Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What Comes Up...

Alex is getting a little better every day, but this first week of being awake has been rough so far. Hopefully easier days are ahead, and I'll be able to leave him and come back to work.

Right now he's needing someone with him at all times; I didn't expect that at this point in the process. He's coughing up the fluid from his pneumonia, and is constantly choking on his tracheostomy tube. It's scary and exhausting for him. I've become a "suction expert," clearing his tube before he starts hyperventilating. I think I'll have an honorary nursing degree before we're done here!

I'm spending nights in his hospital room jumping up to suction his tube clear so he doesn't panic. We're both exhausted, but unfortunately this is an unavoidable part of the process.

While he passed the "bedside swallow test" yesterday by successfully swallowing some water, some applesauce, and a small piece of cracker, he failed today's "more scientific" swallow test. The speech pathologist gave him some applesauce with blue food dye in it so that we could see whether he's aspirating things... and 15 minutes later he coughed blue goo out of his trach tube. Shoot.

It could just be that he's REALLY exhausted today; he hasn't had much energy at all. Not much talking, too much coughing, and they didn't even put him in his chair today, he was that tired. His mom had night duty last night, and she said he didn't sleep at all. He just coughed and choked most of the night. I think he's managed to get a little sleep today, but it's hard to tell. He certainly has spent a lot of the day coughing.

This part of the process really sucks. I hope we're through with it soon, but there's no way to know how long it will take. I'm home for a little while to take care of the cats, who are not adjusting well to the new food I'm slowly introducing into their diet; now I have cats with diarrhea who are getting dehydrated! I'll go back to the hospital to my night shift soon. Hopefully the nurse will hear him coughing from out at her station; they don't get in there very quickly, I hate to say.


Bulldog Pottery said...

Hang in there. I hope Alex can get some sleep and stop coughing and start swallowing really soon. I bet your cats miss you and your families regular routine. We are thinking about you all and wait to hear that Alex passes the "more scientific" swallow test.

Patricia Griffin said...

Oh no, the cat problem is just too much. You sure don't need that right now! I'm glad to hear Alex is getting better, and sure that has something to do with the excellent bedside nursing he's getting from you. Hope today goes well and you both get a little rest.

Alex Solla said...

Thank you for your encouragement and support! Alex failed the "dye test" swallowing evaluation; they fed him applesauce tinted blue to see if he would aspirate it, and sure enough he coughed blue goo out of his trach tube. They're going to retest him on Monday, so keep your fingers crossed.

Rest is on my agenda for tonight. I'm guiltily staying home and sleeping. Luckily the ICU has only 7 patients tonight, so the nurse/patient ratio is very high and I know Alex will get good care while I'm gone.