I have been noticing that I have been maneuvering though mindless tasks mainly on autopilot these days. I do this, only to notice, at some point, that I’m not sure where I am, either physically, or in the completion of the task. I mean, I will be driving and suddenly look around and can’t say for sure where I am until I pass a landmark to reorient myself.
Today when I left the house, my autopilot had me driving in the wrong direction (to work instead of to the hospital). I turned around and headed the other direction and went to check my phone to see what time it was and realized I didn’t even have my phone with me. I guess it was good I had been going in circles for a bit or I might have really been late to the hospital.
When I arrived this morning to the hospital, Ted’s ABG’s were not good (the blood gases). Dr. Smart (actual name, not to be confused with Brilliantly Harsh) was concerned about the pressure resistance from his lungs, so decided that instead of having the ventilator force a certain volume of air into his lungs, they would set the vent onto it’s version of autopilot. The vent would sense how much volume of air Ted’s lungs could take and give it that amount. That way, we wouldn’t have to worry about forcing too much air into his fragile lungs.
Well, that was a big fail. The machine was trying to make his breaths more shallow since his lungs were too stiff to accept the previously allotted amount, but Ted’s body could feel he wasn’t getting enough oxygen and co2 was building and he kept involuntarily trying to over breath the machine. They tried adjusting the Peep, the breaths, they had him on 100% and still he was not doing well. His blood gasses were now off the charts and we suddenly had 5 people all in the room working on something.
They checked that he didn’t have a collapsed lung – he didn’t, then they tried to put him in the prone position after administering the paralytic once again. While this had worked in the past with success, this time, his body rejected that position really quickly. His O2 dropped like a rock and they had to flip him back over once more. They then performed a bronchoscopy to look at his lungs from the inside. They were able to see and do what needed to be done, and then gave him a big dose of diuretics to try to drain all excess fluid from his body and lungs.
He is back to being paralyzed and in synch with the ventilator and his blood gases are back to being in a level of concern instead of the critical level that they were.
I’m just not sure how much more his body can take, but tonight, we are back to some stability.
No more autopilot for either one of us.