ICU Day 20 -Passed Breathing Test

This morning Rachana went through a 2 hour breathing test and did well. She was basically made to breath on her own with the ventilator in a support mode, to take over if she fails to breath enough. She did great but the doctors wanted to observe her for another day and try the same test again tomorrow morning. If her lungs manage to support her body again for 2 hours tomorrow, then they will remove the tubes and take her off the ventilator. Big day tomorrow – we are this close now!

She also received some physiotherapy and she did well there too. She was able to lift her legs but could not support her back and neck fully. Once she’s off the ventilator she will probably need 2-3 week of rehab to re-train her muscles and be able to manage without any support.

In the last two days she’s shown us true grit. She managed more than 24 hours without any sedatives and few doses of pain medication. It’s hard for me to understand how she is doing all this. I’ve see her on a bed with no activity for close to 20 days and she gets up, manages to communicate, manage to not lose her mind about the large tube inside her throat, calms down to follow instructions and keeps her cool for a 2 hour test. I still can’t believe she did all that. I’m a bigger fan of her now!

Last night was bitter sweet. The doctors didn’t want to give her any sedatives on a continuous basis and this just kept her wide awake and aware. She was trying to talk pretty much all the time using her eyes, head, hands and also trying to make sounds in spite of the large tube in her mouth. This was all great, but it was wearing her out and increasing her heart rate quickly; she also had a fever and that didn’t help either. We kept telling her to relax and save her energy for the breathing test the next morning. She was obviously in a lot of discomfort. Imagine being awake, not sure what has happened in the last 20 days, have your hands tied down with a large pipe down your throat. The only saving grace from this mental trauma was that the nurses and we were there providing some moral support.

I woke up this morning to a machine beeping, to find Rachana widely shaking her head calling me to come near her; she was doing this all night where I would walk over to her, hold her hands and tell her to sleep so we can talk tomorrow. I’m not sure how many time she wanted me to come over and I was just sleeping. This morning I told her that we need to do a quick test to see if she was ready for the breathing test later in the day. I showed her the clock and said ‘Let’s see if you can close your eyes and try slow breathing for 5 minutes’. She followed this very well. Then she wanted to say something – we brought a white board for her to write. Her energy level are so low that it’s difficult for her to even hold a marker. But when we asked her to write our kids name she wrote this.

Shubh and Rashi, written by Rachana after 15 days of induced sleep

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