So, Andy spent 2 weeks on the ICU ward at Stanmore and during that time he was very busy with SALT, OT & physio input. The downside for Andy is that he is currently nil by mouth at the request of SALT. This is so that if there are complications during the 'cuff-down' time food won't be the cause. Andy picked up a chest infection the first weekend in ICU which I was devastated at because I thought it was caused by his saliva dripping down but thankfully it was a different reason and so the 'cuff-down' and speaking was continued.
The 2nd week saw Emma, the OT, bring a power chair down for Andy and he was given the opportunity to wheel himself around ICU!! He did run into his consultant but the doc didn't seem to mind, too much.
On Monday 11th November Andy moved on upwards to the spinal unit, quite literally, as Stanmore is on a huge slope with ICU at the bottom and the spinal unit on the top, the porters had to run and push Andy's bed up else they would loose momentum and it would slide back down again!!
He has started 'vent-free' breathing and is doing well with it. Apart from the obvious reasons to wean him off the ventilator in the long-term, in the short term his ability to breath on his own for periods of time is reassuring should he become disconnected for any reason, it also facilitates easier transfers from bed to chair or for showering for example. But it presents 'talking' challenges, it's a LOT harder for him to talk without the vent on - in a way it's like talking whilst exercising!
Talking on the vent is done differently to talking without a vent. Normally we talk on expiration of breath but on the vent Andy has to learn to talk with inspiration of breath, very difficult. I try it when I'm in my car on my own, to no avail!! Give it a go- it's interesting!
Andy is also being kept busy with the physio and OT people, all of whom are so lovely. His OT is entirely 'no nonsense' but very helpful with it. She seems to be on the case with getting equipment sorted for him to carry on his rehab back in Gloucester. (Whenever that is) They are all great!
On Saturday evening I rang the unit to let Andy know I'd arrived safely home. The nurse who answered was his nurse for the day and she said he'd had a lovely day, done well with his 'vent-free' breathing and was currently watching the football with other patients in the day room- I was so pleased as at his previous setting he never wanted to go into the day room with other patients nor was he encouraged to either. LSCIC is so good for Andy, please pray he can stay for as long as is needed to establish the important things of swallowing, eating and communication and the bonus things such as the movement that he has.
Ooooh, by the way, Andy has discovered that, with the help of a machine that takes the weight of a person's arms, he has a small amount of movement in his RIGHT arm as well as the left arm!!