Philip's story:

"I suffered a head injury during PT while on staff at CFB Borden. As a result of the concussion, I needed brain surgery. This was delayed for 2 months because the service doctor insisted my constant vomiting and dizziness was due to the flu. I had been working in the Tool Crib at 16 Wing as a 524 Avionics Technician. Shortly after my surgery, and a shunt had been implanted and run to my stomach, we found the fluid was not being absorbed and so I returned to my neuro surgeon for a revision. The Shunt was then rerouted to my pleural cavity. A week later I could hardly breath and so back down for an emergency revision. The fluid was not being absorbed by the pleural cavity. An intern did a culture of my spinal fluid and found a fungal infection. I was immediately put on Amphotericin B. Further investigation by a cleanup company in the hangar that I had worked in found toxic heavy metals, fungals, and the like in the ventilation system of my place of work. Also, one of my doctors (I was now seeing several) had treated a corporal also from 16 hangar (my hangar) with the exact same strain of fungus as mine. Considering that we had never been on the same base before, the odds of that were astronomical. Unfortunately, he died of his injuries.

Around this time, several of my internal organs started to shut down, so I was being supplemented for everything to keep it all going. In spite of this, I acquired what looked like a deep tan but what was the result of my adrenal glands shutting down.

Because of the high cost of keeping me in a bed in Sunnybrook, the Bhosp AdminO decided I should return to base Borden “if all I'm doing is lying in a bed anyway.” Thus, I came back to base and spent several weeks being supervised here. Once my doctor in Sunnybrook found out I had been moved, she phoned the Bhosp AdminO and, after tearing a strip off him, got me moved back to Sunnybrook.

This time at Sunnybrook I was there for a total of about 3 months, most of which was spent in the neuro-intensive care ward (NICU). While there, my neuro surgeon tried several different shunts in me, each one trying to ascertain exactly how much excess fluid my brain was putting out. I finally checked out of there in October of 2003 weighing only 111 lbs. Even though I ate everything I was served in the hospital, so much of my time was spent in a coma state that my weight fell dramatically.

Once back at base, my doctor (now Dr. Rodrigues) looked after me and set me up with a standing order of drink supplements for each meal to assist in putting some weight back on. He also put me on Topamax (Topiramate), a drug that reduces the amount of spinal fluid produced in the brain.

I went for my 9th brain surgery and shunt revision in April 2010. It had the effect of draining almost all fluid from my brain ventricles. This was confirmed by CT scan. Now I am waiting to be scheduled for my 10th surgery where Dr. Fazl (also in Sunnybrook) will put in a shunt and pump that removes less fluid.

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