While Adeline was in the ICU, it seemed as though she would take one step forward and two steps back.
You would think that by this time, we were starting to grow conditioned to “waiting for the other shoe to drop.” But we hadn’t.
Adeline always seemed to do well during the day, and then she would have rough nights. When we had left the previous day, we were feeling so confident in how Adeline was doing.
The next day was going to be the day! And, then, it wasn’t. Overnight, Adeline’s saturations kept falling lower than they should be, into the 60’s.
Before moving to the conventional ventilator, the doctors wanted to see Adeline improve a little more.
Again, we, being as naive as we were, held out hope that she would improve. After all, she had been doing so well previously, why wouldn’t she improve through the day? Last night had to be a fluke, we knew it.
After rounds, we paced the room, wondering what indicators the doctors needed to know that Adeline was ready to be switched ventilators. Finally, late morning, the Intensivist came by the Adeline and thought they would give it a shot. Thank goodness! We had such high hopes because they wouldn’t do it if they were not confident, right?
It was finally time to switch over to the conventional ventilator. The Intensivist, a Mid-Level, a Respiratory Therapist, and the nurse were all ready to go. Things were all ready to go. They switched Adeline and Jeremy and I just watched from the edge of the room. The Intensivist managed and talked with the Respiratory Therapist to figure out what they thought might be the right setting. They picked a target number and started adjusting from there.
As they started adjusting, we couldn’t help but notice the concern in their voices.
“No, we better turn it up more.”
“No, better do a little more.”
“Let’s give her a little time and see if she adjusts.”
That didn’t sound good, but at least they were going to give her some time. Indeed, she would catch up with the vent and do just fine. Keep in mind that Adeline was at the highest ventilator settings. The Intensivist ordered a lab, and we would let that determine how it was really working.
It was finally time for them to do the lab. Jeremy and I waited in anticipation. This had to work, we just knew it! They drew the lab, and we impatiently waited.
They put her back on the oscillator immediately.
My heart sank. The Intensivist talked about how her lungs were too stiff, also known as Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, to tolerate the standard vent. It took everything in me not to cry, but I had to give her time to heal. I held it together at the hospital and cried when we got back to our room at the Ronald McDonald House.
After all the anticipation, the rest of the day was quiet. They did another swab of Adeline’s breathing tube to see if the flu had resolved itself yet.
Jeremy had decided to go home for the day to try to get some work done; after all, they were heading into Spring planting time. He decided he would come back that night as he knew I was having a hard time with things.
That day at the hospital was a quiet one. Adeline was still having some difficulties when the nurses would try to move and adjust her. They would have to call in a Respiratory Therapist and slowly and steadily move Adeline.
Even though they were being so gentle, Adeline’s saturations would quickly drop and make everyone nervous.
It was quite a chore to have to move her.
It was quite a chore to have to move her.
That day the doctors let us know that they still thought that Adeline was making progress. They still were feeling as though Adeline would be ready for the conventional ventilator the following day. When I decided to go “home” for the night, I felt very defeated but tried to keep my head up.
That night, around 4:30 AM, I got a phone call from the Intensivist that was doing the overnight.
Phone calls in the middle of the night are never good. I could hardly answer it as I knew what they were calling to tell me was not good.
Adeline was dipping fast, too fast. They felt as though they had to get her on ECMO sooner rather than later. She was still stable enough to make it to the OR. If they wanted too much longer, they were more nervous about what the alternative would be.
She wanted to know what we wanted to do?