Anni is now the proud, new owner of a chest tube. The CT on Friday evening showed that she had so much fluid in her chest cavity that her right lung was nearly completely compressed. So rather than just tap the fluid, they left a tube in to keep draining it off. In the first few hours of the chest tube being placed, they pulled off 1 liter of fluid out of the chest cavity. Yup, that's 1,000 cc's of fluid. And it's still coming.
Is it perhaps the 500th time we've heard the doctors say, "Wow. We never would have expected that! She really looked good for [insert surprising medical finding here]!" ?
The good news is that the fluid from her chest doesn't show any sign of being infected. The bad news is that they are saying that she will be on the ventilator for at least another week, and that, evidently, is the optimistic view in which all goes well and Anni doesn't pull any more bunnies out of her magic hat of medical mysteries.
I don't mean to sound too overly dramatic. Despite the shocking lack of right lung on the chest C.T., Anni's G.I. says that the C.T. of her abdomen looks millions of times better this week. And she tells us that she is surprised at how well her liver appears to be doing, despite the bowel perforation and massive infection. I'm just sick of having her on the ventilator. It's exhausting seeing your child looking so vulnerable for so long. And, even worse, the massive quantities of drugs she is on (and I have seen enough doctors' jaws drop when the nurses report how much sedation she has required to keep her still for procedures to know that "massive" is a completely accurate description) are beginning to be insufficient to keep her comfortable. Although I don't think she's in any pain, when she wakes up, her eyes dart around the room in a panic. This morning it took her 4 hours to settle back into sleep. No wonder. She's on a ventilator; she's got a huge N.G. tube down her nose (and this is not your usual N.G. feeding tube, this is the kind large enough to pull off blood and lavage her stomach in case of another esophageal bleed); she's got essentially a vacuum cleaner attached to a sponge stuck inside of a huge opening in her abdomen; she's got a chest tube suctioning off liquid beside her right lung; she's got multiple I.V.s incapacitating both arms; she's got a foley catheter to catch her urine; and, the final indignity, she has to wear the most horrible, plasticky, uncomfortable big kid diaper.
Still, I think all of this would be bearable if only she had the breathing tube out so that she could at least complain about it all. There's something annoyingly wonderful about being able to air your grievances, even if it changes absolutely nothing about the situation. Witness my entries of the past several months.