The Ronald McDonald House here is wonderful. Bob and I are so impressed with how nice it is. Such a haven for stressed out parents. Because there are so many people here who'd like to use it, and only so many rooms, it's a night by night lottery. Not exactly luck of the draw, though. I guess it's a charge nurse who looks at everyone who's signed up, then factors in needs, such as critical nature of the patient, distance from home, etc. I'm hoping we have access two or three times a week.
I'm often asked how Andrew is doing. Good question. I've seen so little of him in the past weeks, five weeks today actually. He's been at home, cared for first by my mom and now by Bob's mom. Thank God for our wonderful parents who have been willing to interrupt their lives and come in from out of town; my mom from Pennsylvania and my mother-in-law from Arizona. As expected, Andrew is having a pretty rough time. He misses us and his twin brother terribly. He's worried. His grades at school have fallen. So please keep Drew in your prayers, too.
I love in the morning when the doctors make their rounds. The whole group of them; attending, fellow, residents, med students -- discussing every aspect of Eric's care, considering input from pulmonologists, infectious disease docs, cardio-thoracic surgeons, etc. and determining the best course of action for Eric. It's a wonderful thing to see, the dialogue, brainstorming, cooperation. Great minds learn from listening to other great minds. Absolutely no one can be absolutely right absolutely all the time. And in medicine, sometimes there's no margin for error. The downside to the myriad of doctors here is that we've told Eric's story a gazillion and one times. There's been a steady stream of physicians at various levels of accomplishment. First the resident or fellow comes in and gets the complete history. A few hours later, his attending MD comes in and hears the same thing. I feel like typing and printing it all out and handing a sheet to everyone who walks in the door.
My northern readers may find this interesting. Here in Houston, and I've noticed it in San Antonio as well, English is a second language. Caucasians are a minority.
eric went to CAT scan today. What a major undertaking, with all his equipment in tow. The scan takes a total of about three minutes. But the prep, transfer, and return took up about two hours. The results weren't surprising. He continues to have extensive lung damage. But he continues to do well. We're weaning off the nitric oxide. We're weaning the ventilator pressures some. The plan is to have him extubated by the end of the week, if not sooner. This afternoon, the doctors, on advice of the cardio-thoracic surgeon, took a huge leap and put both chest tubes on water seal, meaning they turned the suction off them, aware that this likely would collapse the lungs to some degree, that Eric might feel some pain and become short of breath, that his oxygen saturation would fall. As long as it didn't drop below 88%, they were okay with that. They ordered a chest X-ray for one hour later. The rational was that possibly, even likely, it's been the constant suction all along that's been keeping these leaks in the lungs open. We'd prefer the leaks heal on their own rather than close them surgically . Bob and I, and especially Eric, were apprehensive about this. We tried this once in Lake Charles, to see if he could go to CT scan without the suction, and Eric immediately felt pain and his O2 saturation plummeted. That did happen today, initially. He felt some pain, but they gave him a pain med. His SaO2 dropped to 88, but only briefly. Then an amazing thing happened. It started rebounding. His SaO2 rose to 98-99%. His respiratory rate dropped from 40 to 23 or so. The pain subsided. And he looks more comfortable now than I've seen him in weeks. Who knew? And guess what? We've got a room in the Ronald McDonald house again tonight!