ICU Day 8

One step forward, two steps back.

That seems to be our story. It’s only 10:45 AM in the morning and a lot of things had happened.

First the good news:

  1. The result of Andre’s bronchoscopy (bronchoalveolar lavage) showed no infection. They didn’t see any bacteria, fungus or virus, and because of this, he is no longer under respiratory isolation. We don’t have to don facemask, gloves, and protective gown to enter Andre’s room. I can now touch and kiss him.
  2. His kidney function continues to improve.

The other kind of news:

  1. Even though they didn’t detect any infectious agent in his lungs, the docs think there’s inflammation there that needs to be controlled. The inflammation is what they call BOOP ( bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia) which can contribute to the significant dead space in his lungs. To address this issue, they will increase Andre’s steriod dose from 70 mg every other day to everyday (maybe more if they don’t see any improvement either physiologically or radiographically).
  2. He was so distressed this morning that his bedding was soaked in his sweat. He also had another V-tach which happened while the docs where checking on him. The V-tach could have been caused by having too much fluid in his system, having high CO2 levels in his bloodstream, the Haldol, or any number of things. The good thing is that it resolved itself afterAndre’s sedation was increased and they made changes to the ventilator settings. He’s more comfortable now.
  3. They’re not going to do any breathing trials today because of his condition this morning. They’ll do them again over the weekend. If by Monday morning the pulmonary critical care docs decide that he’s nowhere near getting extubated, they’ll call in the EENT surgeons to do a tracheostomy. They do this for patients that are difficult to extubate. The patient would still be on a ventilator after the procedure. Tracheostomy tubes are preferred over regular breathing tubes because of several reasons: it makes the patient feel more comfortable because there’s nothing in the mouth that can activate the gag reflex; no straps around the head are required to hold the tube in place; there’s less chance for erosion to happen in the mouth area; and there is decreased chance of damaging the vocal cords which can happen with regular breathing tubes.
  4. His white blood count remains steady but low.

I hope the afternoon will be less “exciting”.