Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Waiting Game

I saw that Critical Care truck come around the corner to park and I bit my lip as I waited to read the respiratory therapist's face and to see Solomon's face once again.

Sure enough he was just as we left him at the other hospital.  Except for the rash that was now covering his body.

"It's the ketamine, Mom.  It wasn't the antibiotics like they thought at the other hospital.  He's already dosed up on Benadryl, and quite frankly the hives are pretty low on the list of concerns."

I liked this guy.  He told me everything I needed to know without playing 20 Questions. 

We followed the team up to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  They were waiting for us and everyone flew into action. 

The doctor was a middle aged man with a turban on.  He was so relaxed that I wasn't sure he had a pulse but it was strangely soothing.

We answered some basic health questions and he told us the plan.  We were going to leave Solomon sedated for at least 24 hours.  They would do a breathing treatments as needed.  And they changed his sedative from ketamine.   They actually changed him to two sedatives and a pain medicine (to act as a sedative.)

The doctor cracked a half smile and told us to hope for a leak.  "Leaking pipes are bad, leaking IV's are bad, hearing a leak around a vent tube when you are sure it was placed right?  That is what you are hoping for."

I told Brandon, I had never hoped for a leak before.  But if that was what we needed, I'd start praying and hoping.

So we began to wait.  Brandon and I grabbed something to eat, we called to check on the other children and we settled in.  I began pumping to try to keep up with Isaiah, who up until this point had never taken a bottle. 

The first time I settled in for a pumping session, Solomon began retching and despite his soft wrist restraints he began to pull on tubes and try to roll over simultaneously.  I sat there trying to figure out what I could do if anything.  We once again had a roomful of people.  After some additional sedatives, they sent radiology to us to make sure his tubes were still in place.

My nerves were shot.  I had reached the end of myself.  And I sent out some more prayer requests.

I watched every breath he took.  Read every blood pressure reading.  Watched his pulse raise and lower. 

A sweet friend brought us dinner, my beloved sweet tea and double chocolate chunk cookies.  We ate right around the corner and while we spoke, our nurse came to get me.

"Stephanie, we need you.  Solomon's heart rate is 180 beats a minute and we need to see if you can calm him down with your voice."

I flew around the corner to find Solomon once again wrestling with two adults.  His medications were increased again.

Several times through the night his medications were increased.  It was a careful dance.  The sedatives dropped his blood pressure but him coming to compromised his airway and raised his pulse.  At one point, the bottom number of his blood pressure was 33.  I could tell by the way our nurse stayed in the room that we were in a very, very serious situation. 

The breathing treatments were creating ordeals that were longer and longer in length of time.  Two and a half hours after our midnight treatment,  we had him settled. 

But it wasn't for long.  Soon we started to see his eye lids flutter and he reached over and rubbed my arm.  He knew I was there and it made the tears start flowing down my cheeks.  And then the wrestling match started. 

"Soli-boy, go night night.  It's still dark outside."

I watched the monitors as I attempted to get some rest.  Solomon was breathing on his own over the vent which was an excellent sign.  He was breathing 30% oxygen which we were told was the very minimum they use.  (Room air is 21%.)  Things looked good, but it was still scary as hell. 

After the 4 am breathing treatment, the doctor finally heard a decent amount of leaking and shortly after he was given a large dose of sedative, he said that we could start to wake him up.

Our nurse snorted and said, "Figures!"

Brandon and I were thrilled that we didn't have to wait 24 hours. 

The doctor asked Brandon and I not to leave the room during the process.  He told us that Solomon needed to hear us and that most children will respond far quicker to their parent's voice than any of their staff. 

The first step was to move him to a CPAP machine.  CPAP only breathes for you, if you are apneic for a certain period of time.  He chugged right along, breathing all his breaths on his own.  I watched his respiration rate raise and lower but the alarms never sounded.

So then we just had to wait for the wrestling match to start.  Within a really short period of time, we started seeing signs that Solomon was waking up.  I talked to him and let him know we were going to make his mouth and throat feel better as it took four adults to hold him down. 

And just like that, the tube was removed.  When his arms were unrestrained, he started picking at the tape on his face.  We coaxed him to open his eyes.  And started to sit him up.  His eyebrows danced all over his forehead before we finally saw him open his chocolate brown eyes. 

You couldn't have scrubbed the smile off of my face with a brillo pad.  My boy had returned.  Soon he was blowing bubbles with the respiratory therapist (who was trying to bribe Solomon to cough.)  His lips were so silly trying to remember how to blow bubbles.  But we got it done. 

We did another breathing treatment.  His body shook as a side effect of the Albuterol.  He was on a really large dose.  But we were just thrilled to see his eyes again!

He was allowed to start a liquid diet a little after 9am.  By lunch time, he was eating solids.  Shortly after that we were able to walk laps with him and he walked to their Treasure Chest and found a truck. 

We were still watching his blood pressure carefully, so they used fluids to increase his numbers a bit. 

At 8pm, he had a dose of IV steroids and after a phone call to the doctor, we were discharged.

Brandon and I saw the Critical Care Truck on our way out.  As soon as we got Solomon in his carseat and buckled and we climbed in the front seat, we looked at each other and shook our heads.


"THAT.was.insane.  He recovered so quickly!"

"And people don't believe in miracles."

I shook my head and told Brandon that I did.  I've seen too much to not believe. 

Left: 9:30 pm on February 7th. 
Right:  7 am on February 8th.



Erika said...

Chills. So thankful for a happy ending.

Danielle said...

Oh my goodness- I am glad that he is home. what in the world was it? I will keep you all in my prayers. Praise God for good medical care.

Jen said...

Thankful God healed him.

Robin said...

So glad he is okay. Praise God!
What caused it?

iceangel said...

Oh Steph! Thank you, Jesus!