Thursday, September 23, 2010

Leslie is off the ventilator! I repeat...Leslie is off the ventilator!!

She was able to stay awake this morning and follow some very simple commands. And since she had also "passed" the ventilator weaning (putting her on the CPAP for a while) with flying colors, they decided to remove the tube. She is now on a venti mask, which still gives her a good dose of oxygen, but she is doing all the work on her own now. Also, because she is breathing all on her own, it is taking a LOT of effort. She is breathing about 30 breaths per minute and her oxygen saturation is averaging around 93%, but she is otherwise doing just fine.

She finally has a few official diagnoses. She definitely has pneumonia, but it is likely due to the whole intubation process...she probably got the pneumonia from aspirating stomach contents. She also tested positive for staph in her sputum (spit) but they are not concerned about that. She is on two new for the pneumonia and one for the staph.

She also has a TERRIBLE cough. She has a ton of secretions in her lungs and throat, so when she coughs, it is very gurgly and hoarse. It takes everything in her to cough, and most of the time, she isn't being very productive, but she is trying. Whenever we suspect that she coughed anything up, we immediately suction her mouth out.

She tries to talk. You can tell it takes a ton of effort for her to talk. She hardly has a voice and when she actually does get sound out, it is very hoarse. She will start out somewhat strong, and then her voice trails out. She talks very softly so you have to get really close to her. She is pretty disoriented, but we are able to make out some phrases. She seems to be particularly drawn to my voice, and I think it's because I have been talking to her so much since the second this happened. Whenever she hears me speak, she will turn towards me. I explained to her that she was at the hospital, and I told her she had a seizure in her classroom. Her response was "oh wow". I also mentioned some specific kids names that were involved in getting her help and she seemed receptive to their names. I asked her if she knew who I was, and I think she said "sister". It sounded like Sarah. She told me she loved me, and when I asked her to pucker her lips, she kissed me. She also reacted appropriately when I told her to stick her tongue out and open her eyes wide. She smiles a ton, and it is the sweetest smile ever.

The doctors also strongly believe that what happened to her was a cardiac issue. She likely went into some type of arrhythmia (they gave me a name, but I had never heard of it so I didn't retain any of it. I am going to have the nurse write it down for me.) They believe her heart started doing this, which caused it to stop, which caused the seizure. They believe this because when she was down for the lumbar puncture yesterday, her heart started doing it. I have no idea what the treatment will be for this. I have asked about a pacemaker before she got this diagnosis, and they said she likely wouldn't need one, but now that they know for sure, I will have to ask again. Right now she is on Lopresser, which is a pill. This will help with her slightly elevated blood pressure (130's/80) and her elevated heart rate (110-115). This was just started today.

She still has the NG tube in her nose. She is NPO (nothing by mouth) for at least 24 hours now that she is extubated. Tomorrow they will do a swallow evaluation to see how well she can swallow. Depending on how she does, she may be started on some fluids and foods by mouth. She will have to keep the NG tube until she successfully swallows, and right now it is being used for all of her medications.

She is doing so well today. We have a VERY long way to go, but again, she is taking baby steps in the right direction. I firmly believe the prayers are helping, so please don't stop. We still never leave her alone, unless the nurse asks us to step out. I am not taking the night shift tonight because I haven't had more than a few hours of sleep in the past 72 hours, but I think I might do it tomorrow night.

As always, I will continue to keep everyone updated.


Tiffany said...


Thank you so much for taking the time to keep us updated about Leslie's progress. Please let her know that her "McKinley girls" love her! We will continue to pray for her, a full recovery, and your family.

Tiffany Tittle

Linda Ellis said...

Laura, thanks so much for the updates on Leslie. I have been very concerned, as everyone is about her. I feel she is on her way now and will continue to pray for her. I will put her on our Church prayer list. She is special. You are too.

Erin said...

Praise God! I'm so happy to read that Leslie is awake and praying that her recovery continues to head in the right direction.
As a Speech Pathologist, I can't help but wonder if someone has been in to see Leslie now that she's awake and trying to communicate. They have simple communication boards that she could use until she gains her strength and it stops being so much work to breath and talk.