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Post surgery – Day 4. Small steps

It’s not wise to go looking for drama when you’re in the hospital. All too often it will find you and it’s not good.

But when there aren’t any big developments, it’s hard to know how things are going. That’s how Deane’s fifth day in the hospital has been.

It’s not that nothing happened. Late last night Deane had a series of de-sats that provoked suctioning. This morning his oxygen saturation level was also dipping into the low 80s – certainly below the desired threshold of 92% – but better than the day before. He would often bring himself back up, but it is still a concern.

Because a nasal swab for viruses had come back negative and a blood test had also failed to provide a conclusive explanation for Deane’s breathing issues, it was decided to stop the morphine drip that was controlling the pain from the hip surgery. It might have been effecting his breathing and ability to cough.

It was also decided to do a CT scan to see if there was an embolism – a clot – or some other obstruction in his lungs. This involved transferring out of bed on to a backboard and then on to the CT table and back again all the while being  careful of Deane’s surgically adjusted legs which are braced with his feet about 18 inches apart.

The CT scan happened during Dad’s shift. It took three attempts to get the scan. During the second, as Dad held Deane’s hands above his head, Deane’s heart started racing and the team behind the glass quickly came and took Deane’s hands from Dad and checked Deane out. All was fine, but medical staff moving quickly is something that sends parents’ hearts into their throats.

After that there was physio with the required thumping on his chest and suctioning. Then at least four attempts before finally getting a NG, or feeding tube, through his  nose into his stomach.

So all of this leaves us – after four chest x-rays and the CT scan – knowing that Deane has a collapsed section in his left lung. We don’t know why or how long it will take to clear. Everyone tells me the way to heal a collapsed lung is to get up, move about and breath normally. How Deane is going to accomplish those things hasn’t been discussed.

Then after four and a half days, my son that I’ve spent months trying to fatten up was given his first nutrients.

With the exception of the CT scan incident, it was a busy but uneventful day. We don’t know how long Deane will be in the ICU or what impact this will have on his transfer to the rehab hospital. We knew going in that this was  going to be a long process. On days like today, we need to remember to celebrate the small victories.

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