After three weeks of ICU, I settle into a critical care management plan with Yuri waking from his Rip Van Winkle slumber while still on the ventilator. The team prepares me for the next step – getting Yuri off the ventilator by way of a trach tube that would be an easier transition but entails a bit of surgery. I bristle at the thought but I spoke with several friends in the medical profession who I trust, as I try to find the trust for the ICU nurses and teams of doctors and specialists.
During the truly critical times, they work as trained professionals. Cautious nods towards small positives wary of any next change that could undo everything up to that point. I learned from my friends what it’s like to lose a patient when the blood product required is no longer called for; when a person dies from Covid with no family around; when much time is taken aside from actually practicing their specialty to communicate the importance of certain procedures with family members who agonize at the choices they must make.
There also becomes an emotional attachment for patients. I notice a certain delight when the ICU nurses tell me little things about Yuri as he awakened, becoming aware of his surroundings and situation. Very patiently and under no uncertain terms, he made it very clear that “he is feeling much better and wants to go home.”
I say “Fine, let’s do it.” But other opinions, procedures, and protocols follow. When all is said and done, more is said about the next step – the tracheoscopy, move out of ICU to another floor, isolation, escape to rehab, etc. Five weeks on a ventilator there’s a lot of serious rehab coming up.
The Infectious Disease team want him up and about as soon as possible. The Big Bad Wolf still lurking in the woods. Yuri is no Red Riding Hood. He is the Huntsman. I explained to him that he must be breathing on his own after they take him off the ventilator otherwise we will proceed with the next treatment plan.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived this afternoon. I was told that Yuri skipped the part about having anything to do other than being taken off the ventilator, breathing efficiently on his own, and talking! He astounds the entire ICU with his cognizance and motivation to move on. To the next song on the set list!
It feels like he skipped a grade on to the next level which is rehab. So, that’s where we are. Chomping at the bit, like Seabiscuit, coming out of the gate, there’s no stopping his determination to get better. And I’m very happy today. On to the next gig.