Saturday, 22 February 2014

Albert's progress, Day 4

Today was a day of mixed news, but things seemed to be heading in the right direction.

First things first, Albert is stable and progressing slowly. I mentioned yesterday that Albert was down to 25% oxygen input via CPAP and he came down to 23% at times overnight. The doctors were confident enough with Albert's oxygen saturation levels that they took him off the CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) machine, a machine that was pushing oxygen rich air into his lungs through his nostrils, and placed him on 'low flow' prongs (as you can see in the picture.) The 'low flow' prongs give Albert '1 litre' of oxygen, which is approximately equal to CPAP at 25% (see this link for comparisons) but without the air being pushed into his airways. That means he has manage the breathing action by himself, even if the air he breathes has more oxygen than in the average room. The staff have been gradually weaning him off the oxygen and he seems to have stabilised on the 0.5 litre mark this afternoon. The doctors are impressed with his progress but stressed that his situation is still critical (or he would not be in ICU). They tentatively suggested that, if Albert continues to improve along present lines, we may be able to negotiate a transfer back to our local hospital's high dependence unit well into next week.

As we mentioned yesterday, Albert's heart condition seems to be stable enough to hope that he may be able to take a few months to gain enough strength and health to give him a much better base to negotiate open heart surgery and the complications of recovery. In the meantime the cardiologist will monitor him via daily observation and scans to ensure things remain stable for now.

Some amazing news is that, with the removal of the CPAP machine, a nurse was able to give Albert is first oral feed! He only took 20ml of a possible 50ml but, since a large part of the struggle from here on will be teaching Albert to feed properly, the fact that he sucked a bottle and swallowed normally is a big deal! His digestive system is working normally, which is also a blessing.

At this stage it is important that Susie has as much milk as possible to supply Albert and, since stress can affect her in this area, I have taken to guarding her privacy jealously. Retelling the story, hearing from others, accepting congratulations etc all cost a little emotionally and they all add up. Hence, I have been an increasing grump and jealous watchdog at our doors. I apologise to anyone who has been upset by not being allowed to see Susie at this time, but I do not apologise for giving her the physical and mental space to be calm enough to cope with daily struggles while maintaining her milk supply. Oh, and if you think you can bypass me in some way, have you seen how big Isaak is lately?

This is all about Albert but it is worth mentioning the emotional strain on our family. The Holmes family have been praying fervently for many miracles since Susie started labour on Monday this week. Some prayers have been answered and some are still being answered, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for all the prayers. Some prayers we can share with you all and others we cannot. Please, please understand that we are very very touched by your love and care, your practical help and most of all your prayers. We do need them, even if I am playing a grumpy guard just now.

I could tell you why all this is worth the effort, but this picture tells everything.


Anthony Ndaira said...

You and your family are so inspiring. You are in my prayers, and in my classroom prayer intentions as well.

St Albert the Great, pray for us

bill bannon said...

Will pray.

Karen Hall said...

I have all my FB friends praying for you guys, and there are some mighty prayer warriors on that list. I am about to email Fr. Mankowski about it, too. (Friends call him the "howtizer" when it comes to praying power.)

chimakuni said...

Grumpy Guard - good on ya!!! You are doing a fantastic job of being a wonderful husband - you are my hero!

Continued prayers for Susie and Albert William ... and all of you...