The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

March 7, 2013

Medical odyssey: EPS superintendent facing procedure next week in St. Louis

ENID, Okla. — The discovery of a lump on the top of his head began a medical odyssey for Enid Public Schools Superintendent Shawn Hime that will culminate in a trip to a hospital in St. Louis next week.

“I found a small, soft lump on top my head that had a pulse in it back in September or October,” Hime said. “I spoke to our director of health services and she directed me to go to the doctor immediately and get it checked out.”

After seeing his primary physician, a neurosurgeon and an interventional neuroradiologist, who then consulted with a peer at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, it was decided what treatment was needed and where it would be done.

“We probably had a specific diagnosis in mid-January,” Hime said.

Hime has an arteriovenous fistula — a malformation of blood vessels that cause blood from the site of the fistula to drain into the same veins that carry blood away from his brain. The risk is that over time, the fistula will slowly become larger and the volume of blood competing for space in the veins will increase. If nothing is done, a stroke could be the result.

Next Thursday, Hime will undergo a procedure much like an angiogram. The physician will insert a long, thin tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in his leg and thread it up to the fistula, using X-ray imaging as a guide for the catheter. He then will insert a glue-like material to block off the abnormal blood vessels. This will cause the fistula to go away.

“I feel completely blessed in the fact that I have minimal symptoms,” Hime said. “With most people, when they find this they have had a stoke or seizures of some kind. I’ve been very lucky to have had only the occasional light headache and a lump on the head.”

Hime said physicians should know right after the procedure whether it was successful, or if something further will need to be done.

“It’s not something where there’s any concern about it coming back or repeating,” Hime said.

He expects to spend one night at the hospital and then be released to rest and recuperate.

“I would normally be off work as long as it took me to get back to Enid,” Hime said. “With spring break the week following the procedure, it gives me the opportunity to rest and relax and have time with my family.”

Hime’s outlook on the upcoming medical procedure is positive.

“The way I look at it, it’s kind of like having the ability to defrag my hard drive,” Hime said. “Hopefully, I’ll speed up the processing and improve the memory.”

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