Extremely Critical Condition

Garrin has been intubated and mechanically ventilated since birth, and a pneumothorax prompted the placement of a chest tube. Shortly after turning two days old, Garrin’s condition deteriorated rapidly, and the decision was made to move him to a different, more supportive ventilator called the oscillator. The oscillator makes a noise that I will never forget — it sounds like a generator — a sound we will come to appreciate if it helps our son breathe easier.

Because Garrin’s situation is so critical, he receives 1:1 nursing care. Our nurse was prepping another nurse so she could take a break when the second nurse noticed a crack in Garrin’s chest tube catheter. This prompted the unexpected removal of the tube as it could not be repaired. Unfortunately, the pneumothorax was present again on a follow-up x-ray, so a new chest tube was placed almost immediately. Garrin did not tolerate these and the other changes at all.

Today was the first time I felt like I really needed to advocate for my son, who is obviously unable to do so for himself. I requested that the nurse reposition Garrin in the way our previous nurses had positioned him. Within minutes, his saturation levels began to improve. Since then, his O2 has been weaned nearly 20%. Thank you, Lord. Throughout this experience, I have learned that I need to toughen up and not be afraid to speak up. I was a nervous wreck and in tears most of the day, and God willing, this is only the beginning of our journey. To mentally survive this marathon, I am going to need thicker skin.

Grandma and Grandpa brought our older kiddos for their second visit. My oldest son was enthralled with his baby brother and all of the machines keeping him alive. He told Garrin that he loved him. As if to respond with “I love you too,” Garrin opened his mouth. “Grandma, he’s talking to me!” He was just thrilled.

In retrospect, I feel so guilty that I let my fear of Garrin’s unstable vitals spoil their visit. They were so excited to come. God willing, we will get another visit soon when Garrin is “happy,” and Mommy can relax a little. On a side note, my husband forced me to go outside of the hospital today — I walked from one entrance to the next. Just like Garrin, I am taking baby steps.

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