Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On Saturday the pediatric ICU attending physician, Dr. Jennifer Needle, decided to switch Zack from the oscillator back to a regular ventilator. Because his lungs had healed so much over the last couple weeks, she thought he could handle the switch...and he did! His vent settings are slowly being weaned down and as of this morning, he's on 40% oxygen...

The lowest setting used on this ventilator is about 30%. (Ventilators can provide as much as 100% oxygen but that amount can be harmful.)  We humans usually take in about 21% oxygen with each breath but since breathing through a tube is like sucking air through a straw, a higher oxygen percentage is used. (Thank you, nurses Jamie and Lori for the explanation.)

Along with the switch from oscillator to ventilator, Zack is on lower doses of sedation drugs. He's also off muscle relaxants again because the ventilator settings require him to initiate each breath while the machine gives him some extra oomph and oxygen. The docs are using the word "extubation" (removal of the breathing tube) a lot these days...There's no set date yet but it's definitely on the horizon. 

Regarding chemotherapy, Zack is finished with regular, weekly chemo treatments so this current illness hasn't disrupted a crucial time in his treatment schedule. The next phase is Maintenance, during which he'll receive treatments once every four weeks plus he'll have to take some pills at home. The hematology/oncology docs would like to start this next phase as soon as possible without interrupting his healing process...They plan to do a bone marrow test today to make sure everything is kosher and to help them better plan when to start Maintenance. 

Thank you all so much for keeping Zack in your thoughts. Please continue to sign the blog...Zack isn't going to remember most of his time in the hospital and aside from your comments being a huge source of encouragement and love right now, they will also help serve as a record of this time and of the people who followed his progress. 

Tina visited last week, arriving the day Zack came off ECMO and was switched to the (noisy) oscillator. She helped me find headphones for him and then she knit a cover for them.


Anonymous said...

Well Hello from Pacifica and clean is acoming your way!!!! Maria, thankyou for the updates we feel connected to you and Zack even though we aren't there. My constant prayers and good wishes are with you Zack. Looking forward to having you here, soon!!! Maybe Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know one step at a time. Give my love to all and hang strong everyone... Carol

Anonymous said...

Maria, you have been so strong and positive throughout; you and Zack are lucky to have each other. And we are all lucky to know you both, and to have the privilege of making this journey with you.

hope you feel batter and draw romans vs star wars Shakari

Anonymous said...

I read the blog again and that's okay if Zack isn't aware now..he at some point will know that there was all kind of good wishes and air and prayers being sent his way. Sleep good and keep that body working. God bless you all and kisses to Maria. Hang in there girl. You rock!!!!! Love Carol

Anonymous said...

Zack, thoughts your way today
in a special way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria and Zack,

Just got back on Sunday from spending a few days at Whispering Pines. Remember that place? It is exactly the same! Miguel even got his own cabin this year. All of us up there (the Mei, Schulze, and Burns families, along with your aunt, uncles and cousins) were thinking of you and sending good and healthy wishes your way.
Take Care,
Gina (Mei) Anderson

Kate said...

Hi guys! I am glad to hear that things are continuing to get better -- we didn't end up coming to Portland, but hope to do so soon -- hopefully when everyone is feeling good so we can get the locals tour. Tina's knitting picture was so cute! Glad you guys were able to hang out. Thinking of you! :) kate

Cathrin said...

Hi Zack,
i am writing u from germany. I went to school here and i met a kid named daniel who had cancer 2. I told him about u and he wanted 2 meet u soooo bad. He is doing good now. I think u 2 would have a lot in common. He likes star wars 2 and loves 2 play with playmobiles; u know the ones we played with at your house. I will be back in 1 week. I hope u feel better and lots of love from daniel, my mom, grandma and grandpa, brother, dad and of course brian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tina said...

Dear Zack, Maria and Grandma,

It meant so much to me to be able to spend some time with you all last week. The strength you are all exhibiting is truly amazing. I hope that your new ventilator is a little quieter, perhaps you can even hear your Hogan's Heroes again! I find comfort in knowing that you are in the hands of highly skilled professionals, with Han Solo, Slim Goodbody, Col. Clink and Sgt. Schultz overseeing the healing process!

Sending far away hugs and lots of love,


Anonymous said...

Way to go Zack, better and better every day!! You are a super hero our books -- keep going!!

much love, carlos, laura and olivia

Tony said...

Hey Z-Man!
I am so glad to that I will soon have my Bocce' partner back and I look forward to more heated games and weekends at my house with you and Edan!

Large Hugs from us both!
Your Friends,
Tony n Edan

Anonymous said...

hey zack, welcome back! you is the strongest little dude I know!

Anonymous said...

Zack, good thoughts from my
breathing exercises!

Mocha and Maya said...

Zack! Keep up the great work! And when you have a chance (once you're feeling better), ask the doctor how much oxygen we dogs take in during each breath. We have a bet going! Maya thinks it's much more than humans, which accounts for how light-headed she is, and Mocha thinks it's a little less. She's pretty sure she read that somewhere. Anyway, we WILL see you soon Zack..


Mocha and Maya

jill shafer said...

Hi-ya Zack! Glad to hear that you are doing oooodles and poodles better man! Stay strong and silly! I caught spongebob the other day and laughed hard...I thought of you kiddo! It was when spongebob tries to give gary a bath! thats my favorite one too!!!!!! Lol.

Talk to you soon Zack! My mom sent you and your mom a treat! Its in the mail and on the way!

Enjoy your surprise! love, jill

Anonymous said...

Hi from Pacifica, Happy Birthday Kathleen...hope all is well with everyone. Zack still sending air your way it is BEAUTIFUL down here!!!! Keep breathing strong and I'll keep sending the air, love and good vibes!!! love Carol

reba said...

Hi Zach,

I'm glad you are doing better. I hope you can have visitors soon. I just swam my city swim meet and I got third in butterfly!

Keep getting better!



Anonymous said...

Hi Zack, Maria, and Grandma,

I have to tell you about funniest thing that happened today! I brought Mocha and Maya to the beach in Linda Mar... pretty normal thing. But then Maya.... who always sticks right by me except to romp in the water....... took off like a rocket. She NEVER does that. I saw her galloping towards a kid who had a great big curly head of hair. I think she thought it was you, Zack! There is no other explanation. Needless to say... it only took one whiff and she knew it wasn't you... so back she came romping to Mocha and I. With a sad look I think. Anyways, I know for sure, Mocha and Maya can't wait to see you at the beach again!!!

Courtney, Mike, Mocha, Maya, and Oscar

The Brooklyn Llulls said...

HI Maria and Zack!!
We're back from our vacation. We tried calling today and I think Eddie tried a couple of days ago and didn't get you. Let me know if you received a package. I sent a little something for your mom's birthday and also a little thing for you. Give Zack kisses from us and we love you guys and we pray for you both everyday!! :)

Robert said...

Hi Zack,
The news just gets better. We're very proud of your progress and up with your condition. If you keep doing better, I won't have to fire your grandpa.
Prayers to you, Robert and Terry

Gabe said...

Hi Zack,
I miss you. I haven't seen you for about two months now. I want to have another dart gun fight. The resort in mexico was pretty cool. The rooms my uncle got us were totally amazing. We had our oun private pool. Then the air conditioning went out and we got upgraded to two 4 million dollar villas. But the villas were actually kind of creepy they were so big. I even got lost in one of them.
Hugs Gabe

msderr said...

we miss you so! all of our stuffed animals are crying out for your attention. sounds like you are doing well and stop by and see us when you can!
all our love and good wishes
eileen and trisha at the postal annex