Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Paced back to 'Normal'

The rhythm specialist showed up around 1 this afternoon, Michael had been on the Sotalol for about 3 hours. They said this was the peak time to try to get him out of the arrhythmia. They started hooking everything up and kind of explained what was going on and how they were trying to fix it. To pace him out of the rhythm, they try to put an extra beat between the irregular beats. I don't really understand how it all works but they were able to get him out of the arrhythmia within a couple minutes.  It took them about 40 minutes to do it yesterday, but part of that was setting him up with the wires and breathing tunbes. Today he already had all that stuff in. The doctor showed up, and we both headed to the hall. Bryt had to use the restroom so it took us a couple minutes to get out of the ICU. Right when we got out the door one of the doctors was walked passed us and told us they were done. It only took them like 3 minutes to get rid of the flutter. We were both shocked, what a relief.
We had to go get lunch, so we went out for a little bit. When we got back to his room he still had the pacing wires in and the pacing machine was still next to him. His heart rate is all over the place, from 100 to 140.  The nurses said this is better than beating so fast consistently. They said it's too early to tell what will happen, he might just have an irregular heart beat from now on. They don't know if the Sotalol will have a negative effect yet, so the next 24 hours will be monitored closely. I feel worried about him, I don't like his heart rate being all over like this, that is how it was before he turned all purple yesterday.  I trust the doctors and I know they are trying to figure out the best balance for him. They say he only likes his stew a certain way and they just have to find the recipe. 
I am having a hard time seeing him hooked up to all of this stuff again, I just want him to be ok and on the path home again. I know he is not comfortable with all this crap hooked up to him. I just want to see that little guy I saw last week. I keep asking questions that no one can answer. All we can do is be patient and see what happens. 

What is stable?

The doctors keep telling us he is 'stable.' I finally asked what that meant to them, because to me it doesn't mean being hooked up to tons of stuff and getting additional medicine and treatment. The nurse explained it in a good way, she said as long as his organs are getting the proper amount of blood and oxygen we consider that stable. Even though there are some kinks here and there and we have to keep tweaking things, his body is still tolerating everything good enough to get his organs everything they need.
We walked into the hospital this morning and Michael had been moved to another room. He is hooked up to a couple more medications and the pacing machine still. It was a little overwhelming walking into the room with all this electrical equipment, but me and Bryt both feel ok with everything today. It is starting to look like he will be in the ICU for a while. They were not able to pace him out of the flutter and gave him some more Sotalol. Yesterday they thought the Sotalol is what caused the heart rate to slow way down and back up the fluid into the lungs, but today they are thinking they want to give him one more chance at it since there was no definite proof it was the Sotalol. He is on a bunch of Morphine and doesn't seem to mind any of the stuff hooked up to him. But it is sad to see him in this state. You can tell he is just really drugged up, I can't imagine he is comfortable. He has an IV in his head, an IV in his right arm, a PICC line in his right arm, a feeding tube down his nose, pacing wires down his throat, blood pressure cuff on his leg, O2 sensor on his other leg, the heart rate monitors, EKG monitors, and last but not least the big Rhino face mask. It is hard to see him like this and I don't really want to post any pics of it. Some good news is the current flutter is not as bad as the one on Monday, the atriums(top parts of the heart) are beating at about 380bpm and the ventricals(bottom parts of the heart) are picking up about 200 of them. So his heart rate right now is about 200bpm. They really want to get him out of this arrhythmia. They are going to try pacing him again around noon after the Sotalol has been in his system a bit longer. Bryttney and I are doing ok, this is not easy to look at, but we are starting to get used to all of it. The doctor told us yesterday this was not going to be a quick fix and we needed to start preparing for the long road. It's hard to hear that, but now we can at least kind of prepare and not get our hopes up. We are glad this all happened while we were still here, if we would have been sent home, this could have been way worse.  

Back to Atrial flutter

We are at home with Zoey tonight, we both felt fairly comfortable with  leaving Michael there this afternoon. We came home and went to bed around 6pm.  I am still exhausted but had the urge to wake up and check on him at 2am. I just got off the phone with his nurse, it sounds like he is still on that fragile teeter totter. We put him on a different arrhythmia medication this afternoon, but it may not be doing the trick. He flipped back into the atriall flutter tonight, so his heart rate is going up again, the nurse said he is hanging out in the 180's. I don't know what they will try next, the sotalol he was on last night did not react well with his body, but that is there first choice for preventing arrhythmia.  What a trip this is... poor little guy is all over the charts. He looked great this afternoon, I can't believe we are still in this funk. I think everyone was hoping the flutter was a fluke and the arrhythmia medication was kind of just a safety net. Tomorrow should be interesting, thank you for thinking about our little guy.