Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Call the Nurse

We had a scary moment this morning, as Tyler found himself unable to breathe due to all of the gunk in his throat. It happened about 4:30 this morning, just after his 4am vitals check. He was trying to cough up some of the throat secretions that he has accumulating in his mouth and esophagus, but he just couldn't clear out his throat and he was causing a great deal of pain trying to.

After 5-10 minutes of trying to clear his throat he all of a sudden got much more agitated and asked me to hit his nurse button. A nurse's assistant came in to check on the alarm and she checked Tyler's blood oxygen level. He had 99% for his O2 level, but his heart rate was over 100 beats per minute. Tyler is consistently in the 60's for his heart rate, thanks to a long history of physical activity, so she called his nurse.

When Molly came in, she listened to his wheezing and could see that Tyler was having an extraordinarily hard time clearing his airways. Tyler had Molly look at his throat, where she could see that his uvula is swollen and partially blocking his breathing. She called the doctor, so he could review Tyler's condition. By the time the doctor got to the room, Tyler was beginning to clear out his throat. The doctor did agree to up the morphine dosage per button click, so Tyler is able to get some pain relief from that.

Molly provided the most comfort though. She provided him with some ice water, that he could gargle to "ice" his uvula and throat. Hopefully he can reduce some of the swelling with the gargle.

Tyler finally was able to moisten his mouth and throat enough to dislodge whatever had been blocking his breathing and is resting much more comfortably now. The extra half dose of morphine probably doesn't hurt either. :)

We certainly feel that we owe a great deal to the compassionate and knowledgeable care of nurses like Molly. She did a great job of listening to his rasping and determining what might be the best solution for him tonight.

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