-Eric Clapton, "After Midnight"
In yet another attempt to prove that folks here at CHOP are running a round-the-clock operation, they decided to take Jay off the ventilator. Tonight. They'd been discussing it all day and kept finding reasons to wait (possible central line infection, placement of a PICC line, get steroids in him first, nurse needed to go potty first ... okay I made that last one up.) But the waiting is over, they did it, and the lil' man is breathing on his own!!! Like coming off ECMO, this is a giant, huge, scary step. But so far, he's doing great with 02 sats still in the mid-90's and blood pressure close to the goal. Hooray!
I had gone back to RMH (and yes, I stamped a couple of cards!), but when they decided for sure they were going to do it, I decided to come back to the hospital. It was a little deja-vu-ish to be coming back here in the middle of the night and walking in to find a crowd of people clustered around Jay's bedside. The night of his arrest will haunt me forever, and a number of the same people who saved his life then were here tonight while he came off the vent. And actually, that was somehow comforting. The folks who were doing chest compressions two weeks ago were watching over and cheering him on tonight. The same doc who intubated him on that awful, horrific night was the one who removed the breathing tube. And she was wearing his hammer silly band alongside the very rare blue hippo that her son (also named Jay) gave her. She's got a very special place in our hearts.
Derek was able to be right beside him, holding his hand, while they extubated. I was curled up in the corner, praying with everything I had. For the first time in more than 2 weeks, we've been able to hold him. He's currently snuggled comfortably in his daddy's lap. It's a beautiful sight.
We are NOT CLOSE to being out of the woods. As with any big change, the first few hours and days hold the biggest risk. So keep praying that he is able to keep breathing on his own, and that his heart is able to handle this additional challenge. But for now, we're very happy to be up in the middle of the night.