Sunday, November 14, 2010

The PICU stay

Thank you for your kind words and comments in regards to my last post. It really and truly was the scariest (hours long) moment of my life. It happened so fast and was so serious even the doctors thought it must be something besides croup. They sent out blood-work and respiratory viral panels that tested for all sorts of different viruses and bacterias.

I managed to sleep a bit between the hours of 3:30 and 5:00, but the new shift began at 5:00 and so the nurses came in to check on him, read his chart and introduce themselves to me. At this point he was out of the woods, but the processing had just began for me. I had a hard time closing my eyes because I saw the trauma unit, or if I opened my eyes I saw my baby not moving with tubes all over. Not being able to hold him was absolutely painful.

When Kevin got back at 7:30 I remarked to him that I had never gone this long without holding him. That Monday was a lot of processing for both of us. We both would cry at the drop of a hat.

By Monday afternoon, he was already beginning to breathe over the tube. The doctor made the decision to keep him under for at least another day, to ensure that the swelling had gone down. They didn't want to take the tube out only to have to re-intubate him because he was having trouble. Monday night on into Tuesday morning it became apparent that the swelling had gone down so much that the "title volume" on his respiratory machine was not getting the numbers the respiratory therapist wanted to be seeing. This was actually a good thing, it meant that he was breathing over the tube, and not a lot of his air was going through the tube, this also meant the tube would be coming out earlier than planned. Yay!

They began the process of weaning him off the sedatives around Midnight Tuesday morning. He would wake up once an hour or so, and I would jump off my bed and get him to calm down, stop fighting the tube, close his eyes and he would fall back asleep. I had sent Kevin home again to get some good sleep, and ended up calling him back into the hospital around 2:00 am. By 6:00 am with the new shift on, and more people in the hospital, they were ready to extubate him. The doctor wanted to him to wake up on his own before they took the tube out. They needed him to be able to fight aggressively to breathe.

He did fight, and the tube came out. He turned to me, and said "Carry You." Which is how he asks me to pick him up. The nurses were like, yes, hold him. He reached out his arms to me and I got to hold my baby for the first time in 32 hours. I was crying, and so thankful that I was getting to hold him close to me. I gave him his breathing treatments and he fell asleep in my arms. About three hours later the nurse asked if I wanted to put him down in bed and get some rest. We put him into bed and I fell asleep on the couch.

Later on, after he woke up, he ended up pulling out both of his IV's. Luckily the doctor said we didn't need to put them back as long as we could get lots of fluids down him. They brought in a new big bed (instead of a crib), so that I could sleep in bed with him. We ordered lunch to the room, then all of us fell asleep for a solid two hours. It was definitely the best Kevin and I had slept since the weekend. After we woke up and spent some time hanging out with a very angry, clingy, not feeling great Jameson, Kevin had to go home to work on his lectures for the next day. Jameson spent the rest of the day sleeping off and on. The nurse was afraid he wouldn't sleep that night, but really we had no trouble.

All the doctors and nurses were shocked at his rate of recovery, from how quickly the swelling receded to how fast he began breathing on his own. He was definitely a fighter. They began to talk about releasing him the next day. This was great news! Jameson and I slept like babies that night, him curled into me.

Wednesday morning at 5:45 am Jameson woke up crying that he wanted to go home. "Doh hoooooome." I convinced him to go back to sleep, but every time he woke up he said he wanted to go home. The doctor showed up at 9:30 and talked with us, told us that to their surprise this was just an acute case of the croup. There was no other virus that showed up. In his opinion, we were free to go home after the discharge papers were signed. Whoo-hoo!

I called Kevin who was teaching from 8:00-10:00 at the University. He had a break from 10:00-12:00, so he drove down and picked us up and we were home at 10:30. It was such a great feeling having him home! It had felt like the longest few days of our lives!

A week later he is nearly 100%. His cough is almost gone, and he is up playing around like he was before the croup. I can definitely say, that he was tired those first few days home and just wanted to veg in front of the TV (we let him), but now all he wants to do is "pway cars, pway football, pway basketball, pway tennis." So I feel confident my little guy is back, however, he is clingy, and doesn't like to be far from me and Kevin and we have had no problem pulling him into our bed each night when we sleep to keep a close eye on his breathing.

Life can change in an instant, we found that out all too well, but it definitely helps re-prioritize what matters, which is each other. There is no limit to the amount of money we would pay to have him healthy, it never even crossed our minds. We were so well taken care of in the hospital, from the minute we stepped in to the minute we stepped out, the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, even the housekeeping staff were all amazing. I don't think I will ever be able to express my gratitude for their part in helping to heal my son.

Sunday, a week ago, seems like ages ago, and I am very happy to put it behind us and just enjoy my boys!


Sarah said...

Wow, again with the tears streaming down my face. What a week you have had!! I am so thankful Jameson is running around, you all are home, and everyone is healthy. What a blessing! I will keep him in my prayers and hope that you never have an experience like that again.

Patti said...

SO so glad that he is home safe and sound. Praise the Lord, He is faithful!!!!

Bridget said...

That is so scary. I am so so so glad everything is ok. I will keep this in mind - my oldest tends to have breathing/cough problems and I have never considered that it could get so serious so fast. Thanks for the detail.