The trach and g-tube placement went well. She can't talk yet because she'll need some time to learn how to control the air flow with the trach. The doctor told us that she would likely be at the hospital until Monday. From the hospital, she will be on to the LTAC (long term acute care) facility for about a month and after that will be the rehab center (hopefully where she was before as long as they can handle a trach) for a little while to continue her recovery.
Some people have asked why she had a trach and g-tube put in. The doctors and all the respiratory therapists believe this will give her the best chance at a better long-term recovery. Before the trach, every time she had a hard time with her breathing they would have to put the ventilator in which brings sedation and hospitalization with it making the forward progress harder. With the trach in, when she has a hard time with the breathing, she will just be hooked up to a machine to assist her with taking the best breath she can without the sedation and down time. The trach brings some increased risk of infection because the body's natural filtration system, i.e. your nose, nose hair, mouth are no longer part of the equation. This risk of infection, however, is not as great as the risk of having another breathing set back that would require a vent again. She will learn to talk with it in which is just a matter of figuring out how to control the air flow in the trach. The g-tube was placed so she can get the nutrition she needs while she learns how to use the trach that's now in her throat--harder to swallow right now and getting used to different pressure/feeling in her throat. She needs the best nutrition to make her stronger so she can do all the intense rehab that will be necessary soon.
An important side note: WE ARE ANTICIPATING THAT BOTH THE G-TUBE AND TRACH WILL BE TEMPORARY. She should not need to have either of these for the rest of her life but they will be in for months as she recovers.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you some more for all the kind thoughts, prayers, cards, emails, calls, etc. I may be slow in getting back with people when you call or email but it's been hard to find a lot of spare time. Please know that we appreciate every single one of them.