Bob and I just got out of our meeting with a few of Eric's doctors, namely the ICU attending, a couple fellows, and a resident. And we're breathing a huge sigh of relief. They say there was a group of about twenty medical doctors in their meeting this AM, and the consensus was (incredibly) unanimous. And they say that rarely happens. But they've decided that surgery, at least at this time, is not in Eric's best interest. They want to treat Eric conservatively as opposed to aggressively. This was super good news to Bob and I. Of course, this means a commitment to a LONG recovery and rehab. If all goes well, if there are minimal or no setbacks, we'll be here 2-3 months. Then maybe some time in a rehab facility. No one knows for sure exactly, only based on their previous experience with cases like this. And the attending says Eric's lungs are one of the worst cases he's seen. Any worse cases have had to have lung transplants. And we don't intend to go there. The short term plan is to get Eric nourished and stronger. And to recover from the present infection. Then sometime next week, he'll get a tracheostomy. He'll likely need to be on a ventilator, at least part of the time, ie at night. But that's probably down the road. This sounds extreme, but really it's a good thing. He'll be more comfortable not having that tube in his mouth. Eventually, he'll be able to talk and eat. Rehab will be much easier. And it's expected that the trach won't be permanent. The big issue remains the leaks in his lungs. Will they heal on their own without surgery? He may need to have the chest tubes in for up to six months or so. And surgery isn't completely out of the question at some point in time if the leaks refuse to heal. I did ask if Eric might start high school in the fall. The doctors were doubtful. But they don't know Eric. I say we'll see.
On a more immediate note, Eric had a great day today. He was awake most of the day. And he's motivated. Physical therapy resumed today. He got his hair washed. We weaned a bit more on the ventilator. SIMV 15, pressure-limited at 14, FiO2 .45, PEEP 5. Eric's off the dopamine and norepinephrine. He's on TPN and they've also started tube-feedings, and he's looking perkier already, lifting his arms better to scratch his head, writing us notes again, etc. He enjoys listening to music and having his dad read to him. Lisa, I'll be breaking that box open real soon to see what's in there for him to do.
Note to Dr. Thompson . . . sorry I keep missing your calls. We do appreciate your continued interest. They don't allow us to have our cell phones on in this ICU. Call 832-824-7076.
A friend once told me, or maybe it was my mom, that God had a reason for guiding me to become a respiratory therapist. He was preparing me for such a time as this.
Lots of prayers were answered today. Wisdom for the doctors, and increased strength and healing for Eric. Thanks, everybody!