Natalie is the first to observe Aaron’s hair falling out en mass. This most cosmetic consequence of chemotherapy will mark Aaron to the world as certainly as his blood counts mark him to the doctors: he is undergoing treatment for cancer.
But our interest is not in the loss of his hair; our interest is in the breath of his life.
After yesterday’s aborted expedition to the CT scanner in the B level basement, there is some strategizing as to how the trip might be accomplished.
A test is performed: Leaving all other life lines attached, Aaron is disconnected from the Ventilator and connected to the hand squeezed oxygen bladder. Aaron seems to sense that O’bladder is an imposter…it is not the Ventilator. His dysfunctional relationship with the Ventilator is at least a familiar one.. His pressure drops as before. Some way around this will need to be devised.
Another couple bags of blood and a bag of platelets are given. This time, Aaron’s hemoglobin count rises as it should.
Aaron’s time with the endotracheal tube is drawing to a close. It has been giving him life for 2 weeks, but like so many life saving measures, it does not come without risk. Long term use of a tube jammed down the throat risks damage. But Aaron’s lungs are not ready to breath on their own. His relationship with the ventilator needs to continue. Perhaps it can be made a little less dysfunctional and more tolerable by connecting the Ventilator to a tube through a small hole cut in the throat and directly into the windpipe (trachea) below the larynx. Aaron is scheduled for a tracheotomy tomorrow.
Aaron spends most of the day sedated to a level just below awareness. There is some concern that he should be a little more aware than he is, that he should be a little less compliant with the Ventilator than he is.