New word for the day: Atelectasis

When Trish told me she went ahead and bought an extended parking pass here at UCLA last week, I wondered whether it would be cost-effective.  Well, turns out it was as we’re going to be here a bit longer.  Rudy’s o2 sats have continued to be low throughout the day and he hasn’t been able to wean off of oxygen.  The culprit is atelectasis, a fancy word for a kind of partial collapse in his lung.  Not as scary as it sounds, but it really would be best to send him home breathing room air (21% O2), he’s at 30% right now.

The best theory I’ve heard for the pathology of this is that he very likely had some kind of virus (indicated by high fever) which ran it’s course but left him needing to recover his respiratory function.  Dr. Mary said that the average baby is sick 40-50% of their first year with some kind of bug or another, but since Rudy is a bit compromised they can upset his system more than normal kids.  In addition, the trach doesn’t allow him to maintain pressure in his lungs like the rest of us can, so this can cause some of those small passages in the lungs to close down.  But all of them need to be working to bring sufficient oxygen into the blood.

The good news is that Rudy doesn’t appear to need a major intervention (like the vent) to push air in.  He does get regular breathing treatments and suctioning, but the key treatment is known as “Chest PT–Q3”.  Bypassing all of the sophisticated technology and highly trained people here in the ICU, Chest PT is essentially the act of playing the bongos on Rudy’s chest and back for five minutes every three hours to loosen up his lungs.  I politely listened while Nurse Carlin gave me my orientation and was pleased with how quickly I caught on–there’s even a rubber percussive thingy I can use if I want to change up the sound.  Rudy actually really likes it and just lays back and closes his eyes while I thump around.  So far there isn’t a written policy about impersonating Ricky Ricardo, but if I keep it up it may fast become a guideline.  So, this is how we will combat our newest foe:  Atelectasis, you have met your match–Babaloo!!!!

It’s just past 9PM on Monday and I’ll give Rudy his night bottle and then make the drive home in order to change assignments with Trish.  Please pray that we’ll get over this hiccup and be back together at home again soon.

12 thoughts on “New word for the day: Atelectasis

  1. Well Rudy, I have always loved I Love Lucy, maybe you can watch in sometime. We are still praying for you big guy.
    Hugs and Kisses.

  2. You guys come to a detour, and you handle it with courage, faith and a wonderful sense of humor. I hope you have some idea of what an incredible inspiration you are to so many of us following you in this journey.

    Bongo away, Rickie!! And to heck with Atelectasis!


  3. I can’t wait until you can yell, “Luuuuuuuuuuucy, I’m home!!” again as you walk in the door in SB with Rudy. Prayers.

  4. thining the same thing…I Love Lucy, I Love Rudy. Prayers for all of you, as we know; the whole family needs them, thining of all of you, Dawn’s Mom

  5. Sounds like you caught the lung issue quickly and it is something that can be resolved. When we were heading in for Nick’s third surgery (I think!) he had this issue. We were sent home to continue the bongos with a oxygen mask to use on his back! Glad they have upgraded to a “rubber percussive thingy!” Continued prayers for recovery! And for the family dealing with the “ships passing in the night” parenting!

  6. thinning or THINKING, hope I put a smile on your face again, plus my daughters….I have a few more grey hairs than she does, so I can make more mistakes…..prayers and strength, Dawn’s Mom

  7. Oh Rudy… must your family learn every word in the medical dictionary?? Atelectasis. That’s a new one for me!

    PRAYING that this hiccup ends soon and you can get home before the Glenn!


  8. Ruuuuuudy, you have some “splaining’ to do (LOL!). Obviously, I am a die-hard I Love Lucy fan!! I know Desi Arnaz (Ricky Ricardo) would be proud! I pray for this latest Rudy episode to wane pronto so you all can be together is SB! Love and prayers to all of you.


  9. Glad to hear that Rudy likes the drumming on his chest and back…I’m sure Wilson’s skill will come in handy there! Won’t Rudy will love being drummed on by big brother!

    Still praying this will all resolve soon and you’ll be home together where you belong–not using that long term parking pass!

    Love, prayers and blessings to you all!

  10. I just realized the OT Nicole is the Nicole R. that worked with me here at Cottage! What a small world! The slide show is wonderfull ! You both are so inspiring…may God richly bless you!

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