Sunday, August 23, 2009

Breathe

I have one patient who is intubated. He's got a tube down his trachea and the machine is breathing for him. We've given him a lot of sedation so it's not uncomfortable. He's sleeping relatively peacefully.

He's been that way for about 3 weeks.

He's 23 and has H1N1, aka swine flu. He's morbidly obese with asthma, two big strikes against him in this H1N1 epidemic.

I'm trying to remain hopeful that he'll survive, but every day it's harder and harder to imagine him recovering. He'll get a tracheostomy this week - a hole in his neck for the tube to go in, rather than passing through his lips and down his throat. His white blood cell count (a marker of infection / inflammation) is still high. He spends most of the day with a fever of 101-102. He's starting to get bed sores, because it's so difficult to turn him adequately due to his size. I'm not sure if he's infected somewhere else, becaues he is too heavy for the CT Scan (weight limit 350lb).

I'm really hoping that by the time I leave the Zoo on 31 August, our big guy will be off the ventilator and on his way to recovery. I can't say I'm all that optomistic, but we will do our best to support him through this.

1 comment:

Julia said...

oh wow. how sad. i hope he recovers very soon.