Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wednesday Update

Getting Better All The Time

Day twelve and another day of progress for our brave girl. This morning Laine had her last chest tube removed and along with it a major source of pain. She has plenty of others. These chest tubes create escape hatches for liquid or gaseous pressures that build up in the chest cavity as a result of trauma. Laine required three tubes. They are plastic pipes, about 3/4 of an inch in diameter and they are fitted into the chest by drilling a hole at the side so that the tube can be slipped through the muscles and inserted deep into the chest cavity. There are two settings that allow the tube to either aggressively suck (I.e suction mode) or to allow drainage-only called "water seal". The point here is that Laine had three chest tubes. They did their job, relieved the pressure, allowed for drainage, but hurt like heck.

Two other notable steps were taken today. The tracheotomy specialists provided Laine with a little device that fits over her tracheotomy port and allows for the exhaled air to be routed up through the mouth, thus producing the air that enables her vocal chords. So, for the first time in twelve days Lainey was able to speak. Think about not being able to speak for nearly two weeks --- after enduring the most emotional and difficult experience of your life! Well, sure enough, along with the words, came an outpouring of tears and emotion. Somehow I knew that was coming. Like a damn that bursts open once the first crack in the wall appears. In any case, it was a welcome relief and probably the first of many. But since the adapter restricts airflow, it can only be used for short spurts initially. What's clear is that soon enough, Laine will be asking the hard questions. What happened? Why? Asking about her horses? These will not be easy conversations.

The other major milestone is that Laine had a swallowing test, which she passed with flying colors and was cleared to drink. So, her first meal was apple juice with an apple sauce chaser. Yum! I'm sure those little morsels tasted just as good to her as a Thanksgiving day feast to the rest of us. This afternoon there is talk that Lainey will be moved out of ICU and also physical therapy will come to work with her and get her mobile again. It's all part of the healing process that is now well underway. So, it really is getting better all the time and we are all ecstatic with Laine progress.

Thank you all for reading.

Michael Ashker