Friday, January 4, 2013

We're HOME!

Wow, what a difference a day makes.  I got to CHOC around lunch time on the 2nd to switch kids with Dave, and Ryan was still on the high flow machine at 3 liters and 35% oxygen.  It was definitely the lowest he'd been on there, but I never imagined at that point we'd be close to going home yet.  Dave took Dani home and I settled in with Ryan.  The RT came in and said he's been tolerating some pretty aggressive weaning, so he was going to try turning the flow down to 1 liter.  I found that a little odd because once he gets to 2 liters or lower, they can put him off the wall so he'll get 100% oxygen with the lower flow.  They explained back in the NICU days how even though it's 100%, there's not a seal around his nostrils so it doesn't all go in, and it works out to the 35-40% he's getting on the higher flow machines.  So anyways, he tried him on 1 liter with 35% oxygen, and his sats slowly dropped and stayed right under 90, which isn't good.  So he went to change him back to 3 liters and I asked, "Can we just try him at 2 liters off the wall and see if he does better with that?"  He said we could try, so he switched him off the high flow cannula and put on the low flow cannula and sure enough he started satting 99/100 which is higher than he had been satting on the high flow machine all week! 

Once that happened, things really started moving.  A team of doctors from the 2nd floor came up to examine Ryan and said they'd be moving us down there by that night.  They sent up a new nurse and we got packed up and moved by dinner time.  Before we moved, we had a nice visit from 2 of his favorite NICU nurses:  his primary nurse, Lindsey, and the very first nurse I ever met with Ryan when I was finally discharged from HOAG and got to go visit him, Yen.  If you've been following our journey from the beginning, you probably remember those names. :)  It was really nice to see them again, and I could tell that Ryan could sense they were there with him.  He just loves seeing his former nurses! 

We were lucky when they moved us they gave us a private room on the 2nd floor PICU because they knew I was spending the night.  I got a nice little wheeled bed and everything!  It was surreal being on the 2nd floor again because that's the same floor as the NICU and we were on the same side as the Small Babies Unit where Ryan spent most of his days.  In fact, when we were there, this area was not being used because it's more for overflow (another sign that this RSV season is brutal because this floor, which is usually closed, was full of sick kids).  I remember a few days before we were discharged from the NICU, the Apria Home Health representative used this nurses station to demonstrate some of the monitors we would be taking home to use on Ryan because they were going to beep and she didn't want to be in a room with other babies.  It was strange to see it transformed from that deserted room to a bustling PICU.

The nice part about being on the same floor as the NICU was that we got to see a few of our friends before we left.  On our last day there, word must have spread fast that we were going home because people were stopping by to say goodbye to Ryan.  We got to see his primary nurse, Julie, one more time, our former social worker, Candice, his former physical therapist, Jen, and his former NP, Mindy.  He also had one of his former RT's that day.  It's weird that it's only been 2 and 1/2 months since we brought him home, but seeing all those familiar faces it almost felt like we never left.  The nurse we had that day was so amazed at how many people at CHOC know Ryan.  I can't wait until the day he's all grown up and he can give back something to that other "family" by volunteering somehow. 

Overall, we are really blessed that this whole thing went down the way it did.  Ryan continues to amaze us with his strength and determination.  He really did better than anyone ever expected getting through that virus.  I'm sure a big part of is was the 2 rounds of synagis shots he had prior, but a lot of it was the answered prayers we were all sending up.  I think it also helped to have so many wonderful doctors and nurses looking after him at CHOC.  It was like being with family, they took such good care of him.  And the fact that he was in and out in just over a week is truly amazing, with the added blessing that Dave and I were on winter break so we were able to juggle staying in the hospital and watching Dani without much of a strain.  Thank you all for keeping Ryan in your thoughts and prayers!
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