Eric remains in critical condition, but each day he shows small but significant signs of improvement. His chest X-ray is clearing. All his bloodwork numbers are excellent. We're usually able to wean the settings on the ventilator slightly through the night and into the day, but by evening, his blood oxygen level starts to drop again and we're back up on the settings. No day is complete without a little drama. Guess that's life in ICU.
Eric is a model patient. The nurses practically fight over him. One nurse says he's the best patient she's ever had. Another awarded him the most patient patient ever. He's so cooperative, pleasant, and displays a sense of humor. Despite being heavily sedated, he has a dry erase board that he loves to use for communication, that is, when we can decipher his hand-writing. Yesterday, he wrote to his nurse, "You're very good at your job. Thank you." He's also very inquisitive. He wants to know what's going on, what the nurses are doing. He likes procedures to be explained to him in detail. But most of all, he wants to know when this will all be over. He wants to be off the breathing machine. He wants to eat, to talk, to "feel normal." He's very frustrated, in addition to being miserable. And he's bored. He feels like he's wasting time there. He wants to do school work. He's worried about getting behind. So like Eric. Unfortunately, we have no answer to his "when" question. We can only say, "When your lungs are better. Hopefully soon."
I've become addicted to watching Eric's monitor. I'm home this evening, spent the last three nights in the hospital. Bob is with him. I'm so nervous when I'm home. I worry something will happen and I won't be there. And I can't see the monitor. Most notably, I watch his SaO2 (the amount of oxygen in his blood.) All his other vital signs are normal, stable. But we just can't seem to keep his O2 adequate for any length of time. We come down on the ventilator settings, and he does okay for awhile, but eventually, he desats and has to go back up a bit again. He's slowly making progress. One step, one breath, at a time. Thanks so much for your continued prayers.