The unexpected drop and then recovery
So last Friday night mom and I spent some much needed time together at Lake Wawasee, our consistent place to go for refreshment. Our time was blessed but cut short when Mom received a few calls on Saturday. In the morning, he had a coughing fit and needed a few medicines to get it under control. They also did a chest xray just in case which showed his lungs were clear. Then a call came midmorning that he had a low grade temp and seemed very tired so they got him back into bed. Finally, at 3pm we received a call that he wasn't himself and the nurse found him with the end of his Gtube in his mouth. Mom and I expect that one of the medicines he had taken for his coughing caused hallucinations (as they've done in the past to him) and he mixed up his Gtube for his suction catheter which he's used to reaching for by his stomach. So they assumed he probably aspirated and called us right away. Mom and I immediately had the ambulance called who arrived very quickly and found his oxygen level at 67% with a heart rate at 160. Sorry to all my nonmedical friends, I might be using too much medical lingo but feel free to post questions and I can respond to them below. After they got his IV in, mom got into the ambulance and I drove up with my grandma who had happened to arrive to help mom out right as we were leaving. Needless to say, my emotions were up and down but being together with the family helped to talk things out together and encourage each other. Mom texted me while on the way to the hospital that they intubated him but his oxygen levels only came up to 75% (supposed to be about 100%). I was preparing my heart for his passing. When we arrived at the emergency room, he was taken quickly and assessed. We met the doctor and the health care team who did a great job stabilizing Dad while explaining the situation to us. His ET tube needed to be repositioned and then his oxygen levels came right up. He had aspirated from earlier and was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia. Also because of how his body was reacting and the length of time, he also was diagnosed with septic shock. He got a central line put into his neck in order to receive certain medications. He wasn't responsive any of the time since we had seen him before calling the ambulance other than some shallow coughing. But his coughing seemed a little better while on the ventilator and he seemed more restful. We were transferred to an ICU room after the treatments were started and initial testing was done. And some amazing friends and family who had heard of the situation even stopped by late that night to our ICU room. Dad was out of it but it was neat seeing some familiar faces and praying together. That was Saturday night and other than opening his eyes once or twice he rested quite a bit. It was hard to differentiate if it was due to the sedation that went along with the breathing tube or if he was just that tired from all the coughing for so long. Sunday he started responding more and more opening his eyes, occasionally even nodding yes or no. His good arm, the left arm, was tied down to prevent pulling at the tube accidentally (a normal restriction for many on ventilators). Every morning since being in the ICU they trial him off of the ventilator and see how he does. That means turning off the settings of the ventilator but keeping the tube in his throat in case he doesn't do well. Every morning he has started breathing too fast to consider removing it. But he has tolerated decreasing the amount of oxygen given every day and he is now only at 35% which is great. We are really appreciating seeing improvements each day. But we continue our base prayer together as a family asking God to help him recover if there will be quality of life for him in the future or to take him out of our control and bring him home. It's a hard prayer to voice but so much better when we're all praying it together as a family.