Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Update from Kari

I'd been trying to check Kari's Facebook page regularly for an update on William, but then the weekend got away from me. This was posted Saturday night, so my assumption is that they've been home since Sunday morning! God is good!

Tomorrow, they tell us, we get to go home. Tonight, John and I will stay at the hospital together with William while we practice with our home equipment. We are both apprehensive and impatient to start the next several weeks at home with our new status quo.

When I was a child in a household of nine drama-filled children and two overstretched parents, my favorite method to help dispel family tension was to make a joke out of it. Aside from one or two disdainful sibling reactions, my efforts usually helped long enough to give us all time to step back and get some perspective. I find myself doing the same thing again--often internally--throughout this process of home training.

John and I were ready to train and move things along on Thursday, but nobody else was, apparently. The home health equipment company contacted me, but our lines got crossed and we never spoke to each other until late Thursday. They promised to deliver our equipment Friday afternoon, and show us how to use it. Our trach training was scheduled for Friday at one. John got the afternoon off, and we waited together with William.

The trach training was relatively painless, but a lot of information. John, the one who can't even talk to my chiropractor about his spine without wanting to pass out, handled it like a pro. He's not sure how much he retained, however. She promised to be available for questions as needed later. I think I retained most of what she was telling us, but I felt terribly lightheaded throughout. Later, when were were being trained on our home equipment, our responses were the same. John made sure we kept a phone number so we could ask somebody again later if we needed to. I felt like I understood everything, but when our trainer left, I sat down and put my head between my legs. Everything that was being explained to us, I knew, was leading up to Saturday's finale: taking that trach out and showing that we could put one back in properly. I couldn't get the idea of it out of my head.

Let me just relieve the pressure from the rest of you right now: the finale was drama-less. It reminds me of the time John and I rented Nicole Kidman's The Others, not knowing anything about it. During the entire suspense-filled movie, we watched terrified, unable to tear our eyes away. John was so bothered by it, he got on google trying to find out the ending so he could stop worrying. Then, as the climax of the movie unfolded, we settled back into the papasan chair we had at the time and laughed at ourselves. The reality was much nicer than the anticipation. Then we hunted down friends and family who hadn't seen it yet and made them watch in terror while we watched them. This confession has very likely told you more about John and I than you needed to know, but there you go.

I won't bother the over-sensitive by making my description of trach training too graphic, but to give you an idea of what we knew we had to do, I'll tell you what our trainer on Friday told us. The respiratory therapist on Saturday was to simply observe and talk us through the process. John and I would each be given a fresh trach. One of us would remove the one Dr. Lyman put in on Wednesday, and replace it with a new one. Then we would carefully trade places with each other, and do the process again, this time leaving it in and securing it with the ties. Each trach has a hard plastic tube at the opening attached to a soft plastic tube that follows the contour of the trachea for a few inches. Inside the soft tube and protruding from the trach hole is a hard plastic "guide" that helps place the trach. The guide has to be removed once the trach is inserted to allow the trach airway to open up for breathing. I tried to convince John to go first, but he insisted that he should go last. I couldn't think of any clever reason why I shouldn't go first, so I shut my mouth and got myself ready.

Here's how the process went:

John: Okay, Kari, go ahead.

Me: Okay.

John: Go ahead!

Me: Just a sec.

John: Just do it.

Me: Okay. Okay. Now.

John: The guide! Take out the guide! He can't breathe!!!

Me: Aahhhhh, the guide! Okay, your turn.

John:

Respiratory Therapist: You did it! That's all there is to it.

Yeah, so aside from the guide snafu, it was quite anticlimactic. William didn't need to be tied down, which is a good thing since the practiced straitjacket procedure yesterday with a sheet was woefully unsuccessful. William accepted the process better than we did when all was said and done. And believe it or not, I could do it again in a second without a single qualm. How silly is that?

Our 24-hour observed care will be over tomorrow morning at ten. Then we'll go home, set up our house to accomodate our plucky little patient, and gleefully subject our family and friends to trach training which we are now qualified to administer. They are just as nervous as we were.

There's more I was going to try to say to fill in some blanks, but I'm getting tired, my men are both snoring, and I think I'm going to pretend we're at home and wake John up to watch some late-night television with me and a bag of chips and cheese dip some sweet friends brought us today.

Thanks for all your prayers about training. Throughout these days, I've wondered several times how people get through things like this without the power of prayer and the strength of the Holy Spirit. I really felt all those prayers going up for us, and once again, each "next thing" has gone incredibly well.
Day 9 at LeBonheur. William is ready to go home whenever they get us trained to care for him!

1 comment:

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Wow. I'm totally caught up in this drama of people who are total strangers to me. Scratch that, brothers and sisters across the country.

And I'm curious... is the trach tube permanent? Or will he eventually heal and it can be removed?

And - since Kari says a little laughter removes tension - if the boys were identical twins, at least now everyone can tell them apart :0)

(Not making light of your experiences...!)

Praying for little William,

Julie