Nora struggling after close call
I slammed the phone down and three seconds later I was racing down a backstreet trying to gain more speed. It takes me 14 minutes to get home if I drive very fast. I made it home in 8 minutes, and broke nearly a dozen traffic laws. Jaime was already en route home too, having finished her work day but was unaware of the emergency situation. As I entered the house, I was terrified about what I was going to find. I entered Nora's room just as Nurse Kim had finished coughing Nora. There was vomit on the bed in front of Nora and she was breathing in quick rapid breaths. As ours eyes met, I could see how frightened she was, but I also saw the relief in her eyes that I was there.
Nurse Kim had already turned on the oxygen concentrator that was connected to her BiPAP machine. This would provide a trickle of oxygen mixed with the pressured air of her BiPAP to hlep keep her oxygen saturation up.
Nora kept trying to tell me something, but her voice was so hoarse, I couldn't understand her. Figuring she had something in her throat, I did a few coughs with her. Seconds later a stream of vomit shot out of her mouth. I suctioned it immediately and grabbed the feeding syringe connected to Nora's belly port. I needed to empty Nora's stomach to relieve pressure rather than have Nora continue to vomit and risk aspirating. Nurse Kim lifted Nora's legs and we tried to empty her stomach by forceing it to flow back up the hose to the large syringe. It wouldn't come at first, so I began to suck on the open end of the syringe - literally siphoning food out of my daughter's belly. It worked though, and the liquid food began to empty out of her belly and fill up the syringe. Once we had 60cc's out, we dumped it off. By then, Nora had finished puking and, as most people do, felt a whole lot better. She finally got to complete what she was trying to tell me earlier: "My tummy hurts" she said, then chastised me for not performing her coughs "perfectly".
literally, "perfect" is the Nora standard for coughing, Nora says: [referring to the mask on her face] "Not too high, not to low, not too hard, not to soft... just perfect". She used to say the entire thing each night at chest PT, for weeks and weeks straight, but now she shortened it. She looks directly in my eyes and says "... just perfect."
A short time later, Jaime arrived home. Kim briefed her in the hallway, so when Jaime entered Nora's room, she [Jaime] was still crying. Nora got a bit flustered by seeing Mom, and puked again. Same deal - puke then feel better.
We entertained Nora for the next few hours, but she didn't want us to leave her room. We listened to her lungs which sounded clear, took her temp which was fine, and watched her oxygen saturation closely. We had to keep Nora hooked to to that trickle of oxygen to keep her saturation up. We shut it off once, and Nora told me she needed "more air" and said "I like it" referring to the oxygen. Finally Nora, exhausted, fell asleep briefly. She woke and began moaning - her pulse rate was nearly 170. I'd rub her back to help her fall back asleep, but she'd be up again in 20-30 minutes, moaning. Gave her Tylenol, and she slept for almost 90 minutes. Then got another back rub, sleep, back rub, sleep etc until she began throwing up again at 3:00am. She's now asleep again but I'm watching her closely. I'm worried about her ability to get food and keep it down. She's connected to the feeding pump, but as Nora told me a little while ago: "if you give me the food, I'm just going to puke it back up."
I'm going to wake Jaime at 5:30 am so I can sleep. Then I guess we see how Nora feels tomorrow. Article gallery