This morning after he arrived, Dr. Fanning thought that Vivian's latest chest x-ray looked sufficient enough to take her off the ventilator so he discontinued her feeds and her sedation. I walked in at 11:20 from my own doctor's appointment and was just in time for the extubation, which took place at 11:28. The removal of the ventilation tube was much quicker and easier than I'd expected; it was the moments afterward that were dramatic: as they suctioned Vivian and connected her to a nasal canula with oxygen and we all waited for her to breathe on her own. Once Vivian took a couple of breaths, we collectively turned our attention to the computer monitor displaying her vital signs. Fortunately Vivian's oxygen saturation levels were very good and her breathing fell into a good steady rhythm. Vivian's vocal chords were swollen from the irritation of the tube from the past 12 days so Dr. Fanning gave her some steroids to help them recover.
The next four hours Robert and I held our breath and hoped and prayed that Vivian wouldn't have to be reintubated. We cheered and celebrated when the respiratory therapist removed the ventilator from our room, indicating she and the doctor did not expect Vivian to need it any longer. Hooray!
The remainder of the day was pretty stressful for Vivian and thus for Robert and me. Vivian rested quietly for about ten minutes at a time, but then she would need to cough and her blood pressure would go up as she began to thrash around in confusion and discomfort. I think it must be very painful for Vivian to cough, but it is vitally important that she clear the rest of the thick fluids from her throat and lungs. Vivian seems to be comforted by our voices and touch so Robert and I spent much of the day and evening jumping up from our chairs, holding Vivian's arms and soothingly coaxing her to cough like a big girl. It is agonizing to watch Vivian like this.
Though Vivian remains quite groggy while the sedation medications that kept her quiet and peaceful for the past two weeks work their way out of her system, she has responded to our commands to cough and seemingly has recognized Robert's and my voices. Vivian made several attempts to form words but was not able to speak due to the residual medications and her very sore throat.
Robert and I did not feel comfortable leaving Vivian alone, so we took shifts coming home for dinner. Robert is spending the night with Vivian at the hospital tonight, and I plan to relieve him as soon as I wake up.
Please offer sincere praise that Vivian's extubation went well, that she is able to breathe well on her own and that she is responding as well as we could expect given the trauma she has endured the past few weeks. I feel fairly confident that Vivian did not suffer any brain injury due to her fever, but we won't know that with certainty until she has an EEG (likely tomorrow afternoon or Thursday) and emerges from the effects of the long-term sedation.
Pray that Vivian's lungs and vocal chords would heal quickly and completely and that Vivian would be able to rest quietly and in less discomfort and pain. Please continue to pray for Vivian's brain to be protected throughout this ordeal. I also ask you to pray that I lean completely on God for my strength, hope and peace, given that my own personal supply of each was depleted some time ago. Robert could also use your prayers, though predictably he is bearing up much better than I am through all of this.
With love and appreciation to each of you and with thanks and praise to our Heavenly Father.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. Psalm 28:7
Married for 27 years to Robert, three kids: Will (23), Vivian (20) and Dots (17) ~~~~
Majored in mathematics at SMU, taught elementary school for six years before Will was born, currently tutoring math ~~~~
Things I enjoy: playing duplicate bridge, working NY Times crossword puzzles, reading good books, entertaining, visiting with friends, planning trips, traveling, playing board games, spending time with family, cooking, keeping up with old friends ~~~ happy to correspond with other parents about raising a child with special needs
I unintentionally contaminated all of the pictures on my blog when I changed my privacy settings on Flickr. I am working backwards to correct them all, but it is quite a tedious procedure! If you encounter a post with error messages from Flickr where the pictures should be, then I haven't gotten to that post yet. Please let me know and I will update it immediately. Thanks for your patience!