After being back on the ventilator again, Nathan had two really good days in a row where he was calm and comfortable. That meant that the doctor wanted to try and bring him off the ventilator again. Considering how the last three times had gone, we felt remarkably good about Nathan's prospects this time.
Instead of bring Nathan down directly to the high-flow nasal cannulas this time, the doctor decided to try him on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). It works by delivering a continuous stream of compressed air through a hose to a nose mask. The machine blows in air at a prescribed pressure and keeps the airway open. It would allow Nathan to breathe on his own, but also provide him with the additional airway support that he obviously needed.
The doctor confessed to us that he wanted to try Nathan on CPAP the last time, but that he let the nurse talk him out of it because apparently it is very uncomfortable.
Despite the comfort level, Nathan was doing very, very well on CPAP. They set the CPAP rate at 20 breaths per minute. In addition to the 20 breaths from the machine, Nathan was averaging taking 10-20 breaths per minute on his own.
So the machine was still doing the majority of the work, but it was definitely a step forward!