It’s official. Emerson is trach free!
Three weeks ago, we went in for the procedure to start the trach removal process, and after spending two nights in the hospital, we came home trach free.
The days leading up to the procedure were filled with a flurry of emotion. I was excited and nervous, but hopeful for the best. We knew there was a chance that Emerson might need a more extensive surgery to remove the trach depending on the condition of his airway and his body’s ability to heal.
Going into the hospital on July 7, exactly one month away from his 3rd birthday, Emerson was completely unbothered. He was his typical, happy, smiling self. Even in the pre-op room, we played, sang songs, and talked to my husband on FaceTime. We even took a few selfies…
After signing the appropriate consent forms, the nurse and anesthesiologist took him to the OR. I headed to the waiting room where I sat for maybe an hour before Dr. Mitchell came to me with an update and pictures. He said Emerson did great and talked to me about the photos he took of his airway and the expectation that he would do well with the smaller, capped trach before completely removing it the next day.
About 30 more minutes passed, and the nurse came to get me and took me to Emerson. He was out of it due to the anesthesia. We sat there for about another 30 minutes until he woke up a bit more. Of course we knew he was awake when he could hold his tablet.
Once fully awake, the nurse put a red cap on the end of the smaller trach. This forced him to adjust to breathing through his nose and mouth. We were taken to a hospital room on the regular children’s floor. For the first time, we were not headed straight for the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). We got settled and shortly after, Emerson did not want to be in bed. The anesthesia made him super cranky and only wanting to be in my arms. I held him while we sat for about two hours, during which he got a tube feeding and finally took a nap. He woke up in a much better mood and acting more like himself.
The next day in the hospital I was excited and nervous again. Our ENT’s nurse practitioner came to check on him and said he looked good and took the small trach out. Emerson was completely unphased.
Now, it has been three weeks and he has been doing amazing without the trach! I could not have imagined a more seamless transition. He is still eating by mouth as he normally would (purées and soft solids) and his oxygen saturations are 99-100. His stoma (the trach site) has almost fully healed with no issues. He is also VERY loud these days. 😊 We are working on teaching him the concept of “inside voice”. However, it’s such a joy to hear his little laughs and him singing and talking all the time now.
I will never be able to fully express how grateful I am for this or even how proud I am of Emerson. I thank God everyday for allowing us to experience this miracle up close. We are so blessed to be his parents.