November 5, 2006 at 6:23 am

I was only on the vent for 3 weeks. I was in a coma for the first 5 days but as far as i know i was breathing on my own not long after as I can remember them saying the vent was only there as a support and would kick in if i didnt take a breath within a certain period. I had a trachy put in after 2 weeks as they said that was the only way to wean me off the vent (also a lot more pleasant than having a tube down your throat) I dont think they like to keep people intubated long term. Anyway, once i had the trachy in they started to wean me off the vent – 1 hour off, 2 hours on then the next day 1 hout off, 1 hour on and if i tolerated that then they kept increasing the period of time i was off the vent. During the time i was off the vent i had a t-piece which is basically atube connected to the trachy which gives you humidified oxygen which makes it easier to breathe and mositens secretions etc. I think they decided to start weaning me once i had the tube out because i wasnt relying on the vent. I can relate to your husband saying the rhythm was off. They changed my vent at one stage to an older model as someone came in who needed it more than i did. As the vent wasnt actually breathing for me (unless i held my breath and made the alarms go off lol) they didnt think i would notice but i did. It felt like i had to work so much harder to breathe and that i was working the vent! Once i felt what it was like being off the vent i hated going back on it, i felt so much better breathing on my own but they kept me on it for a while at night in case i forgot to breathe while i was asleep.
Anyway, while i wasnt paralysed as long as your husband i was totally paralysed including eyes and mouth. I was lucky the ivig worked straight away and i started to recover quickly. I ended up having the trachy for 3 weeks due to an infection but otherwise i was breathing on my own about a week after the trachy was done. And i have no long term side effects as a result of the vent and trachy – apart from the scar – so there is defginitely hope