Today is an exciting day for us as we know the tumor that was spreading the cancer has been removed from our precious son. Now we watch over Liam and watch his every breath and movement. He has spent the day bouncing in and out of consciousness as the Fentanyl, a drug used to keep him sedated yesterday and throughout the night, slowly wears off. Liam’s vitals have all been strong and as soon as he can stay awake for an extended period of time he will be able to be removed from the ventilator that has been helping him breathe. Liam has had a fever most of the day but this is considered normal.
He is receiving pain medication constantly and we can push a button to provide more whenever we feel he is uncomfortable. Liam has an epidural that helps block the pain in his abdominal area where his incision is located. Now the doctor is in our room and evaluating Liam at this very moment to see if he is ready to breathe on his own. He is asking Liam to squeeze his hand and he does so very firmly. He asks him to open his eyes and he does so looking up at the doctor with his big brown eyes even though his swollen eye lids are very heavy. I ask Liam to show the doctor his red toe (the one illuminated by the pulse monitor) and he lifts his foot off of the bed and into the air so that it is clear for all to see. Dr. Sovard then asks Liam if he wants the tubes to be taken out and he quickly nods his head an emphatic YES.
The decision to take Liam off of the ventilator was just made and we are anxious to see how he breathes on his own. It is sort of a scary moment even though he has been taking most of his breaths with little or no support most of the afternoon. To get the tube out the tape that is holding it to his face first needs to be removed. Liam has very sensitive skin and it does not react well to adhesive. He still has marks from adhesive related wounds from his biopsy over 2 months ago. The excessive use of tape by the EMT’s that transferred Liam irritates Dr. Sovard as he works to remove it with adhesive remover so as to minimize the pain to Liam. One side is quite raw from a previous removal that was not done so gently. Liam is asked to take a deep breath and as he does so Dr. Sovard exercises a move to slide the ventilator tube out of Liam’s throat and in another he removes the NG tube that was used to deliver medicines directly to Liam’s stomach. He is instantly given Oxygen as we works to cough up some of the flem in his throat. He is breathing well as we calm him back down. Gretchen and I are each holding a hand and a foot as Liam utters something to us. He then coughs some more to clear his throat and tries again to tell us what he wants….Passy. There is no mistaking what he just asked for…he wants his pacifier as we anticipated he would and it is given to him as requested. We look down on our amazing son who has cleared yet another hurdle on his path to recovery. He has done so with bravery, determination, and strength that we are truly in awe of. I have never really had a “hero” but today I have determined that Liam is just that….my hero.
Liam is still in ICU and likely will be for a few more days. Please continue to keep Liam in your thoughts and prayers because it is working.