Thursday, December 8, 2011

Everyday Miracles

Have you ever witnessed a miracle happen right before your eyes?

This past week, Mary has been in University Hospital, in Newark, NJ, battling RSV.  Things took a down turn last Thursday when Mary's lungs filled up with fluid, but Kate and I, not knowing she had RSV thought we could manage it from home, as we often do when Mary has a cold.  By 10:00pm on Friday, after near constant treatments for over 24 hours, Kate and I decided we could no longer manage it from home and it was time to go to the hospital.  Soon after getting here, and receiving the positive RSV test results, Mary's mucous started to increase even more and get very sticky and THICK!  Thank goodness for the amazing RT's here at UMDNJ, who are so skilled at deep suctioning and using the cough machine.  Mary kind of started to improve, or at least stabilize, so it seemed.  Then, by Tuesday evening, Mary lungs were SO full of THICK, STICKY mucous, we just couldn't maintain her O2 sats above 90, even while on 5 liters of supplemental O2.  I was certain we would have to intubate to get her over the illness.  Then, 7:00 am shift change rolled around, and in walks Heron, a 6'2", barrel chested, Respiratory Therapist from China.  A bit of relief came over me, as Heron has helped Mary several times in the past.  Heron, who happens to be an orthopedic surgeon in his home country, walked in the room, took one look at the sats (90% on 5 liters O2) and said with his Chinese accent, "Ryan, take her mask off and bag her, I do my best suction now, clear out lung..." So, I took the mask off....alarms started to sound...bipap-beep, beep, beep, Pulse Ox-Ding! Ding! Ding!, and Heron began to suction..... her numbers continued to drop...O2 80%, HR 118, and her lips went from pink to grey to pale-white as the numbers continued down, O2 70%, HR 90, finally, I insisted that I cough Mary, because I didn't want to see her heart rate drop any lower.  So I coughed Mary with the catheter still in her nose, and thick mucous came bubbling out of her mouth as her eyes came back to life and color started to come back to her face.  During this whole process, instead of being worried, I had a eerie since of comfort and the utmost faith in Heron and what he was doing.  Soon, as I saw the thick yellow and GREEN mucous start to slowly flow from Mary's lungs into the suction catheter, I felt as if I was watching a MIRACLE take place, right before my eyes.  The mucous flowed and flowed, slowly and steadily filling the entire suction tubing as Mary's numbers steadily rose up into the high 90's.  I absolutely knew that had Heron not cleared her lungs at that moment, we would have to intubate.  Heron returned every 2 hours that day to do the same procedure, each time clearing the mucous that had accumulated in her lungs.  And after each treatment, Mary would be completely wiped out; exhausted, but we all (including Mary) knew, this is what it would take to get us through the next few days and avoid "the tube" as Mary would put it.  That evening and the following day was more of the same, and again we were thankful to have Heron on duty.

Finally, last night Mary (and mom and dad) got a good night's rest and slept 5 hours straight without having to do a treatment. 

To the SMA families in the northeast who are hesitant to come to UMDNJ (Yes, the hospital where Dr. Bach practices) because it is in Newark, or you've heard horror stories (we did), or whatever.  I urge you to keep an open mind.  We've found the care here to be amazing.  In our opinion, nobody knows how to treat SMA (especially Type 1) patients better than this hospital.  Sure, it is in a bad part of town, and there aren't "comfy beds" or flat screen TVs on the wall, but the CARE here is FIRST RATE, and isn't that what you come to a hospital for anyway?? 

Lastly, please say a prayer for all of the sick SMA kiddos out there.  There are way too many not feeling well right now.  Also, say a prayer for the SMA Queen herself, MJ and she prepares for surgery tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Praying for you Ryan. Don't worry about anything back here. We got it all under control. Let me know if there's anything you need.


jennifer G said...

Wonderful news! We have been sending prayers! Hopefully Miss Mary will be back to her sassy self just in time for Santa!

Jesse said...

Ryan, we are praying for you all, especially Mary. Let me know if there is anything I can do from here.

Branson Family

Lynn Widmark said...

Great news! Praying for Mary and your family. Yes you are so right Ryan, all it takes is that special someone in healthcare to make a difference. I don't know much about that hospital but it sounds alot like the hospital I work at, just because it doesnt have top notch beds or TV's don't judge that it doesnt provide top notch care because it is usually those hospitals that do. Praying for a speeding recovery and God bless Mary and to you and Kate, Mary couldnt have been blessed with more loving parents than you two.

Getty Owl said...

Fantastic post! You all are doing an amazing job! Hugs and get well soon!

Anonymous said...

Ryan and Kate,
We are praying for Mary out here in Hawaii. Veronica has been keeping me informed, but i wanted to send a note myself. Keep up the fight! Miss you guys and will put a star on the tree so we don't forget to include you in our Holiday wishes.
Tom (Catfish), Veronica, and Eva

Katie said...

Thoughts and prayers for your family for a great Christmas. This has been a very tough fall/winter already for us-and for other families I know with children who have health issues. Hugs to your family in hopes that we can all just get through this cold/flu season with as few illnesses as possible. I'm glad that you are comfortable and love your hospital care you get...that is so important. Take care and have a nice Christmas. I hope that Mary is feeling better.