Thursday, December 1, 2011

Extubation Day...

I forgot!

My mom messaged me a few minutes ago on Facebook.

"Happy Intubation Day!", she said.

"Extubation..." I said, then added "but I had forgotten; how about that.".

Some years it's so near to the front of my memory.  That incredible day when Max showed us how much fight was in him.  It was so early into our journey of the tight-rope walk of Max's medical care.  The decisions we had to make then, to intubate, to have brain surgery, to agree to a tracheotomy, all prepared the way for more decisions, and bigger fights along the way.

On December 1, 2004, Max was to be taken to the operating room to place a tracheotomy tube to help him breathe.  This was after a month of attempting to get him off of the ventilator that was breathing for him after a horrible reaction to flu vaccine that we didn't know he was deathly allergic to.  The combination of the vaccine, too much of the wrong type of IV fluids, and double pneumonias, bought him very special treatment and very watchful eyes in the PICU at the old Children's Hospital through the month of November.

We had doctors who didn't believe he would make it home alive.  We had doctors, nurses, and counselors alike preparing us for the worst.  We had to make heart-wrenching decisions, and in the end leave it up to God.

On December 1, 2004, Max woke up with a terrible coughing fit.  His lungs were actually clear after a month the pneumonias healing, but this cough was violent.  I called the nurse in to suction him, and before she could get it all sorted and ready to suction, the intubation tube came out.  He coughed that monster tube right out.

Extubation day

After a flurry of doctors, PICU nurses, flight for life nurses, and respiratory therapists, the decision was made to leave him off of the vent to see how he did.  Surgery had been postponed until the next day.  And they thought it would be good to give him a day to see how he did.  They could always replace the tube if his saturation levels dropped.

They didn't drop though.  He was breathing in the safe range, on his own, with only a little blow-by oxygen.  And, for the first time in a month, I held my baby, and kissed him lips without a tube in the way.

On December 1, 2004, we were reminded that we are not in control.  That miracles do happen, when you least expect them.  That our baby was a force to be reckoned with.

Now, how could I have forgotten that today?


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