Today is day four of Drake's hyperbaric treatments here in Florida. Hyperbaric oxygen treatments have huge benefits for getting more oxygen to the brain and helping to restore brain tissue and connections, also to help heal damaged tissue and rejuvenate the cells in the body. The tanks are filled with pure oxygen and the pressurized effects you feel are similar of what a diver feels as they descend under the sea. The deeper you go the more pressure and more oxygen pushed into the plasma of the cells. But there is a delicate balance as too much pressure is painful and not beneficial if one can not withstand the effects. Drake is very young and can not communicate if there is too much pressure so Eric or myself get in with him to help be his voice. We also know how sensitive he is and we would rather err on the side of caution with him. The treatments are twice a day while we are here and they are 90 minute treatments each. He has to have a three hour break in between so that his oxygen level in his cells do not become toxic...every thing has to have a balance. God has designed our bodies so miraculously... we truly are His beautiful handy work. We decided to give Drake a break this afternoon due to him being a little more out of it today and his right ear drum showing redness this morning. Today his seizures have been a bit more, and with the findings of his ear this morning, we decided to only treat once this morning and allow him rest tonight just as a precaution.
Eric, or myself, get in with him each time and try to encourage him to "clear" the pressure in his ears as we descend or "dive". As the pressure builds, if Drake doesn't clear his ears, it can be very painful and could possibly burst his eardrums. We bring his bottle into the chamber with us so that we can encourage him to swallow as we transition, once the pressure stabilizes then he is free to rest and enjoy the treatment. The current pressure that we stay at with Drake is around 1.20 which is the equivalent to being 120 feet deep in the water. Transitioning up is also a bit tricky.... the need to clear Drake's ears is not as necessary due to them clearing on their own but if Drake starts to seize on the climb we have to stop and let him settle before we can go any further. If he holds his breath and doesn't allow for the pressure to change internally, then it could cause pressure to build and possibly cause an aneurism in his brain. The transitioning down and up is always a bit stressful regardless how many times we do it. Each time you have to be very attentive and we try to watch his eyes to give us the clues. Drake's pupils will sometimes dilate prior to the onset of a seizure before his breathing changes, so his eyes truly give us insight into what his brain is doing.
Also we have to be extremely careful to not have anything flammable on during our session. Pure oxygen is extremely flammable and safety is a huge concern. Charlie our technician goes over our check list prior to entering the unit, he asks us "NO lotions, potions, creams, make-up, conditioners, hair spray, deodorant, diaper rash cream, rings, watches, keys in pockets, electronic devices, pace makers, hearing aids....". We also have to change our clothing once we get there into an outfit they provide. It has to be 100% cotton and they wash it in something that has the most neutral base. Some materials, other than cotton, can let off toxic gasses in the unit. Prior to our treatments everyday we wash with a bar of soap, and most of the time, I throw my hair up wet, and we head out the door. It is weird going around to all the places and facilities completely looking like we just rolled out of bed. But, safety is imperative, and there is no way we are chancing not doing all we can in keeping everyone safe. Once we get loaded onto the hospital bed they also give us bracelets, for both Drake and us to wear, to ground us so that we don't have any static electricity that could cause a spark.
Please pray for the rest of our treatments as we treat through Saturday and then we are able to go home. We have seen some really encouraging new movements with Drake and are truly excited thinking of all the ripples this could start in his little brain. Today Drake has been a little more "out of it". He normal acts this way when something is off.... finding out what that "something" is is always so challenging. He could be experiencing some toxic withdrawals as his body release stored chemicals or the oxygen could be tiring him out (which is common) ..... or it could be the every alluding glycine levels. If it is glycine than we will have to wait until we get home to send for a sample to be tested. We are still pursuing the new unit to test at home but there are certain hurdles that still lie in between us. Please pray over the current visible signs of a slight turn.... pray that this is just a quick down day and that tomorrow will be a good day. Our goal is that he rest tonight and tomorrow we can continue the treatments so that he receives the full benefits while we are here. Also, please pray for all the things we can not see.... the things that are completely out of our hands and out of our control with this treatment.... I used to be so fearful of the things I could not control, if I am honest.... but God has shown us with Drake that nothing was ever in our control... it was just a nice allusion that kept us feeling self sufficient.... now... with all the stress and the worry that comes with choosing the best path for Drake... I sometimes let the "unknowns" totally take over my thoughts ......but...in a good way....a new trusting way... a way that gives God the reigns and allows me to put them down and allow Him to fully work.... The unknowns now consist of possibilities.... of what this treatment could be fixing or encouraging in his brain... the ways that God is going to allow healing and using natural elements, like oxygen, to build and rebuild his body starting at a cellular level. How weeks down the road we may see new developments and movement that could spawn from this trip.... its is exciting... sometimes I daydream about it... just how God is going to use trips and treatments like this to write Drake's journey.... Please join us in prayer for healing but also in thanksgiving... we are so humbled to be able to be here and experience this for Drake... please pray that God receives all the Glory for what He is doing and will do in Drake's little life.
thank you... for always walking and praying with us... we serve a mighty God.
-Eric, Tarah, the littles and baby Drake