Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Just Breathe

I keep telling Alex that all he has to do is keep breathing...

That's a little harder for him to do now that he has fluid inside his lungs. The "pleural effusion" they drained yesterday was fluid between the lung and the chest wall. We weren't happy with the fact that draining that stuff out didn't result in a marked improvement in his oxygen saturation levels. Dr. O'Mara ordered a full contrast CT scan to see what was up inside our boy. We found no blood clots, no internal bleeding, and no abscesses. What we did find is that he now has fluid inside his lungs, a.k.a. pneumonia. Now, this fluid doesn't necessarily have any bacteria growing in it, yet, but its presence does make it harder for Alex to breathe and oxygenate his blood.

They can't suck the fluid out because the procedure is more invasive than his present oxygen saturation levels can tolerate. So the best we can do is give him an antibiotic known to kill the bugs most likely to want to grow in his lungs, give him a blood transfusion to help replace the blood they draw daily for tests, stop the blood thinner he was on when we worried about clots, and rock and roll him in his bed to get the fluid to break up and shift. Once it has broken up, he'll be able to reabsorb it into his system, like a sponge sucking up water instead of trying to suck up jello.

All of this will take time. Once his oxygenation levels are better, we can think about doing the tracheostomy and start waking him up and weaning him. But his system can't handle the shock of a surgical procedure, even a minor one, right now, so we have to let his body kick this thing.

The good news is, his heart is still strong, his kidneys are still working, his digestive system is kicking in, and his fever this afternoon was the lowest it's been since this whole thing began 3 weeks ago. This guy just keeps on fighting. He is double-tough.

Alex's brother Martin, who went through a horrendous accident and equally horrendous recovery, says that "Every thought is a molecule." Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.


  1. Dear One, I just read of your sadness, over on the I Want To Be June Cleaver blog. She asked her readers to come over and leave you a note of encouragement.

    All my best wishes to you and your husband, as you go through this terrible ordeal.


    And gentle hugs,
    Aunt Amelia

  2. Hi Nancy
    You dont have to post this comment.
    I just wanted you to know I read Alex's blog and see that he had a bout of diverticulitis. My mum in law had her colon burst about 10 years ago from this and ended up with the same issue your husband is having now. She was in ICU for 30 days and we didn't know during that time if we'd have her with us any more since she was kept sedated and it alwasy seemed like her stats would be up and down any time of the day...she did have a trach tube in though. She made it out of the hospital about day 45 and 10 years later, she is living a wonderful, active 70 year old life...she gets her check ups and makes sure she eats well. It was a slow road to recovery, a few weeks till she could get around to having full energy and such, but she did and is thriving...and I shall be praying that Alex does to. Hang in there, remember to breathe yourself and talk to him often...mom said she didn't much remember what we said, but she knew we were there. Hugs to you and yours...Mrs. Bee

  3. Thank you so much, Aunt Amelia; the vintage community is full of so many kind souls. I must write "June" a thank you note!


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