The Ventilator

God intervenes……

On Sunday night when I first saw Brewer on the ventilator, it was shocking. The doctors were so kind as they tried to prepare us for what we would see. They were diligent in explaining how they intubated him and did their best to give me a picture of what it would look like…but seeing your son with his hands tied to the sides of the bed, and his head tied down…and a tube in his mouth and the EEG wires on his head…was just about all a “mom” could handle.

There was a moment when I felt like the bones in my legs had dissolved.

I had to sit.

I could not stand.

I have off and on experienced this “weak leg” stuff when receiving bad news or see something terrible, which Dr. Webb, Brewer’s neurosurgeon, labeled “aftershock.” As time passed in the hospital I became accustomed to how Brewer looked with all the IV’s, wires, and tubes crawling all over his body.

On Wednesday, day 4 of the hospital and day 4 of Brewer being intubated, I arrived very early at the hospital, around 6 a.m. I walked in and just happened to get to talk with one of Brewer’s many doctors, Dr. Halladay, as he was leaving Brewer’s room. He expressed concern that Brewer had not turned the corner that they were hoping and they would be keeping him “down under,” a.k.a. on the ventilator, probably until that Friday. He mentioned possibly taking him off on Friday and putting in a trach…….!

As you can imagine, it wasn’t terrible news but it wasn’t good either. Since it was so early and everyone (family) wasn’t at the hospital yet, I decided to wait until everyone got there to share the news. It became very exhausting to tell the news over and over and answer the same questions over and over so I decided to wait until everyone arrived at the hospital later that morning.

Until then, I started “circling” the 3rd floor of ICU in prayer. After walking and praying for about an hour, the gatekeeper “Vester” of ICU came running down the hall and said, “Mrs. Bradshaw, we have been trying to find you. The doctors need to see you.”

The look on my face said it all…and she said, “Don’t worry. Nothing is wrong!” So I hurried down the hall back to Neuro-ICU. As the doors slid open and I rounded the corner to look into Brewer’s room, I thought I was seeing things.

The tubes were gone.

His head was not strapped to the bed.

Brewer’s eyes were open…..and his arms were moving.

As I approached the bed…Brewer lifted his head and tears were sliding down each side of his cheeks. He lifted his hand to me and said, “Pray with me, Mom!” I immediately dropped to my knees and prayed. I was unaware that Dr. Rayes was sitting in the chair at the door behind me.

Reflect with me over my shock…just an hour before, the doctor had informed me Brewer would stay on the ventilator for several more days and he had not turned the corner…and then all of a sudden I am called back and the ventilator is gone and Brewer is talking………….

Fast forward…several hours later in the family meeting we discovered that after I left the room early that morning to prayer walk, Brewer somehow had vomited up the ventilator which the doctors told us they had NO IDEA how that happened. His hands were tied down so he could not pull it out. His head was strapped down so he could not maneuver it out but somehow….he vomited it out.

The doctor even told us they tried to put it back in but it would not go. Brewer had somehow ruptured the “balloon device” that they inflate in the throat. With that being said, by Brewer vomiting up the ventilator, they turned off the coma medicine Propofol. When they did this, they discovered the reason Brewer had not turned the corner was a reaction to the Propofol.

Do you see what we all saw? If not, allow me to explain.

Brewer was NOT turning the corner. They were going to keep him under. They didn’t realize it was the Propofol that was adversely affecting Brewer …… but because Brewer vomited up the ventilator (which they said was virtually impossible)…they had to turn off the Propofol and he immediately got better.

I adamantly believe God enabled Brewer to vomit up the tube. The doctors HAD NOT PLANNED ON DOING THIS and this is what made Brewer turn the corner. I see God. I see HIM clearly and I see God intervening. It was shortly after this that Dr. Webb came in and told Brewer, “Where you were and where you are now is not us; it is an act of God.”

Until the doctor shared in our family meeting that it was Brewer who took himself off the ventilator, I was so confused. I didn’t understand how things had changed so rapidly…until the doctor explained. I look back and the chills cross by body over and over again. When I think about those couple of hours on that Wednesday morning, I can remember when I started prayer walking the floor…asking God…”Please God, if it be Your will, allow Brewer to turn that corner!”

Little did I know as I was praying…God was causing Brewer to vomit up that ventilator…..

I’ve said before that I don’t know why God allowed Brewer to survive and so many others in the same situation did not. None of us knows what the future holds BUT, as believers, we have hope. I don’t say that lightly. We have true Hope found in Jesus Christ.

That is what I would say first. If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it’s not too late. Ask today. It doesn’t guarantee a life without storms but it does guarantee LIFE and HOPE.

Second, if you are facing a storm, keep praying. Circling in prayer. Don’t stop. Pray for God’s will. The answer will come. I don’t know when or how but the answer will come. He is THE GOD who can be trusted. He is a good Father. Allow His loving arms to enfold you today.

Let me end today with some encouraging words from Scripture.

Psalm 107:28-31, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”

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