Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chest Tube Removal Joshua Style

Didn't see that coming.

Joshua is on the 'roids now and has been for about 24 hours.
His adrenal glands are the latest organ to take the reprofusion hit.
Let's just say that the steroids have made him the slightest bit....

A lot cranky.

So when yesterday evening round about 9pm rolled around and the respitory therapist came in to strap him into his vibrating vest to shake that junk out of his lungs
he began to cry when she turned it on.

It was at this point that I thought two things:

1. Ugh. Now he is crying over the vest. Seriously.
2. That's weird. He typically loves the vest.

Me being the horrific mother that I am sat at the end of his bed,
patted his leg and reassured him through his tears that it was ok
he was ok.
It's really just the vest.
It was at about minute 12 that I really took notice that the vest was vibrating much harder than before.
And it was at minute 13 of a 30 minute treatment that I got up to look at the setting and found it to be at 60%....which is the highest setting
instead of 40%
where it has been the last 3 days.

I turned it down to 40%
because I have absolutely no medical training nor authority to do so
but I'm his mom
so I felt qualified.
Thus I did.

But still he cried.
And moaned.
And whined.

Finally 30 minutes was up.
We unsnap the top part of the vest and immediately I noticed that there were imprints on his chest from the vest. It was obviously on way too tight. Whoops. That had to have been uncomfortable for someone whose sternum was cut in two a week ago.
Then we unsnap the next buckle and I notice the guaze and tape that covers his chest tube is soaked in blood.
Then we unsnap the last buckle and I see the top part of his chest tube that has previously been filled with draining blood and fluid
is now clear.
Crystal clear.
And then I heard it.

It was at that point it became very obvious very quickly that his chest tube had been partially removed by the vest and excessive vibration.
He was not being grumpy
homeboy was in pain
incredible pain.
I suck.


2 hours
3 xrays
one mega plastic seal to stop the air intake
and 4 decisions later
they pulled it.


All of the fluid that was still draining has to go somewhere.
According to this mornings xray it is beginning to collect in his lungs.
So they are watching him closely today to see how quickly the fluid accumulates compared to how quickly he is able to rid himself of it.

It's a dance for sure.
1 step forward
5 steps back
swing your partner round and round.

Day 17.
Can't wait to get off this dance floor.


  1. Poor guy. Can't wait for all of this to be behind him so he can start enjoying his awesome family. Still praying for all of you.


  2. Oh my goodness. I feel sick to my stomach just reading this. There was NO way for you to have known... oh, sweet, sweet boy! Praying!

  3. Oh no. I agree, there was no way for you to have know. Poor sweet boy ... praying the x-rays reveal great news. That his body is able to rid itself of the built up fluid. That the two of you can turn in your dance cards soon. Hang in there.

  4. OH NO!! That had to be awful for the both of you.The communication gap has to be so difficult...Praying that The fluid goes as it should...Hang tough kiddo..:)

  5. OH, how horrible, for both of you! I am so sorry this happened. Poor thing must be so confused about his little life. Rest assured the day will come... SOON... when it will all be so clear to him and he'll understand. And most of all, he'll remember YOU were there BY HIS SIDE! AMEN!!

  6. Oh, sweet mama! I can so identify with your self flagellation. (I left E with a new nurse to go to the bathroom. Came out to find her screaming as the nurse had lifted her from under her arms. Later found out that move broke a staple.) Being a mom of a child who can't communicate, undergoing surgery and recovery...not easy. I heartily agree with the others about "one day". He will be over it and on his happy way. It will take you much longer, though. Praying so hard for the dance to end soon. Hang in there. Your sweet smile will carry Joshua through a lot of uncertain moments.
    Loves and hugs and prayers...

  7. Awww! It's so hard to know when to be a mama bear and when to help your child be brave...
    And very few of us went to nursing school to double check the professionals....we're "just" moms

  8. OHHH...I "feel" every word you write. And I'm hanging on it for dear life, too - bring our precious little girl home who will need open heart surgery and a little of the "unknown"...You and Joshua are in my prayers!

  9. Oh Sonia, that made me nauseous! I can imagine how you felt, but it's not your fault! Does he have the flashcards you made handy so that he can point out the one that means he's in pain? Poor, sweet boy! Also wondering if this is the same respitory therapist who turned down his O2?! Hang in there Mama, we are praying for ya'll!
    rachel in MS

  10. Praying a miracle healing to cover Joshua now!!!! You couldn't have known, but God does!!!!

  11. Oh no!! My chest literally hurt as I was reading your words. My heart hurts that he had to endure more pain. Do not blame yourself though... Moms are not perfect even though we strive to be.... like you said you do not have a medical degree.... Praying he recovers quickly and with as little pain as possible.... Also praying your heart heals... I know watching him suffer is breaking it!



  12. My heart hurts for both you and Joshua! That should never have happened! YOU are not responsible and it's great that you were even aware that some things were different and not right. Someone did not get the correct information and your child paid the price. I would speak to the Charge Nurse and insist that he have the same folks doing his care. Obviously, they can't always be there, but there really needs to be some Primary Care as much as possible. I don't have to tell you, because you saw it, but any time they remove a chest tube, they generally don't even allow parents to be in the room, because it is a VERY painful experience. I know from both a patient and a nurse point of view. If you see or suspect anything isn't right, push that call button. And, insist that they stay on top of his pain meds. They can get a bit lax on meds, especially when he can't/won't communicate that he's in pain.
    I hope I don't sound bossy. I just want to give you some suggestions from a medical point of view, but mostly because I have really come to love your son and your mama Heart! I'll be praying that He will send Angels to surround Joshua from any mistakes/errors and that his little heart will be guarded from the extra trauma that he's experienced (both physically and emotionally!) And, IF for any reason they should have to put that chest tube back in, INSIST that he be heavily sedated/asleep! Those things hurt!! Okay, I'll stop now! Love, "Aunt Jo"

  13. Ack! I hate to hear how he's been mishandled. His Drs. should jump butt on the dept. head over the respiratory therapists. Honestly, 2 big mistakes on the same little patient. That needs addressing...

    Poor baby!! He can't speak English to let you know, and you don't know what to expect from the professionals, other than *we*(all) expect them to know their jobs and perform them adequately.

    I'm praying his lungs are able to get rid of the fluid...and all his other problems are much better soon. Hoping and praying for only good days from now on as he heals.

    ~ PattiLynn

  14. Oh does this bring back floods of memories...I became so much more assertive during our extended stay at Hotel University of Michigan...yes, Mama bear comes out strong by the time you're done. One second at a time...that's how this ride goes. :) Praying for you. YOU are a great Mom being swiftly put through medical school while taking care of your precious son at the same time who you are trying to bond with and understand! Whew! Praying for both of you for rest, a lot of steps forward, and to be able to go home very soon.

  15. He is such a brave little soul! Here's hoping that all is well soon.


  16. Oh my lands. Precious boy. We'll be praying that his body rids this fluid quickly and this was "all in the plan". :) Hope tonight is much, much better! Hugs! Oh, and...you don't suck. :) Just FYI ;)

  17. Oh sweet baby...I am praying.

  18. Poor little guy! May His healing hand be upon all of you. Sending good thoughts and prayers.

  19. Oh my goodness gracious! The poor boy!

    So thankful they figured it out and have fixed it.

    Praying for you and for him!

    Hoping that HOME is in the near future!!

  20. Oh my goodness! I have not been able to comment til now (stupid blogger) but know that we are praying for precious JJ, every single day!