If only

Lights on.

It’s 4:30am and I wake to the bright overhead lights being turned on. Either something’s wrong or our overnite Chaperone is being a pain. I squint towards David’s bed and see the Fellow standing there.

Something’s wrong.

A half hour earlier, David’s heart-rate dropped suddenly into the 40’s, his oxygen level had also dropped suddenly. Blood was being drawn for his daily 4am labs, so the nurse waited until they came back before sounding the alarm. She said he was pale and lethargic.

His blood gas came back awful. So bad they had to max out the ventilator settings. That’s right, there is very serious talk of putting him on the oscillator, as it is really called.

I prefer the life-support machine.

Maybe yesterday’s episode wasn’t isolated, maybe the bleeding did more damage than originally thought. His chest x-ray shows marked deterioration of his left lung. Upon exam, they can hear that his left side is ‘down’, even with the vent setting maxed, he’s not moving air through his left lung very well.


The Fellow is unsure, he doesn’t want to put David on the oscillator, he’s afraid his body won’t tolerate it, he would require deep sedation and additional lines for closer monitoring. What I hear between his words is that he doesn’t want to be the one to commit him to this machine – to be the one to say there is no more hope.

So we wait for the Attending.

Of course, being Sunday, it seems like forever before the doctors arrive for rounds. They repeat his blood-work prior to rounds. A dose of sodium bicarb and the increased vent settings seem to have straightened him out for the time being. While the Fellow is certain this episode is an indication of his lungs getting worse, the Attending feels it is all related to the blood he aspirated yesterday.

Something we can support him through, rather than throw in the towel and wait for the inevitable.


So the vent was re-adjusted. Now we wait to see what his numbers tell us. Given that he’s been intubated for the past 2 months straight he has developed an underlying lung disease, causing a fibrosis or thickening of the lung tissue. This isn’t an infection or a pneumonia, something that can be readily treated. The Attending thinks his lungs are as stable as they will get for a while. It may take months into years for the damage to repair itself – if it can be repaired.

His upper GI bleeding has increased again and his 10am labs indicate the need for another blood transfusion and more platelets. Everything else looks relatively good. His kidney function has improved, his liver is holding it’s own, his heart is still strong. The three main contenders are the gut, the lungs and the adenovirus / GVHD. The adenovirus/GVHD get lumped together simply because we can’t tell which one is really the culprit in destroying his gut – so we treat them equally.

If we could get the adenovirus/GVHD under control, his gut could start healing. If his gut could start healing, he could be extubated and his lungs could start healing. If his lungs started to heal, he could start being a baby again.

If only….

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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17 thoughts on “If only

  1. I am reading your words. I am out here in blogosphere walking this next to you, and sending you peace.

  2. Praying for “if only”.

  3. Sending much love, strength, positive vibes and prayers to you and Captain Snuggles.

  4. Hoping and praying specifically this week for the if only’s.

  5. If only’s do happen. Don’t ever forget that. David’s a fighter, and he has the bravest Mama ever. Positive thoughts and hugs continue to come your way.


  6. Pingback: Tweets that mention If only | transplanted thoughts -- Topsy.com

  7. eva

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Captain snuggles may god give you strength to fight this and live a happy healthy life. xoxo

  8. {{Hugs}} Amy, I am thinking of you and David.

  9. Thanks for updating and giving us specific things to pray for. There is so little that I can do for you but I hope it helps a small bit.

  10. Miranda

    Im praying for the “If Only” I stumbled on your blog about a month ago. I check back everyday for updates. I am praying for David to get stronger. I am praying for your strength. {{Hugs}}

  11. Thinking of you. Hope all goes well on THIS Sunday.

  12. Thinking of you and him right now! If Only happens, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it happens for David & soon!

  13. Oh Amy I keep hoping there will be better knews. I hate that oscillattor and hope it never sees the light of day in your hospital room. Thinking of you and hoping for you as always.

  14. sharon

    David hasn’t given up and neither should we, although an if only or even two would be great just about any time now 🙂

    Still hoping.


  15. Hang in there, big hugs. jen xx

  16. Sairah

    Sigh, oh, the “if onlys”… stay strong friend! Thinking of you guys!


  17. Praying for both of you, especially for you right now that God will supply you with an extra amount of strength for the task. Even the strongest get tired, and I know you must be exhausted.

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