Friday, May 14, 2010

To vent, or not to vent...

Sorry for the long delay since the last update.

Zoe is now 48 hours post-surgery, which is obviously a huge hurdle. Yesterday, she was slowly improving, and they were able to ween her oxygen a bit. At one point she was down to 35% oxygen, from 100% immediately after Tuesday's surgery. She was also slowly starting to come off the sedation, i.e. wiggling her toes, twitching her arms, and half opening her eyes for a second or two.

We were able to secure one of the five sleep rooms at the hospital, which meant Stacey and I shared a twin bed. We haven't cuddled that much in years. Stacey had to get up every three hours to pump milk, then we'd take the milk to the freezer in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. The benefit of that is we also checked on Zoe every three hours.

We checked on her at 4:30 this morning and her nurse said she hadn't made much additional progress in terms of coming off the sedation. She indicated that they wanted to wait until she was more awake, before they attempted to take out the ventilator, which would put her in the best position to breathe on her own.

We went back to her bedside at 7:45 a.m. and there was a crew of doctors, nurses and other providers hovered around her. We stopped and watched from a distance, wondering if this was a normal thing or if there was a problem. You want to remain optimistic, but fear automatically overtakes you. One of the doctors looked up at us, and made eye contact, from a distance. We realized they were in the middle of something, so we nervously retreated and returned to the sleep room.

In about 30 minutes, a nurse came and found us and explained that at 6:40 a.m., the doctors wanted to remove the ventilator despite the fact that she was still somewhat sedated. Apparently she remained off the ventilator for about an hour, but she didn't do well, as her oxygen saturation was varied and her right lung partially collapsed. So, they had to re-intubate her, which is what we walked in on.

As part of the reintubation, they had to give her more sedative and paralytic medication, so it sort of sent her backwards in terms of regaining consciousness from the initial surgery.

As of this afternoon, her vitals remain stable, and they are slowly lowering her oxygen levels and trying to bring her out of sedation. Basically, because of the setback, she is about at the same spot she was late yesterday.

The goal for the next 24-48 hours is to extubate her, or get her off the ventilator. To do that they will continue to wean her off the oxygen and get her to wake up from the sedation. Once she is more aware and awake, they will try to extubate her again.

Right now, she is starting to move her arms and legs, but she is only partially opening her eyes for a second or two. She looks peaceful, but beneath the angelic surface is our little warrior fighting and battling to overcome her condition and all that she has already endured in her young life.

Aside from the "failed" extubation, Zoe's chest tube and catheter were removed, which is a step in the right direction.

Please continue to send positive thoughts and prayers Zoe's way. She is a tough cookie, but could use all the help she can get.

Zoe has been told of the many family and friends on her side and cheering for her. I'm sure she feels the love and support and will soon be back on the upswing.

Zoe's Daddy


  1. OMG I cannot even imagine. And all of the nurses/doctors are still standing?! What the hell?! She has to wake up first for goodness sake before she can breathe on her own. Cut the girl some slack!! Sorry. Guess I went with "to vent". Zoe's Mom and Dad ROCK!! And ZOE is a CHAMPION!!!! (((HUGS)))

  2. Keep up the fight Zoe. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your Mommy and Daddy. Bless you. Cheryl

  3. Dear Stacey, Caleb, Emerson & Zoe;

    I cannot imagine what you are all going through. You are all so brave and strong. Zoe is beautiful. My thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

    Sharon Beatty.