Bob and I both went to church this morning, I to the early service, Bob to the late service. It helps that our church is just a short ways down the road from the hospital. Today was the first I was able to attend church since Eric became sick, nearly a month ago if you count the days he was sick prior to hospitalization. I became emotional just driving to the church and I thought, "What am I doing? I'm going to cry through the whole service." And I did. But it was okay. It was good to be there. And good for our church family to see us there. They've all been praying for him, and seeing us there gave them assurance that Eric is getting better.
More of the same today. Same ventilator pressures, alternating back and forth each hour. More strengthening, more resting, more healing. We're hoping, probably too optimistically, that he can be extubated (off the ventilator) tomorrow. But when I asked one of the the respiratory therapists his opinion, he cautiously said, "Maybe sometime by the end of this week." Frustratingly, Eric's PaCO2 continues to rise a bit each morning, 84 this morning, and his PaO2 was 90. We're guessing he's simply getting comfortable with the higher PaCO2, thus breathing more comfortably, slower, and less deeply, because his body is metabolically compensating his pH with bicarb.
We did have some good news yesterday. Eric's been without fever for several days, his white blood cell count is down, all his cultures came back negative, so he's no longer on any antibiotics. And he's been on an awful lot, since he's been here. The doctors have yet to determine what caused all this, likely either a viral infection or a reaction to the bactrim. But they put him on all the big gun broad spectrum antibiotics from the beginning just to cover all bases. They're saying now that we may never know for certain how this all started. But whatever the assailant was, it ate my son's lungs for lunch, chewed them up, swallowed them, and spit them out. Even when he gets off the vent, will his lungs ever be the same? Will they ever completely heal? As a respiratory therapist, I used to do pulmonary function testing, and I can't imagine what his PFTs must look like right now. Will he, as first chair trumpet in both his middle school and the district honor band, ever play his horn again? Will he ever run down the soccer field again, calling out signals to his team? At the moment, when we see how his leg muscles have wasted away, we wonder how he will ever walk again!
But he continues to get stronger, little by little, day by day. Physical therapy does see improvement. What a long, slow road. Thank you all for your continued prayers. We see little miracles every day.