On Day 2 (Sunday), Maddie was extubated, meaning they took the breathing ventilation tube from her throat and mouth so she could begin breathing unassisted, first with oxygen in a nasal cannula and then completely on her own with room air. One out of the four chest tubes for lung fluid drainage was removed. Two IVs were removed from her right arm. She began drinking and eating again.
On Day 3 (Monday), they removed the second to last chest tube, she walked around the ICU hallway a bit, and they talked about moving her to the regular Cardiac floor sometime this week.
Medically speaking, Maddie is doing amazingly well recovering.
Psychologically speaking, the last two days have been our own private version of Hell.
If you haven’t heard me say this before, I’ll say it again. Maddie is a fighter. And by fighter I don’t mean she is tough and takes what’s given to her like a champ, though she is both of those things. What I mean is, quite literally, Maddie DOES NOT GIVE UP. On anything. Not ever. Period.
This attribute, combined with heavy painkillers and the slurred speech of one coming out of said medications, makes for an extremely irrational 6-year-old.
Oh, you want chicken noodle soup, extra, extra hot from the microwave? Boiling. Great! But you want to feed yourself? No, your hands and arms aren’t fully functional after coming off the strong sedatives used while intubated so I need to feed you. No, you may not do it yourself. No, thrashing around and trying to scratch out my throat will not enable you to do it yourself today. Eat the soup while it’s still hot. Oh, now it’s too cold because you’ve spent the last 10 minutes screaming that you have to feed yourself and you want our kind, patient nurse to heat it up for you again? Sure. Just remember that I’m the one who’s going to feed it to you today. No, screaming will not change that fact. Why don’t you just let the morphine, and Benadryl, and Ativan do their jobs and fall asleep like I can see your eyes want you to do. Oh, you’re not tired. You want to watch the Jim Carey version of The Grinch again but you missed the last part because you keep dozing off, so you want to start it over? Okay, you’ve watched the first 2 minutes ten times now, should we wait until after you’ve taken a nap to watch it? No, you want to start it over again because you missed the last 20 seconds of the beginning that you’ve now seen 30 times? And you want to be the one controlling the keyboard even though your hand is completely unsteady and keeps missing the button?
Repeated for 6 hours.
Yes, I’m grateful that she is so strong-willed and stubborn. Yes, I’m grateful that she pushes on despite what most would find to be debilitating circumstances. Yes, I know that these qualities will continue to serve her well into adulthood. But GOOD GRACIOUS ALMIGHTY! May the effects of these medications quickly wear off so that we can at least return a little reason to the conversation?
She is good. She is strong. She is doing well.
She is a fighter. With the love of those around her and the prayers and well-wishes of the many who have offered support, we will get through these hard days.
I’m just thankful that these experiences happen in a world where there is dark chocolate.