Sunday, 11 March 2007

These days

What a day yesterday. When I wrote the last post he didn't seem too bad. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

We were several hours in A&E, despite warning the ward in advance that he was on his way. A&E only did maintenance. No treatment.

By the time we got to the ward he was sleepy and in 3 litres. I thought he was tired from coughing up all the secretions. He was but his body was also shutting down as he was running a temperature and his lungs had started to fail. In the space of three-quarters of an hour he went from 3 litres of oxygen to 4, to 5, to 6, to 7 and finally to 8 litres. His head and torso was burning with a fever but his hands and feet were icy as his body lost control. The doctors were getting really worried.

It's hard to explain how worried they were. Put it this way. When we have been in for previous chest infections a doctor comes for a few minutes and then goes away. A few hours later the consultant turns up, stares at the boy, smiles and leaves. The nurse comes in for twenty minutes and then goes away, popping back every hour or so. This time we pretty much had a room full of people for four hours. The nurse looking after him, the senior nurse, the doctor and the consultant with the intensive care registrar popping in and out.

They had intensive care prepared for him and were pressing me to allow him to be transferred. They were planning to put him on cpap - some kind of ventilator. He wasn't producing any secretions as he was too weak to cough them up. There was talk of collapsed lungs, blood gas and nitrates. A couple of hours all passed in a bit of a blur to be honest. Anyhow bottom line was, if he needed even a little bit more oxygen or his temperature didn't stabilise then he was going to intensive care.

This was the situation when the wife arrived. Just when it was looking a foregone conclusion, the doctors and nurses who had been in a permanent melee around his bed left for the shift change. The wife gave the boy some physio which brought up a little secretions and then boy settled to sleep, with me watching the sats monitor and willing his oxygen saturation to go up. It finally stabilised. He then improved markedly over the next couple of hours, with his oxygen needs coming back down to 3 litres. Bad but not life-threatening. I left the wife to it at about 9pm.

Chest infections scare me. Ever since his first bout of pneumonia, I've always worried that it will be a chest infection that will do for him, not the cancer.

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