A is for Apnea monitor, Ambu bag, and Alcohol prep pads
An apnea monitor is used to make sure the child is breathing properly. It will detect shallow or the absence of breaths and alarm after a determined amount of time without breath movement. The monitor leads are usually held in place either with a band that velcros around the child or stickers that stay on the child's chest. Children who have a trach usually need to be monitored for apnea while they are sleeping. Sometimes, a sleep study is done in a hospital setting to make sure the child isn't having any apnea before the doctor discontinues using the home monitor. We're hoping to get Abby in for a sleep study fairly soon so that she can get rid of the apnea monitor. While it's a great machine in theory, it is hard to keep the band tight around her. The leads get loose and the machine beeps louder than you could ever imagine. Plus, the added "accessories" make her hot while she is sleeping.
The ambu bag is used for what some people call "bagging." It helps to push oxygen into a person's lungs if he or she is having trouble breathing. While the ambu usually hooks up to a mask that is over a person's nose and mouth, people with trachs have the ambu attached right to the trach. The bag is squeezed so that air is being given as a person inhales. The ambu can also be used to deliver inhaled medications through a trach, which is how we give Abby her inhaler. Our ambu bags stay attached to our portable oxygen tanks so that they will always be ready to be used in an emergency.
Alcohol prep pads can be used for all sorts of things, but we usually use them to clean dirty toys and equipment. When Abby gets into a toy-throwing mood, we use an awful lot of them. Other kids might use them to clean an injection site before getting daily shots, or to clean the gtube before hooking up a feed.