Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Don't matter where you are, everybody, everybody gonna need...

Need some kinda ventilator, some kinda ventilator.
What you gonna do about it, what you gonna do?
What you gonna do about it, what you gonna do?
Gonna fight it, gonna fight it.
--Rolling Stones, "Ventilator Blues"

I thought this was the perfect song for today - then Jen said she'd never heard it, so perhaps it wasn't quite so perfect. But since she's given me blog author privileges, I'm going with it.

There's still an ongoing discussion of whether Jay will come off the ventilator today. Some docs think he's ready, and others are not so sure his heart is ready for that step. Folks have asked why he is on the ventilator since the problem is his heart. Well, the first day of cardiology in vet school, we learned the basic principle on which all cardiology is based:

Air goes in and out
Blood goes round and round
Oxygen is good

With that in mind, air going in and out is really the first step, and the function of the heart is hugely impacted by the function of the lungs. If the lungs don't bring in enough oxygen, his heart has to work harder to push the little bit of oxygen around faster. So the ventilator in his case is supporting his heart by maximizing his oxygenation.

Right now, the ventilator is set to breathe 8 times/minute and Jay is currently breathing 20-25 times/minute. So the vent is supporting him, but he's also breathing on his own as well. That's good, but we want to be sure he will keep it up. The respiratory therapist described his current vent support as a 4/10 with 10 being complete support. He also appears to have some swelling in his trachea from the breathing tubing being in place for the past two weeks. Some docs will wait an addition day to take them off the vent to try and decrease that swelling, while some don't. We're not sure which camp Jay's doc is in, but should find out shortly in rounds.

In other news, the hole they created between the atria has now closed on its own. It's supposed to do that when his ventricle gets stronger, so that's good news. He won't have to have a surgery later on to close it, so check off one potential future surgery from his list. Woohoo! The gunk in is lungs also appears to be getting better based on what they are suctioning out and his x-rays.

Hopefully, by this time tomorrow he'll be able to talk to us and tell us what he really thinks about all this.


Anonymous said...

Great news today! Glad to hear that the healing is the main topic instead of "what ifs". Very postive steps in the right direction.

Beth said...

I think he will say, "I don't need a nap. I've been napping for 2 weeks. Give me my hammer." :)

Happy, happy news.


Ann Lawrance said...

Oh, what joyful blabbering that will be--wish we could all hear it.
Love you all,

Jamie said...

I haven't checked the blog since Sunday so I am very happy to read all the good news on here!!! And I think the song was perfect Derek! Nice work (coming up with the song would be the hardest part for me!)

Anonymous said...

I am amazed of all the songs y'all know and to come up with the perfect one is beyond me. So glad to hear about that hole healing. Another prayer answered. Continuing to pray for Jay to be ready to do without the ventilator. So glad also to hear the lung gunk is getting better, too.

Aunt Ali

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for my little buddy to be jabbering away!! You did a good job with the song choice - miss you guys a lot. Still praying for each and every little step toward recovery!! Love, AJ

Anonymous said...

Derek and Jen,

The ministerial staff has been away the past 2 days doing some long-range planning. We were able to get a wifi signal to keep up with your blog posts, and we've been pleased with the good reports on Jay's progress...poop, lung gunk, Jen's verbal tour of the RMH, etc. We'll be remembering you tomorrow as vent decisions are made. You're in our thoughts and prayers.

Mary Alice

blair said...

How wonderful to be thinking about Jay talking soon! That makes me smile wide! Thanks for the update, and we'll be praying for an easy transition off the ventilator.

Blair & J.

Archie Gupton said...

Good Job Derrick! Yes, exercise is great for coronary recovery and stability..Jay the Tool Boy
should soon be able to put that vent back on his tool rack! This sharing is so great. thanks, a&u

Anonymous said...


I love the differece in tone between you and Jen. You two are the perfect compliment! We are still praying for Jay and the family. I am so glad that things are getting better.


Ginger said...

Hey Derek! Isn't blogging great? Good song pick. Oh, I hope Jay will be able to talk to you guys soon! I'm sure it will be wonderful to hear his voice.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of Jay right now as he's coming off the vent -- and how liberating that hopefully will feel to him. Thinking of you two and the hopeful anticipation I hear in your words.

I'm thankful to God for the love that's been communicated with and without words thus far, and I'm hoping those first words post-vent will come at just the right time.

Lynn and Scott