Deep Breaths (aka THE TUBE)

I promised an update on how my Dad’s been doing, so here goes.

Dad’s still in the ICU hooked up the respirator. They’ve had him sedated for the past couple of days because he kept trying to take the breathing tube (aka “THE TUBE”) out of his mouth. He absolutely HATES that tube. It was the first thing he talked about when he finally got his voice back after the first time he was on the respirator right after surgery. So when he was having difficulty breathing last Thursday night and THE TUBE be had to be put back down, he was not too happy about it.

But what’s ten times worse, is not being able to breathe.

Yesterday, they tried to wean him off the respirator and took THE TUBE out a little too soon. Clinically, he looked good. His lab studies were picture perfect and his oxygen saturation (O2 sat) was doing well. That’s all fine and dandy, but since my Dad has a long-standing love affair with nicotine, sometimes “picture perfect” for non-smokers is not as “picture perfect” for smokers. Despite the fact that both my Dad’s nurse and us (my brother & I) thinking it was better to give him an extra night of rest, the ICU doctor felt otherwise. So THE TUBE came out.

And sure enough, within minutes his O2 sat dropped, he started gasping for breath, and he became more and more agitated. The ICU resident chalked this up to him being “anxious,” but when I started seeing my Dad’s eyes glaze over, I told her otherwise. And well, let’s just say that my brother (also known as “The Doctor” as he’s currently in his 5th year of residency for Orthopedic Surgery) was not AT ALL happy about what transpired. Within a half an hour, THE TUBE went back in. And now, to top it off … it appears that he’s got a bit of pneumonia in his lower lungs. Yet another thing to set his progress back.

And while Dad wasn’t too happy about having to be “intubated” (medical-ese for “placing the breathing tube”) for the THIRD TIME, I think he was just happy to be able to feel like he could breathe.

So today, Dad’s doing better. He still hates THE TUBE, but he’s come to accept it. For now. And they’ve started him on IV antibiotics to help fight the pneumonia. And the nurses and RTs (respiratory therapists) have been aggressive at doing lung treatments to help get rid of any fluid that may continue to linger in his lungs. The plan is to try to wean him off the respirator slowly and as soon as he’s able to breathe without any help, THE TUBE will come out.

I know I’ve said this time and time again over the past two weeks now, but THANK YOU for all your thoughts and well-wishes. If you can continue to keep my Dad in your daily thoughts and prayers, I will forever be grateful to you.

8 Replies to “Deep Breaths (aka THE TUBE)”

  1. Oh Emily, how hard this all must be. I feel for your dad – I am shuddering just *thinking* about the tube. How lucky he is to have you and your brother there to keep an eye on things.

  2. Hi, Emily!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and saying hi. It’s nice to e-meet you!

    I hope your dad continues to recover and make progress. I will indeed keep you both in my thoughts and wish for a speedy divorce from the dreaded tube. Can’t blame the man for hating it!

  3. Ugh …

    That must have been so hard to see your dad desat before your eyes, and I can only imagine how frightened and angry you must have been with the docs for extubating him too soon.

    You are all in my prayers …

  4. It sounds like the improvement in his recovery is slow, but going in the right direction.

    A late Happy Blogoversary to you!

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