McKay's chest tube fell out last night. More like wiggled itself nearly out and invited a cardiothoraicic surgeon to finish the job. Regardless, it was extremely frightening to his parents.
Matt and I were laying across the hospital bed reading a few bedtime stories to Mac when we both quieted at the sudden sound of suction. We looked at each other and immediately started trying to assess where the sound was coming from. We figured something had gotten loose in the tangle of tubes and wires that criss-cross Mac's body. We got quiet and followed the sound - straight to the bandage on his abdomen covering his chest tube. We called the nurse. She listened. She left to page surgery. The site started leaking fluid. I ran in tears into the hallway and grabbed the first person I could find. Suddenly the room was full of nurses and doctors and xray machines.
Apparently even when removing a chest tube under very controlled conditions, there is a chance air will enter the space and cause a problem with pressures. This can collapse a lung and cause general havoc. So you can imagine when a chest tube makes an impromptu exit, there is high cause for concern. Before we knew it, the surgeon on call arrived, determined the tube had to be pulled and fast. He offered quick apologies that he did not have time to prepare a better scenario and that we had to be there to witness this. Then with a 1, 2, 3, he pulled what seemed like a solid 6 inches of tubing out of my baby as Mac lifted his back and screamed with panic.
Then it was over. They packed the wound where the chest tube had been with Vaseline saturated gauze and I scooped up McKay. He melted into my chest. It was the first true hug we'd shared in more than a week. And with the chest tube out of the way, it was possible.
They started an IV, took another xray, discontinued any further food or drink for the night in anticipation of surgery to replace the tube in the morning. The morning came; this morning came. Another xray. Things looked the same. Hmmm? What to do? How does a kid go from putting out 200+ml of drainage with a chest tube, to maintaining the size of his current effusions with no chest tube?
Whatever the answer, the surgeons are willing to wait and see if he'll maintain. If he does, great. If he doesn't, they will reinsert the tube when he needs it. So we watch. And wait. And hope for the best.
No chest tube this morning meant Mac was virtually free to do what he pleased. He wandered like a drunk out of our room and into the hallway stumbling, but never falling, from wall to wall. He charmed the nurses, found the playroom, explored, colored, and then cried exhausted and was happy to be back to his bed for a nap. So he sleeps and I type; hopeful this little twist of fate provides just the jump start we need to find our way to the door permanently. It would be just like Mac to decide when, where, and how he makes his exit. This is his show, 100 percent.