Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Trachs and Vents 101--The Apnea Monitor

We have a couple of monitors that are used to alarm us if there is problem with Abby's breathing.  One of them is the apnea monitor.  This is different than a sleep apnea machine some of you might have.  It's just an alarm that lets us know if she's apneac. 

apnea

Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing while you are sleeping. Your brain forgets to breathe because you're so asleep.  Abby had this a lot when she was younger, and was given caffeine to help her body stay awake enough to remember to breathe.  Yep, caffeine!  It was a 15 minute IV drip, so we called it her coffee break.  :)  She hasn't had any true apneac episodes since she was released from the hospital, but the doctors are reluctant to remove her from the monitor just yet. 

Abby's alarm goes off after 20 seconds without a breath.  The sensor detects movement and gets concerned when it doesn't sense any.  The alarm is ridiculously LOUD, which is understandable...afterall, we need to be notified!  I do wish that there was a quieter version, since Abby does have around-the-clock care.  Someone is within reach of her pretty much every second of the day (the furthest I go is in the kitchen, and only for short amounts of time) but the alarm is heard in every corner of the house....at all hours! 

Think smoke alarm--times 10!

Again, this wouldn't be a bad thing...but it goes off a lot..like when it's not tight enough...or when she shifts a certain way...or if a lead gets pulled...or she breathes too shallowly...or....just about any issue at all.  We're now only making her wear it at night when she is truly asleep.  It's a good idea, but it is extremely sensitive.

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