intubated

screenshot of an intubation barrier box
an intubation barrier box

Just before 5 a.m. on October 22, 2020, one of my doctors, or one of the nurses or technicians that was working on me (all I can remember was that she was a specialist that was there for intubation), came to my room and told me that it was time – I had to be intubated. I was already awake at this point, as it was impossible for me to fall asleep since I was continually struggling to breathe. My lungs were no longer working – even with 60L of oxygen, I was unable to keep my oxygen saturation levels high enough to stay alive – I think that it was in the 80%’s – and the only chance that I had was to be on the ventilator.

I asked her if I could let my family know, and she told me that I had enough time to do so, so I tried calling my wife – she didn’t pick up. I was crushed, but I knew that I didn’t have much time, so hurriedly wrote an email to my kids, letting them know that I loved them, that I was sorry, and that I didn’t know what was going to happen, all while tears were streaming down my face. I was only able to get out 68 words – 6 sentences – for what I feared would be my last words to my children, and the last thing they would have to remember me by. It was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done in my life.

After I got the email off, I made sure to pay all of our upcoming bills, because I knew that the payment dates were over the next week or two, and I was the one that usually handled all of them. Everyone expected that I would only be on a ventilator for a few days, with 4 days being what was mentioned most often. One of the doctors asked me if I wanted to full code. At this point, I didn’t know what to tell him, especially faced with the very real possibility that they would have to take extreme measures to save my life, and faced with the reality that I needed to go on a ventilator, which was already taking extraordinary measures to save my life. While I had no desire to be permanently on life support, when he asked me if I wanted them to do whatever they could, I said yes (and there wasn’t enough time to process all of this, or give a more nuanced answer).

During all of this, one of my doctors managed to get a hold of Eunice and they passed a phone over to me. We had a short conversation – I told her that I was sorry because I wasn’t strong enough and because my body was failing, all while both of us were crying. She told me not to worry, and that she would take care of everything, and to get better. I can still hear the desperation in her voice, and it still brings me to tears even thinking about it. It was the most terrifying, and worst, moment of my life. The uncertainty of what would happen and whether I would wake up again and be able to see, hear, or talk to my family again, and the uncertainty of what state I would be in if I did wake up was overwhelming. We knew that at that point the odds of me ever having another conscious thought was slim, and that my life was completely in God’s hands. I knew the odds, and I knew they weren’t good. Right after I talked to Eunice they started the intubation process.

The woman that first talked to me, to tell me that I needed to be intubated (at least I think it was her), told me that they would put me put a box around my head and place me under anesthesia. I let her know that I’m very resistant to anesthesia, since I’ve had difficulties staying under the previous times I’ve been on it, and she told me not to worry. The woman, and her partner, then began the process (while there was a lot of activity in my room), and everything faded away.

Eunice’s updates:
10/22/20 – Unfortunately Ben’s unable to keep his oxygen above 90%. The doctor just called and they’re going to have to intubate him and put him on a ventilator. Please continue praying for him. Thanks everyone.

10/22/20 – Just talked to Ben’s doctor, his blood pressure is dropping and they had to call me to get permission to put in a central line and an a line to monitor him closely. They’re still trying to stabilize him on the ventilator and needed to heavily sedate him since he was waking up a little and coughing. The pulmonary team is in with him right now. He has a fever of 102. To be honest, I think Ben is crashing. The whole pulmonary team is in there with him right now and I could hear the Dr.’s voice shaking and she was out of breath.

10/22/20 – Ben’s doctor just called me, he is stable, praise God! They have him on a medication to paralyze him to help him breath better with the ventilator since he’s so resistant to the sedation. The doctors got both the central line and the a line in him with no issues and the x ray shows they’re at the right places. He’s breathing well on the ventilator and his oxygen levels are good now. Thank you for all your prayers, keep them coming. God is at work.

10/22/20 – I am not one who sees visions or anything but I want to let you know that as everyone was praying for Ben and a friend was praying with me over the phone while all the craziness was happening, I had a vision of Jesus walking into the ICU and into Ben’s room to stand by his side. God is real and He hears your prayers. He loves you and is at work. Please keep praying for Ben and his Father, we have a long fight ahead of us.

10/22/20 pm – Ben is doing good. He is on very high oxygen support, but his blood pressure is good and they’ve weaned him off the meds that help keep his blood pressure in control. He is stable and the nurse said he looks good. Once they got Ben on the paralytic, he got better. He does have a feeding tube in. We still don’t know how much time he’ll be on the ventilator, it could be a week, it could be a little less, it could be weeks. It would depend on Ben’s progress and as long as they can continue decreasing his oxygen supplementation and have Ben breathe more and more on his own that is good news. Please pray that God would continue to heal Ben’s body and that his mind and body will be protected from any long term effects.

Ben’s dad is about the same. He is stable and they have not attempted to drop his oxygen supplementation yet. Their one concern is he is not taking the full volume of food through his feeding tube. He is still on dialysis daily and it does help decrease his kidney values a little but they are still high. Please pray that his body will be able to absorb more of his food and for healing of his kidneys and body so he will no longer need dialysis. Pray for progress and a miracle for him.

For our family, please pray for rest and strength and for the girls to feel better. They both miss their dad a lot and want him to tickle them and hold them close and safe. Pray that we will see that day soon. I thank you everyone so much for all your support, prayers, food, gifts, and everything else you have sent our way. We are overwhelmed with your kindness and love and I’m sorry if I forget to thank you, days are blurring together and we’re living each day in faith. I do read everyone’s comments and it’s been so encouraging to hear from people from all walks of our lives. Know that we love you all and remember you and appreciate everything you’re doing for us. Let’s continue to press on and pray and fight this with Ben and his father.

One Reply to “intubated”

  1. oh ben. so intense. it was kind of surreal reading those prayer updates again tonight, now that we know how the story unfolded. we did NOT know how the story would unfold when i read them on october 22nd. it brought back some of my initial emotion of reading them the first time. i was so scared for your life. God had mercy on us. ♥️ i’m so grateful for God’s rescue!

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