Tuesday, November 13, 2012

O2 Anyone?

You know those crazy times when you forget to do something?  Or you do it and don't remember?  Yeah, I've had a few of those.  Okay, so more than a few.  Usually, it's no big deal.  It comes with the ADD (which, yes, I do actually have and struggle with).  So I've got my routines.  And some of them are because I've been "bit" before.

Like my oxygen tanks (or Aaron's, I should say).  I actually had a "bad" one back when he was tiny.  Fortunately, I realized there was a problem as we were driving by his oxygen place.  I walked in and told them I had a bad tank, a bad regulator, or a bad baby.  And they'd better hope it was number one or two, or we'd be calling an ambulance.  Talk about the deer in the headlights look on their faces!  They did not want to need an ambulance.  It was the tank, we got a new one, and went on our way.  AND I put a safety net in place.

Now we always carry a full back-up tank of oxygen, and I always "crack" or open the tank to make sure it's full and working.

NO, I didn't deprive him of oxygen to get this
picture.  I just played with the photo settings.
But this gives a little bit of an idea of what
he looked like.  His lips are still a little
pinker than they were in the car.
So here's the story.  On Saturday, I got out the oxygen for our trip to the movies.  I opened the tank to make sure there was more than enough oxygen for the trip.  Even though we carry a spare, it's much easier if I don't have to switch.  There was, so we were good to go.  Got everything ready, got his ventilator switched to an "away" mode, hooked him up and out we went.  And it was COLD!

We got in the car and I hooked him back up to his pulse/ox machine.  That's the one that measures how much oxygen he's got going round and round in his little body.  At least it measures it when it's happy, meaning that the probe is on right, he's not tightening his muscles too much, it's not being pulled, you get the picture.  Long and short of it, I've learned to look at the baby as much if not more than the pulse/ox.

So there we were, in the cold car, and the machine wasn't real happy.  Sometimes, I would get a reading for a minute or so, and then it would blank out again.  And the readings I was getting weren't great.  Like mid-70's to low-80's.  But I've also seen them before when it's trying to read.  So I'm also looking at Aaron.  His poor little lip was quivering, like he was cold.  But those little lips were also a bit blue, like when you're really cold.  I didn't think it was that bad.  He was covered in a blanket, with a warm rice-bag stuffed animal and a hat.

I kept checking everything.  Yes, the pulse/ox was acting up, nothing new there.  Yes, his oxygen was hooked to the ventilator (seen that one undone once or twice, or more).  No, it wasn't kinked.  Yes, the tank was turned on.  And frankly, except for his blue lips (I know, not a good sign) he looked pretty good.  His eyes were alert.  He wasn't upset.  Both signs that he wasn't in too much distress.  But I was getting there.  Not frantic, or even close.  But quite irritated that I wasn't getting good readings.
Same kiddo, same picture, normal coloring!
Love those pink lips!!

So I finally wondered if maybe the tank wasn't a good one.  Maybe there was a problem further upstream.  Nine times out of ten, when I hook up the tank to the vent, I turn on the tank first and hear the oxygen.  Well, apparently this was the tenth time.  I pulled the tubing off to see if I could hear the oxygen and . . . nothing.  Nothing at all.  Looked back at the tank that was more than 3/4 of the way full ten minutes earlier, and it was on empty.

This time I had closed it back off after checking.  And because I didn't listen when hooking up the tubing, I didn't realize it.  Talk about feeling foolish.  And wonder of wonders, when I cranked it on (and turned it up a little higher to help him quicker) those blue little lips turned pink!  Yeah, the nice rosy color they're supposed to be.  Turned out he wasn't cold after all.  Just oxygen deprived.  Oops.  It was (slightly) reassuring that he could maintain high 70's and low 80's without any oxygen.  But I don't think we'll be trying that again anytime soon.  Sorry, kiddo!

Breathing is the greatest pleasure in life. 
~Giovanni Papini
Thankful thought:
November 13th:  I'm grateful for all those who've helped care for Aaron, for his doctors and nurses and therapists, for family and friends who pray for him.  He's 29 months old today.  That's 29 months more than we thought we'd get.  And he has taught us so much.  Happy Birthday, little man!


  1. yikes! so many things to remember, huh? xoxo

    PS: Thanks! :D

  2. Oh man, I can relate. We've had scares like this too, even when on our own & there isn't a full staff of docs, RTs, nurses, etc on hand to intervene. It is SO SCARY!!!

    And that blue picture hurts my heart, even if it is just a fake! I prefer Norah in oranges and reds over blues and purples for that reason alone! I'm glad you included the original when he is that lovely shade of pink!