure that if she didn't eat a snack the doctors would have then said, "Well, she's still breathing, so let's go ahead and send her home," but Mal made the comically moving target stop by eating a nice snack and punching her ticket home.
Rachel and I were pretty worried about Mal coming home because she still was not herself over the last week since the surgeries. She was speaking, but in small sentences - only one to two words here and there. Also, she was not moving all that well, but the doctors assured us she would do better at home. I winked and pretended to believe, but still worried. But as soon as we got Mal in the car seated next to her brother and headed home, she morphed into another girl. She started chatting it up with Micah in the backseat, then got home and ran (gingerly) a few laps around the house, hugged the dog and then ate the biggest dinner I have seen her eat in a month. Rachel and I seriously considered cutting her off at least three times, but we kept letting her eat, and she never got sick. It's true, there's no place like home!
Epilogue: So, no story ever ends that conveniently, right? Mal made it about 18 hours home from the hospital before we had to take her back in there. Today her incision along the back of her head swelled up so we called Dr. Smyth. He asked to take a look at her to see if it had gotten infected. However, luckily for us it was just a pooling of fluid near the area where the tumor was removed. He said it should go down in a few days, and just to be careful with it - so apparently no tackle football for Mal tomorrow on Thanksgiving. Bummer.