Monday, July 9, 2012


Nate has now had his trach for an entire year.  I can't believe it.  Actually, I can.  It's been a very long year. 

After spending last April-June in the hospital, Nate was discharged. He used a combination of an oxygen cannula and a biPAP machine that forced air into his lungs (basically what the vent does now but the air went into his nose instead of his neck).  He seemed to be doing okay at home, but he definitely wasn't himself most of the time.  He was still withdrawing from the narcotics he'd been on in the hospital and just didn't seem healthy.  (If you want to catch up on more of last year's hospital saga, read this.)

One morning, after we'd been home for a couple of weeks, Nate didn't wake up. He had needed a bit more oxygen than usual that night and I was concerned so I woke him up. Only he just wouldn't really wake up. His eyes looked dead and he seemed totally unaware of me.  I called the paramedics and then my mom showed up unexpectedly with Nate's cousin Greta.

Nate was lying on the floor and Greta, who was one year old, crouched down right next to Nate and started to poke him really hard all over his body.  She seemed very confused about why Nate was just lying there not moving and was trying to poke him back to life.  It was a horrible, stressful morning but looking back on that always makes me laugh. 

When the paramedics got there I had him on as much oxygen as I could give him and his heart rate was way, way low. He was intubated immediately in the ER and had CO2 levels of 212 (normal is 30-40).  No one could believe he'd made it.

The next morning, Nate got his trach.  I know people will think this is really weird, but Scott and I went to the mall while Nate was in the OR.  This was his third surgery and we had learned from the other two that it really doesn't do any good to sit around waiting.  The operations always take longer than they tell you they're going to and all it does is stress you out.  We just had to put our trust in the surgeon and then get out of the hospital.  I guess it was our way of dealing with some of the stress.

We got back to the hospital just before Nate came back up to his room.  It was amazing to see the change in him after the surgery.  He just looked so comfortable.  I hadn't seen him breathe that comfortably since he was a baby.  He had great color in his face and I felt like we'd made the right decision to give him the trach.

At the time, we had no idea what we were up against.  We didn't think he'd have the trach for more than a few years, and we definitely didn't think he had anything like SMARD.  Nate's trach has complicated all of our lives in countless ways, but it is also the reason he still has a life to complicate.  So I guess we'll take it. 


  1. Wow Annie, I've really missed a lot of your posts in the last little while (I've kind of checked out for a couple weeks). Love all of them. B sides are hilarious.

  2. Wow, how horrible it must have been to have found him that morning so lifeless. Trust me, I know the feeling! I'm SOOOO glad he's ok and thriving on his trach! He is such a cutie and has such a sweet, happy, strong spirit! You are a strong woman Annie!