8-31-11 Wednesday +10 months

(From Lisa)

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Status: Off the ventilator for the second attempt. After attempt number one did not work as expected, we are understandably more cautious this time about raising the victory flag.

Events: Bruce had great breathing trials over the weekend and on Monday, so yesterday the pulmonologists decided it was time to try to extubate again. The breathing tube came out and a mask went on.

Who knew there were so many ways to deliver oxygen? Let’s just say in the past 24 hours they have tried everything from nasal cannula, to light-weight nose and mouth oxygen masks, to heavy duty nose and mouth oxygen masks with straps surrounding the head. (Truly the Hannibal Lecter look.) Right now he’s relying on a very solid-looking nose-only mask with Velcro head straps holding it on. They’ve tried everything from simple oxygen flows to BiPAP masks that give an extra push as he breathes in, and helps the lungs stay open as he breathes out. All this by way of saying it has not been an easy process to figure out what Bruce can tolerate, what he can breathe with, and what will work to keep him comfortable and off the ventilator. Needless to say it was a fairly sleepless night.

The doctors explain that Bruce’s diaphragm muscles are understandably weak, after the past few weeks on the ventilator. I think of it like a prize fighter who has let himself go to pot. It will take some effort and time to tone up those muscles again.

Both physical therapy and occupational therapy stopped by today. They had Bruce move his arms and legs, try to punch the air, etc. Some limbs worked better than others, and even mild exertion tuckered Bruce out – but all in all, not bad for a guy who has been in bed for three weeks.

Comments: Ethan and Rachel were up yesterday to see their Dad off the ventilator – which was a good boost for everyone. And the nurse yesterday even shaved Bruce with an electric razor to get rid of that beard that had started to sprout. Apparently that’s one of the skills they teach in nursing school! It was nice to see a familiar face emerge.

The team here is keeping a close eye on Bruce as it does all it can to keep him off the ventilator. No guarantees obviously, but we’re taking it one breath at a time.


Bruce (and Lisa)


19 Responses to “”

  1. Cliff Karchmer Says:

    Wonderful news, Bruce and Lisa. Will keep an eye on your posts. Fingers crossed for saying “hello!” to self breathing. All the best,

  2. Beth Davis Pitt Says:

    Have kept up with your posts and continue to send prayers to all of you! Praying for an easier night for both of you.

    Much Love

    Cousin Beth (in Atlanta)

  3. dswedlow Says:

    That’s great news. I hope he hangs on until he gets some strength back and breathe without assist.

    david & ruth

  4. Aileen Pincus Says:

    Cautious optimism–good!
    Sending hugs your way,

  5. judy moss Says:

    Wonderful news. We will continue to be hopeful. Please give Bruce a kiss for us and tell him that we are praying for him.
    Love, Judy and Larry

  6. joel steinberg Says:

    We continue to pull for you. Even marginal improvement is great. Joel and Margaret S.

  7. wendy dan Says:

    leaps abound…each small wonder is a miracle in and of itself. babies need to make small steps to progress and eventually they grow into the wonders of someone like Bruce..so he’s doing GREAT>>.cheers and continued prayers..

  8. Johnny De Philo Says:

    We’re all pulling for you, Bruce – every small step a step closer to breathing on your own again. And Lisa – thank you so very much for keeping us posted with the typical humor and great smarts you both share in abundance. Much love Johnny & Lake

  9. Tom Linden Says:

    I hope one breath at a time, Bruce, gets you back home as soon as possible.

  10. Eileen Breslin Says:

    Lisa, we so appreciate the updates. We are in awe of the tenacity of you both. Tell Bruce we are thinking of him and you and of course the children daily. Let him know it is a good thing he had an electric razor…shaving went out of curriculum years ago….love Eileen and Bill

  11. Laurie Samuels Says:

    Lots of love and healing thoughts stream your way…. Laurie and Harry

  12. Tia Lemke Says:

    Lisa, I am thinking of you all … I know it is a struggle for all of the family. I am hoping for the best … and send you good /positve energy to keep you going.

    Much Love as Always, Tia

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