Saturday, October 27, 2007

Today at the Circus

I know I should have posted an entry yesterday, but I was so tired when I got home last night. Mom was more awake yesterday which was encouraging. The doctor on the floor yesterday did a ventilator weaning trial in the morning. Mom lasted a little less than an hour, but then she became anxious and her respiration rate went up. They chose not to do anymore weaning yesterday. The doctor was pretty negative and told me that she would probably not wean off the vent. This kinda ticked me off, because he'd never seen mom prior to this hospitalization. The other doctors, the ones who have seen her before, all say that they believe she will come off the vent.

Her cousin Anne sent a care package with a Honey-Baked Ham, some pecan tarts, tea biscuits, pear preserves she'd made and cheese straws. Gary had called to let us know the package had arrived yesterday afternoon. I told mom what was in the package. She was pretty hungry at this point. But boy, when I mentioned cheese straws, she picked up her pad and pen and wrote, "I WANT CHEESE STRAWS!" I told her she needed to get the tube out so she could eat. She then wrote. "CHEEEEEESE STRAAAAAWWWWS!" This went on for about 15 minutes. (The only person who likes cheese straws more than me is my mother!) Needless-to-say, she is very motivated to get the tube out so she can have cheese straws.

Today Aunt Nell and I went to the hospital. Mom looked great. She's rehydrated and very alert; writing notes and joking. At 8am they turned down the rate on her vent to 8 (that means 8 breaths per minute.) She is consistently breathing over the vent, but they are concerned that she isn't taking in enough volume in air. See, her lungs have been compressed so long by the fluid that she's had very little volume, so she compensated by breathing faster. Now that they have drained some of the fluid, she can take in more air, but she has to retrain herself to do it. This morning they drained more fluid out of the left lung. They did this to give her a little extra reserve to help her wean. She did very well. After a few hours, she started to breathe much faster. I held her hand and told her to 'breathe in and out, nice and slow, nice deep breaths.' After about a minute, she was able to slow down her breathing on her own. This happened a second time and we were able to talk her down from a panic that time as well. Every hour or so, we worked on taking nice deep breaths to get those muscles around her ribs used to working again. By the end of the day, they lowered the rate on the ventilator down to 4. She continued to breath on her own over the vent very well. She just did so fabulously today! It will probably take a few days to wean her and get the tube out, mostly because she needs to work on taking a bigger volume of air, but she is very determined to get that tube out and get home.

Her nurse today was Bob. He was just fantastic! He knew just how to 'handle' her. Her cousin had included a pink cowgirl hat in the goodies she sent. Mom insisted on wearing it all day. Bob called it her 'party hat' and said she could wear it only if he was invited to the party. She teased him, but wrote a note to me that said "great nurse!" I agree.

She got a call from Sandra today (see earlier blog entry's.) She had called my cell phone to see how mom was doing and I called and gave her the number of the phone in the room. Mom had been asking about her the previous day, so I thought it would be good for mom to hear her voice. I held the phone to mom's ear while Sandra spoke. Mom was able to mouth or write words for me to say back to Sandra.

We are back again tomorrow. When we left tonight, I gave mom homework. I told her that while she's awake I wanted her to do breathing exercises for at least 5 minutes every hour... Nice deep breaths to work those muscles. You know she will. She's pretty feisty!

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