Mom’s extubation was a complete success today. She was communicating with head nods and shakes beforehand and letting us know that she was ready to have that tube out of her throat. Afterward, she was placed back on BiPap, which is a less invasive form of intubation, and was holding her own on that. So, we are all hoping she will have a quiet uneventful night tonight and tomorrow they will assess her ability to swallow and hopefully she will be able to eat something. Yep, you read that correctly, she wasn’t allowed to have any food at all today and believe me she was hungry. Keep the prayers and good thoughts coming and I’ll continue to keep you all posted.
Tomorrow is most likely THE day! My mom had another really encouraging breathing test today. She was able to breathe pretty much on her own for almost 6 hours today and she was communicating through nods and head shaking. She let us know that she wanted to go home. Which made us all smile. The doctors feel she meets enough of the criteria to be extubated tomorrow morning. We are all tremendously anxious about it because once the tube comes out there is no going back. Either she will recover or she won’t. There is no in between. So while I am pleased and immensely proud at how far my mom has come in the past few days I am paralyzed with fear with what comes next. Thank you for all your support so far and I hope it is ok to ask for continued prayers and good thoughts moving forward.
Today was another roller coaster of a day. When I walked into my mom’s room she was pretty much awake and breathing on her own. As I walked across her room to put my stuff down I watched her eyes track me across the entire room and then when I squeezed her hand and she squeezed it back I almost burst into tears of relief. She was responsive to questions and doing much better. She was able to breathe on her own for over 5 hours today before she got too tired and they turned the ventilator back up and bumped up the sedation. My sisters and I were all feeling so much more hopeful. Then we learned that they had discovered signs that she was bleeding internally so they are doing a GI scope as we speak to try to find out where it’s coming from. Hopefully she will not need surgery for it. So up and down we go but hopefully we will start having more days of upward recovery in the near future.
I’m using a few minutes to myself to write a longer update on my mom. It has been a literal roller coaster the past couple of weeks. Even her doctor said how every couple of days she seems to take a step or two backward again. Well, last Friday morning I spoke to her on the phone and she was talking about how she was feeling and she said something that shook me to my foundation. She said to me how this might be “the end” and that the family should “brace ourselves.” Now my mom has never talked like this before and like I said it shook me. I just kind of laughed and told her not to talk like that. I also said how I was in the process of preparing care for her when she came home. Not two hours later the phone rang and my heart sank. I have never had a bad feeling like that wash over me like that before. It was a call from her doctor and it turns out mom had started having trouble breathing again so they had put her on Bi-Pap, which is kind of like intubation without being actually intubated. He also informed that if they had to, they were prepared to intubate and that he had spoken to her about it. She told him that she was willing to be intubated and for the medical staff to give her “a fighting chance.” I felt like I was hanging on to my emotions by my toenails through the conversation and as soon as I hung up my knees buckled under me and I sobbed for about 10 minutes. I went and saw my mom and, by the time I got there, she had already been sedated and intubated. Walking in and seeing her like that left me stunned. My sister and brother got there a little while later and we all held each other and cried and supported each other. Since then the medical staff has tried to wean her off life support several times and have been unsuccessful. As I have mentioned before her heart rate skyrockets when they try to reduce her sedation. But we can’t imagine her heart rate not increasing, she is completely sedated and then they are waking up with a tube down her throat. It would send anyone’s heart rate through the roof until they were able to adjust to the sensation and realize what it was.
Fast forward to today, it has been four full days of her being on intubation and we met with her doctor today who was actually encouraging. He said that we are still early on in this whole process and that we should give her more time and see what will happen. He made it seem like there is a chance she still might wake up and recover some aspects of the life she had before. I’m hoping she does but realistically I know the chances of that are growing less each day. But one positive thing to come out of this experience is the fact that, so far, my siblings and I are actually agreeing on the major points of care for our mom. I can just imagine my mom sitting back and watching us thinking how this has never happened before. I hope she is proud of how adult and rational we are all being. I hope that continues but I fear as her end gets closer and our nerves become more and more raw the ability to be rational will become harder and harder to achieve. We will see, I guess, we are all in uncharted territory and going through one of the toughest things anyone will ever endure during their lifetimes. Keep the prayers coming.