As soon as Nathan's hernia surgery was over, we started looking forward almost immediately to the day he would be well enough to come off the ECMO machine.
As Nathan passed Day 7 on ECMO, the doctor's words about the 14-day "safe window" ran through our minds many times a day. While ECMO itself is very dangerous, the odds of survival decrease greatly after 14 days. So having Nathan pass into the second week lit an urgent little fire under us.
And as if that wasn't urgent enough, Nathan still had the open wound where the silo was and it continued to bleed daily requiring daily transfusions.
So each day was critical -- HIGHLY critical. But, fortunately for us, we didn't realize just how critical his situation actually was. Really, only now as we discuss and write this does the entire criticalness of the situation actually hit us. Nathan truly was watched over and blessed with Divine protection during this time.
One of the difficult things about ECMO is that there is no prognosticating when it comes to trying to figure out when a patient is ready to come off. No one can tell you, "Well, if things continue like they are he should be ready by such-and-such day." It's really a day-by-day, hour-by-hour wait.
On Day 9, there was finally talk about "trialing" Nathan off ECMO to see how he would do. To trial someone off ECMO, the machine is turned off and the patient is given the opportunity to circulate and oxygenate their own blood. The length of the trial is determined by how well the patient does. The goal is to have them make it an hour. If they can make it an hour, they are usually ready to come off.
As the morning went on, there became more talk of trialing Nathan off and it looked as if it was going to happen sometime that afternoon.
While the family was off to lunch, the medical team "secretly" trialed Nathan off without any of us knowing.
When Bekah and the grandmas returned from lunch, everyone was surprised by the news that the trial had already taken place -- and Nathan had passed!!!!!
That evening, during a 2-hour operation, Nathan was taken off ECMO. It was both relieving and exhilerating. But most importantly, it was a giant step forward for Nathan.
With ECMO now behind us, we could now focus on other aspects of Nathan's health.
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