As we head into this weekend I can only hope it is a better one for Ryan than last. He was not well at all.
Last Friday I noticed he seemed a bit “off”, but couldn’t put my finger on it. I’m sure no one, other than Sue and myself, would have noticed any difference. Being with him and tending to him all the time, we are in touch with him at the deepest level. Nothing gets past us. At least not yet. So, going into last Friday night, we were on high alert.
Turns out, we had reason. Just after midnight he began sounding congested. Within hours he was coughing repeatedly. Sue was up with him most of the night.
I got him out of bed early Saturday morning. His congestion and coughing increase in frequency and intensity. I was concerned that the force of his cough might pop the stitches in his eyes. By mid-morning he was sneezing, sometimes in fits. He was ill. There was no mistaking it now. I struggled all morning with keeping his oxygen saturation up and had to put him on 100% oxygen for several hours. Late in the morning it was unavoidable, he needed deep suctioned.
It helped… a little. But it was enough to remove him from supplemental oxygen.
We then began giving him nebulizer treatments every four hours to keep his airway open and break up the congestion. This continued over the next 48 hours.
Last Saturday night was the worst. Ryan was a mess. He developed a low-grade temperature to boot. The concern now was it might settled in his lungs and develop into pneumonia. We had to be aggressive in keeping his respiratory system free of mucous.
Unlike you or I, giving him cold medicine to treat his symptoms is not an option. It’s active chemicals have a potentially adverse effect on those with brain injury. The best we could do is give him a pain reliever and keep at it in keeping him clear. Every time he coughed we quickly suctioned the secretions from his mouth.
The diligence paid off. By late-Monday he seemed to bounce back.
This is the first time since the attack that he picked-up a cold. He has had pneumonia, but this developed secondarily from placing an airway tube in his throat. My concern now is “how” it happened. The incubation period makes the mostly likely day of transmission as the Tuesday before (give or take twelve hours). Did I bring it into our home when I came back from the parole hearing? It’s possible, even though I changed my clothes and washed up before coming in contact with him.
We are diligent in preventing illness to him. I suppose that Sue and I (and the nurses) never caught his cold confirms our efforts (but in reverse). Our golden rule is to never touch his face — especially his eyes, nose, and mouth –without gloves and/or a thorough scrubbing. This type of direct contact is just asking for trouble, even with proper cleansing. As much as I want to touch his lips with my fingers (or give him a quick peck), it would not be wise. It could, quite literally, be the kiss of death.
On a side note: It looks like a past post, Incidentally, It’s a Big Deal, might be heating up again in the comments section.