Today Lacey found this article about her surgeon online, I thought I would share it with you.
Photo courtesy of NOAH FELL
Senior Noah Fell in a hospital room after life-saving brain surgery for a ruptured AVM, an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain.
Photo courtesy of NOAH FELL
Noah Fell received this scar after his AVM ruptured and he underwent brain surgery.
When 22-year-old Noah Fell asked his friends to hang out for a few minutes longer, it saved his life.
In July, senior Fell was in his Orange home when he suffered from an arteriovenous malformation, also known by its acronym, AVM.
An AVM is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain that in this case caused a vein in Fell’s brain to rupture.
“Many people say that there were a series of miracles that occurred that kept me alive,” wrote Fell in an e-mail.
A few weeks before his AVM ruptured, Fell was traveling through Europe. When he returned, Fell came to Orange instead of to Hanalei, Hawaii, where he normally is with his family at the time - and where no neurosurgeon is present. When the incident occurred, Fell was with two friends, one of whom, Bryson Pintard, had recently followed paramedics for research for a film.
“My girlfriend and my friend were going to leave five minutes before my AVM ruptured,” Fell said. “But I convinced them both to stay and watch T.V.”
While Fell’s girlfriend called the paramedics, Pintard was able to hold Fell down and move him onto his side so he would be able to continue breathing. Once the paramedics arrived they took Fell to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana where Dr. Peyman Tabrizi was working, even though it was his day off. Tabrizi studied AVMs for his fellowship and decided to operate on Fell, despite the fact that the emergency room nurse was about to declare him dead on arrival.
After several surgeries and a drug-induced coma, friends and family didn’t know what to expect.
“While in the coma, we didn’t know who he would be afterwards,” said roommate and junior Robert Amidon.
Amidon visited Fell on the second day of his coma and remembers seeing 20 to 30 different intravenous lines and respirators going in his body to keep him alive.
“It looked like he would wake up any second, but you know he was in the deepest sleep,” Amidon said. “When you’re brain dead, you don’t come back. And he did.”
Gail Griswold, Fell’s professor for introduction to typography, visited him a few weeks after the AVM ruptured was amazed to see him acting the same way he had been.
“It was astonishing to see that he has perfectly retained his relaxed, happy and very sweet personality and sense of humor,” wrote Griswold in an e-mail. “In spite of every difficult thing that has happened to his brain, he is the same super nice guy we all love.”
Since the rupture, Fell has had to re-learn everyday activities. He goes to speech, occupational, physical and recreational therapy daily to learn things such as the days of the week, numbers and matching faces to names.
“The easiest part of my recovery is that I am driven everywhere,” Fell wrote. “The support of my family and friends has been the best recovery for me.”
Every time Amidon is with Fell, he sees it as a way to help him.
“He’s always in therapy, even while he’s with his friends,” Amidon said. “I’ve hung out with him, and he’ll be fumbling, and you have to help him find the right word, but then he catches on.”
Fell plans on returning to Chapman as soon as he is physically able to finish his degree.
“The thought of returning to Chapman is what motivates me to work so hard,” he wrote. “It’s hard to know that I’m going to be at school longer than I anticipated…I’m going to have to re-learn a number of things that came to me easily before with graphic design.”
Griswold and Fell are working together during his recovery period to jumpstart re-learning the techniques he needs for graphic design.
“[Fell] and I have recently started work on design projects over the internet to help with his language, get him comfortable with computer programs again, and keep up his design skills so he can get back to school as soon as possible,” Griswold said.
After graduating, Fell plans to continue working at Dwindle, an international skateboard distributor, where he was interning before his AVM ruptured.
The lessons he learns through his recovery motivates him every day, and will continue with him for the rest of his life, Fell wrote.
“Different things are important to me now. I appreciate more things as well. I am learning patience,” he wrote. “I have vision problems, but I’m so thankful that I’m not blind … being positive has helped me through this recovery process greatly.”
Contact this reporter: ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■