Our first grandson was given a trial-off the ventilator today, which has been providing only minimal support for the past week. However, the poor little guy struggled under CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure, which is a step between mechanical ventilation and nasal cannula).
This was telling that his body is not quite ready to be breathing on its own.
Tests of his blood gases also revealed that he did not tolerate the trial well, so the decision was made to reintubate him.
Naturally, this was very disappointing to us, and I can only imagine how Hannah’s and Eric’s hopes must have been crushed.
Even in disappointment, there are reasons to be hopeful. The doctor ordered an Echo while Clay was on CPAP and his body under some distress. The doc was pleased with how the right ventricle of the baby’s heart was performing. A couple of weeks ago, there were still some major concerns with how well his heart could handle such demands.
Also, x-rays taken during the trial again confirmed that the lungs have opened up considerably more than expected.
Apparently Clay’s difficulties today stemmed partly from the fact that his diaphragm muscle is weak. That’s an obstacle I hadn’t considered, but one that makes sense.
When Clay was born five weeks ago, his diaphragm had a large hole in it. That’s how the organs slipped up into his chest cavity. Surgery repaired that hole, but the diaphragm is not quite up to the challenge of breathing on his own just yet.
We just don’t think much about our diaphragms, do we?
What this means is that Clay’s healing will take longer than we had hoped. We are disappointed, but we are trying to keep in mind the big picture that--one of these days--he’ll be off that ventilator.
It is painful to think of little Clay struggling to breathe. How we take for granted the involuntary functions of our body that keep us alive from hour to hour, from the continual pumping of blood to the intake of oxygen and exhalation of toxins.
I’ll have to say I’ve received a refresher course in human physiology these past few weeks—one that has served as a reminder that our bodies are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as Psalm 139 says.
“Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”
Meet Clayton Cash...