10 March 2012

Dancing with ECMO

Today was relatively quiet with Eddie getting some good rest. We were able to read him a few stories which he clearly enjoyed and was even mouthing many of the words in spite of his breathing tube.

Our cardiologist and the attending CICU doctor discussed decreasing the flow on the ECMO today to determine how much stress Eddie's heart could handle. We did a bit of this yesterday, but Dr. Mazor (attending) wanted to take it a bit further today. While our cardiologist was dubious about the possibility of weaning Eddie off of ECMO altogether, she agreed it was worth a try . . . and if Eddie didn't respond well, we could simply increase the flow again and start preparations for a Berlin Heart.

So through the late morning and early afternoon, our ECMO nurse took Eddie's flow from 130 cc/min down to 50 cc/min . . . a 60% decrease. In general, his heart performed very well. His toe temperatures dropped and his kidneys struggled a bit, but overall, everyone was very pleasantly surprised. As a result, Dr. Mazor asked to take Eddie back up to 100-110 cc/min flow to give him some rest and then we'll begin taking him down again around 4am. By early morning rounds, he should be at 50 again at which point they'll run an ECHO. If things look encouraging, they will ramp him down even further, possibly turning off the machine altogether. While we're not letting ourselves get too excited, it's gratifying to see him doing so well.

On a more personal note, we had some wonderful visits today. Sarah and I have been buoyed by your kindness and generosity. It's definitely therapeutic to step away from the ICU for awhile and talk with friends about what's going on in the outside world. Thank you.

For your viewing pleasure, I've included a few snapshots of our day . . .

Every four days, the nurses have to completely transition Eddie's meds and leads. It took our nurse the better part of two hours to change all of the lines and set up a new rack of medications. This photo should give you a feel for how crazy this process is. Even better, our nurse forgot that this was an automatic faucet so each time she reached in the sink to sort/discard, she got a surprise :-)

Still life with tennis shoes

Finding time for hospital shenanigans . . .


  1. John you crack me up!! Weston and I had a good laugh when we saw the pic of you and the ladder!! Glad to have news, somewhat of a positive day, all things considered!! Love to you both and all the other Harper kiddlesticks too!!
    ~Shannon & Weston
    PS~I, completely, over use the exclamation point in texts, posts, and emails!!! :)

  2. Prayer for Eddie ad family.
    Love, Mrs. Archuleta

  3. Love the pictures! Good to hear some positive news on Eddie. Take care!

  4. Recognize those shoes of Eddie's from our visit last fall. They were always his first choice.
    Also will add that our son continues to bring a smile to our faces and a shake of the head with his shenanigans along with a recall of one incident many years ago of the "rolling up the sod".

  5. So good to hear Eddie is still doing better. So good to see the humorous in spite of all the tragedy in the world... if everybody could improve today what a wonderful thing it would be....I hope that you have the advantage of being together and reading more stories.... I wish I had the train in my hand and could be there to see his eyes lite up. What a great joy Eddie is to all of us, that through and because of his pain we could become closer than ever..... I hope you and all those who take of Eddie and You, will feel the joy and blessing, that they are to us.

    We love them through you, and really appreciate their talents, their hard work , and especially the resolve they have in solving the problems that you and Eddie present them with....

    Please give them continually, our best wishes, for their love shown to us through Eddie's care.