The ventilator totally blows–literally and figuratively. There have been some bumps over the last couple of days some of which led to Rudy getting put back on the vent late this afternoon. This morning began with a likely unrelated concern over his kidneys as some of the blood pressure and antibiotic meds impeded their function. Late yesterday, the team started him on Lasix and his renal function has steadily been returning. We’ve learned his kidneys are hearty and resilient and they’re proving to live up to their reputation once again.
The team has naturally been watching his breathing very closely and grew increasingly concerned with the way his right lung looked on Xray. They did an ultrasound which ruled out a return of the dreaded chylothorax, but that made it clear that there was an accumulation of mucus in his right lung. Over several hours, they noticed he wasn’t able to cough much (which would clear the lungs) and appeared only able to derive benefit from one lung (which caused his oxygen saturation to fall lower than acceptable.) While we could have waited things out longer, Dr. Robert felt it best to address the situation now rather than face a distress scenario later on.
Putting Rudy back on the vent allows the team to expand the lungs fully and effectively suction out the lung. His time back on the vent could be relatively brief (we’ve come to expect this to mean a few days) so please pray to that end—that Rudy would have a good rest and that the treatments would help the lungs expand and function properly. It’s tough to see Rudy have to be re-intubated after such a long stretch off the ventilator, but we have gained the knowledge from this week that Rudy can breathe on his own—there are no physiological issues limiting his lung function. While here waiting for the relatively brief intubation procedure to be done, I just got a call from the unit that Dr. Robert decided to place an arterial line in Rudy so they could get accurate readings on blood pressure and saturation levels. As it’s getting to be 6:30, it looks like I’m going to have another one of those pre-occupied dinners.
So the burden of waiting patiently is still ours. I’ve wondered some about what it must be like for Rudy—to lie there patiently during the early months of life when babies are probably held more than not. Holding him at any time is great, but there’s a rigidness about him when he’s intubated that greatly diminishes the cuddling one can do. Fortunately, it took one of the necessary people for the re-intubation a while to get to the unit after they paged him, so I took the time to pick up Rudy once more and stood there holding him up against my chest for half an hour. His little hands clenched onto my shirt and I felt his breath against my chest as his lungs worked back and forth. I kissed his head and prayed that God would somehow extend the impact longer than the actual act. I want him to know that this is what it means to be with Mommy and Daddy. We’re not just two faces that come into focus more often than the others around the bedside. I want him to feel the vibration of my voice from having his head against my chest instead of just hearing my words coming through the white noise of the ventilator. It hurt to put him down, but my prayer as I did was that the feelings of being close to us this week would summon the instinct to fight his way quickly back for more.
Just to remind us all that this is temporary, here’s a couple of pictures and a video from the special moments these last few days. We’ll look forward to many more!