The chest tube is hurting him a lot and I am so excited for how good he will feel once it's out! The chest tube has been doing something really weird today. The tube appears to be clogged because the fluid is visible in the top part of the tube, but after the connector piece there is no more drainage. So, the obvious conclusion is that the clog is in the connector piece. Well, it's not! The nurse took it apart today and flushed the connector with sterile saline water and the fluid is still not draining out of the top part of the tube (between his belly and the connector). Danny and I have decided that it's about pressure, not a clog. The chest tube is connected to a box that collects the chest fluid by using a water suction technique. If we squeeze on any part of the tubing, the pressure in his chest is horrible. If he breathes in our out with force, bubbles and fluid go up and down the tube...but only to the connector, and it hurts. If I put my ear to his belly near where the chest tube comes out, I can hear the fluid moving around. It sounds like a caffeinated beverage that's been shaken. He can feel the fluid fizzing around in there. I've tried to convince him to let me undo the top part of the tubing from the connector and let it drain out onto a towel, but he won't let me. I think it's a great idea but he gets to decide since it's his chest tube!!! I'm so excited to watch them pull out the chest tube tomorrow.
I took a picture of the chest tube. You can see the top part of the tube, the connector, and the bottom part that attaches to the collection box. If you look closely, you may be able to see the fluid that's mysteriously stuck in the top part. It's really taking a lot of self-control to not pull that connector off and manually drain out that fluid!! I would definitely do it if it were my chest!
|Fluid stuck in the upper tube above the connector|
The transplant coordinator explained the reasoning behind the chest tube to us the other day. It's really interesting. When Danny's first heart was incredibly enlarged, it pushed his lungs out of the way to make more space. Now that he has a small (normal size) heart, and no LVAD or pacemaker/defibrillator, there is a lot of empty space in his chest. Until the lungs re-expand to their normal size, his body produces fluid to fill up the empty space just because bodies don't like empty space. Pretty cool!!
|Finger dexterity therapy :-)|