I was awake early this morning. Around 5:30 I considered getting up and starting my very busy day, but I was too comfortable. I sort of dozed in my warm bed putting off the inevitable. I am up by 6:15 anyway, so I might as well lay around and enjoy the last half hour or so. It was delicious.
That moment ended abruptly when I heard the night nurse yelling. Maggie broke her trach tube. The nurses in the house are LVN's not RNs and they are not licensed to deal with the trach except in an emergency. If I'm here I do it. I'm sure if I weren't here they would handle it fine - even if they had to call 911.
I shot downstairs and put in a new one. She was just laying there quietly because she knows when that happens she has to cooperate - and she does. The new one was inserted and tied in a matter of moments. It is not a painful procedure for Maggie, though I doubt it's very comfortable. I have to put this tube in which closes off her airway for just a second, and then bring it around her neck, thread the tie through the flange and tie it into place. Threading and tying it are the hardest parts. The hardest thing for Maggie is staying still while I do that. She is compliant as she can be in a body that moves constantly.
It's been 3.5 years since Maggie got the trach. In that time I have adapted to the emergencies and the incredible amount of care and responsibility required. Sometimes, though, I am just overwhelmed by the whole thing. This morning was one of those times. Seeing her lying there looking at me with trusting eyes and this open hole in her neck was too much. There is never time to deal with those feelings, though. I just did everything necessary and then started the crazy morning routine to get her out the door and onto the bus.. Now she's off and going about her day and I'm here with that image stuck in my mind, reacting almost two hours later.
If I'm overwhelmed, I can only wonder what she feels.