Houston Methodist – Day 16 & 17: No More Setbacks

Anya’s doing better.

They placed a tracheostomy tube in her on Saturday morning.  She was sedated for most of the day.  By 4pm, she was awake and alert – still a little swollen from the punctured lung, but she was happy that the surgery was over.

She spent all day recovering from the surgery and sedation, still on the ventilator, but hooked up through the trache tube and not the tube going down her throat.  Psychologically, I think the trache tube has helped tremendously.  It will take about 3-4 days for the surgical wound to heal, then about 2 weeks for a full recovery from the surgery.

Sunday, she was noticeably better.  There was still quite a bit of swelling in her chest, shoulders, and face, but it was getting better.  The chest x-rays showed that the pneumothorax in her left lung was “significantly decreased”, which was welcome news.

There are two chest tubes in her now to help drain the excess fluid and air.  The chest tubes seemed to have to stopped draining, so hopefully, everything just needs to heal now.  I think they will try to remove the tubes by the end of the week if she continues to progress.

By Sunday afternoon, they moved Anya to a chair.  They also took her off of the ventilator and put a trache collar on her with 50% oxygen.  She was doing pretty good without the ventilator.  As a matter of fact, she was in the chair for about 3.5 hours with only 40% – 50% oxygen, which was probably equivalent to using a nasal cannula at 5 liters, maybe a little higher.

She still can’t talk yet, but we’re getting pretty good at reading her lips.  I bought this boogie board thing at Costco, which is an e-ink type device that allows her to write on it, then clear the board with a click of a button.  It’s been very helpful.  Hopefully, in a few days, we won’t need it.

We still have quite a bit of work to do.  We have a minimum of 2.5 months before they will even consider listing her.  The goal right now is to get her well enough to move over to Kindred Hospital, a rehab facility across the street.  From there, the pulmonary team can administer her antibiotics to treat the infection, help her gain some weight via the feeding tube and eating, and start some physical therapy to help her gain some strength.  While we’re doing all of this, we need to make sure that she doesn’t get a new infection.  We definitely cannot afford any more setbacks.

Seeing that we’ve only been here for a little over 2 weeks, the next two and a half months is going to seem like an eternity and we’re not even talking about what happens after she gets listed.  Please keep the Stay Strong Anya posts coming, and text messages, emails, etc.  Every little bit helps.

4 thoughts on “Houston Methodist – Day 16 & 17: No More Setbacks

  1. Amanda Hurst says:

    Anya, wonderful news! I am happy the trach is working out for you. The trach cuts out a third of anatomical dead space. This should help you breathe better. The third of dead space is just used to heat the air before entering your lungs. Now you have a HME. The wonders of medicine!
    We always told our pts to articulate their words! There is an art to reading lips, just talk really big. You guys will get it! I am also glad they got you to ATC! It gives you more freedom. Can you occlude your cannula and talk? Make sure your cuff to the trach tube is deflated! They should be able to try a pmv (passy muir valve) with you. I think it is contraindicated until 21 days post surgery. But you should be able to phonate soon!
    The vent will help ventilate (blow off the CO2) and they can change you back and forth between the vent and ATC easier with a trach. I know sxing is not always fun, even painful, but should be help you in the long run; hopefully not having to have so many bronchs! I also have had pts tell me that after having an ET-Tube and sucking through a straw to breath, the trach makes it so much easier! I hope this is your case also! Of course this is the respiratory therapist talking in me! I lived this for much of my life working on a trach and vent unit. If you have questions I will help. If I do not have answers, I still talk with my co-workers Kathy has 30 years of vent and trach experience she would know! Hope this helps. Anya, Love you lots! That goes for everyone (love you guys & am thinking about each of you too!) in Houston!

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