Tommy Gets Off the Respirator
five weeks old on August 30, 1994. At 11:55 AM that day, he was
extubated from the respirator for the very first time. He
was then placed under an oxygen hood to receive supplemental
oxygen, but he was breathing with no mechanical assistance.
This was an exciting step in his development. For the first
time, we were able to see his cute little face without the
respirator tube obstructing our view. Finally it appeared that
progress was being made.
Thomas remained off the respirator for 17 hours before he was
re-intubated. It was felt that he was struggling and still in
need of the support provided by the respirator. However, we were
told beforehand that this would probably be the case. He was to
be re-intubated for a while, then tested off the respirator again
as soon as he seemed up to it.
On September 3, 1994 Thomas reached another milestone. Thomas
finally achieved 2 pounds. His primary nurse gave him the coveted
"two pound award for his unbelievable weight
achievement" and we could finally tell people that he
weighed over 2 pounds.
The nurses in the NICU provide most of the care that the
babies receive while in the NICU. At many hospitals (including
William Beaumont Hospital) they assign a "primary
nurse" who is most always assigned to their
"primary" when they are on duty. The primary nurse
usually becomes a friend and advocate for the parents. We found
this system quite helpful and are still in contact with Thomas'
The nurses at the NICU really took care of the families as
well as the babies. One of the neat things they do for the
family, is help prepare a journal with Polaroid photographs, then
enhanced the photographs with special comments. Parents and
relatives are encouraged to write in the book as well. Comments
from Tommy's book include:
"Hi Mommy & Daddy -- I know I came earlier than
expected, but I'm doing good & I'm a little
"I'm so cute & my nurses think I'm real strong
because I turned my head 3 times today."
"Hi! It must be 2AM again, 'cuz I'm wide awake!"
"Me & Mommy Look So happy together! I Love when
she holds me!"
"That's me, Daddy & Grandpa! Three generations of
us King men! (I'm the cute one.)"
"I can't wait to eat all that good Polish food I
heard Grandpa [Gladysz] talking about."
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