So, here specifically is where we are since Christmas Eve:
Brian's nurse for the past two & next three nights is a traveling nurse with a lot of experience working with spinal cord injury patients. She noticed his agitation & decided to untie his arms to calm him down by allowing him to move around a little bit on Christmas night. This helped him a lot but as he is known to do, he ripped out another tube that night--the feeding tube. She knew this was a risk in untying him but felt it was worth it to give him some wiggle room, which we all agree was a good thing.
Anyway, that warranted a procedure to put the feeding tube back in & a chest x-ray to ensure it was properly located (they weight the bottom of it & it goes through the nose all the way down to the tip of the intestine!). The chest x-ray at that time showed that the lungs were clearer than they had been so they decided to not put him back on any antibiotics & let his body naturally fight the pneumonia. So that was obvious good news.
Yesterday, in spite of being restrained again & now with these padded mitts/boxing glove things he pulled the balloon off his trach. Yes, he did. So, instead of doing a procedure to fix it, they've left him off the ventilator to see how well he can breathe on his own. They basically just have the ventilator tube with a neck mask thing wrapped around the trach to just give him that little bit more oxygen. Again, not necessarily bad news since he's sustaining breaths on his own.
He's starting to come around more--which is a very good & a very hard thing, I think. He's a little more playful: he put his arm around one of his sisters, patted our heads, gave us fake smiles, etc. but he's also very visibly agitated & frustrated. He desperately wants out of bed, he wants to be untied, & he's sneaky. He even will pull the mitts up to his mouth to try & rip them off. He seems a little scared about where he is (Who can blame him, he's been tied in bed since December 14th?) & though we love to see he's fighting, he's really borderline on fighting being against his favor.
Today when we went to see him, they were just rolling him back into the room from a CT scan. His heart rate was very irregular last night & he wasn't responding to medication to regulate it. They found a lot of fluid in his right lung, which was surprising because the right lung is the stronger one, which they think has been interfering with what his heart needs to remain steady. They put in another chest tube & drained over a liter of fluid. The nurse explained that when someone gets brought into trauma they almost hyper-hydrate them & eventually when the body doesn't need all this fluid, has to find a way to get rid of it, which can include going into the lungs. They also have him on an IV similar to those pills you can buy that take a lot of fluid out of your body to help. Though it will take a little while to see if the chest tube solves the heart rate problem, we are hopeful that it will. However, if he pulls this tube out, the potential damage he could do to his lung may force them to reinsert the trach. Since he hasn't been on the trach for more than a couple days, this procedure will be more invasive & will require reinsertation of the throat tube while they take the trach out & replace it. So, though again, not the end of the world, something we really would hate to see him have to go through, if at all avoidable.
Which leads me to what you all can do:
He's in so much pain & confusion right now: flu-like symptoms from fighting pneumonia, painful coughs producing a lot of fluid from traumatized lungs & beneath broken lungs, the stiffness that comes from almost two weeks lying in the same position in bed, being tied down unable to even scratch your nose when it itches, the fear that comes & goes while in & out of medicated states, a titanium rod recently inserted in your back, tubes in your body where they don't belong, a stomach being fed but not in a way where you feel any sense of satiation or fullness, not knowing where you are or why you there, whether or not your even safe, & not even able to ask the questions to find out the answers, just to a name of few of his circumstances. How can we even comprehend how overwhelming this can be?
We all know how physically strong & gifted Brian is. We now need him to be strengthened mentally & spiritually. Please pray specifically for this. Pray for patience & calm. Pray that he will lean on the Lord & stop fighting to allow his body to physically heal. Pray that Brian will find peace in Him & let go of the understandable fear in all the unknowns of his situation until the time comes to address them.
The nurse I mentioned earlier who is taking care of him at night was so encouraging on Christmas. She said that she's seen so many miracles in her four years of experience. Though this is her first round being assigned to Brian, she saw him when he first got the to Trauma & honestly thought he might not survive, he was in such bad shape. The doctors at that time even said he may not ever use his arms & look at him now--you can't restrain the kid enough to keep his arms down. She said miracles like these can continue to occur because families & friends maintain positive support of the patient & she was adamant that prayers are answered, that God is the one that heals. We don't know what the outcome will be or how we'll get there but we can all keep doing the things we do have control over--praying for Brian to trust in the Lord:
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 18:2).
We're already seeing evidence of how trusting in God brings him the much needed peace. Shortly following the chest tube procedure today, Brian T. read John 17 & Brian's very jumpy heart rate & movements immediately calmed. Between these readings, prayers (he nods yes every time you ask to pray over him (& we get nods no, so...) & immediately relaxes) & Eli--he seems to get the peace he desperately needs!
It really shows us how much we do not have control over; however, this is not a bad thing because we serve a kind & loving God who wants us to have a relationship with Him & to trust him. So, please keep praying--strengthening your relationship with Our God & praying that Brian's will be strengthened as well!