Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Just about 10 days ago the clip that supports Keith's ventilator tubes broke. It's a plastic part that probably cost less than a nickel to manufacture and, in the big picture, doesn't have a whole lot to do with Keith's breathing. However, it still serves an important function. This clip keeps the ventilator tubes at a balanced angle so that the drag on Keith's trache is minimized. This is important because that drag pulls against the tube in his throat and impacts the healing at the intubation site. We put a call in to the home healthcare agency. They told us that it had to be ordered and would take about 2 weeks to arrive. In the mean time, we have been scouring the internet looking for this elusive piece of plastic and actually found the whole ventilator tube kit but nothing would arrive before the end of the month. And, since we expect to have the part from Walgreen's by then, we are just doing what we can to keep the trache tube from moving too much.

As I'm writing this, it has occurred to me that this little plastic clip is a perfect metaphor for the problems with the healthcare system: the big things get taken care of pretty well, it's the little things that cause the most grief and can shift the balance against you. We are managing as well as we can as each of these little things show up on our health doorstep. It's a team effort and among all the tools at our disposal, patience and humor are the most powerful. So, we'll continue to wait for the clip and laugh at the absurdity of it all as we just continue to breathe.

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