A little while later she started really having trouble breathing -- her poor little chest was heaving and all of her monitors started going off. The nurse paged the on-call doctor and also Claire's surgeon. They suspected the ventilator tube that goes into her trachea was clogged with mucus, and ordered a quick x-ray to be sure. It confirmed that the tube was clogged, so they extubated her and re-intubated her with a new tube. She started breathing much better after that, but was so tired out from all the struggling that she slept a long time. They ordered another blood gas a little while later and it was very good.
We talked to Claire's surgeon again this evening and she said the problem had nothing to do with Claire's lungs, that it was all due to the tube getting clogged. She said hopefully Claire will be off the vent before this becomes a problem again. Tonight they turned her oxygen level down to 36%, which is the lowest she has been at. Her ventilator rate is set to 45. They are going to keep lowering it this weekend, and we are hoping she will be able to come off the vent next week.
They removed her foley catheter this afternoon. She has lost most of the extra fluid and looks a lot less swollen. She had several wet diapers today, which she let us know about immediately (she HATES to have a dirty diaper).
We got to see her x-rays from before the surgery and after. On the first x-ray the gray stuff up in her chest on her left side is her intestines, and her stomach is the dark area in the middle behind her spine. The gray area on her right side is her heart. In the second x-ray everything has been moved down. There is now fluid filling her left side until her lung has time to expand and grow and fill up the space. Her heart is still shifted way over to the right, but will move to the center in time.