When Dennis was at TIRR in Houston, Jan and I had to learn how to suction him. The reason you have to suction someone on a vent is because they can not cough up the secretions and mucus we have in our lungs and airways. Their diaphragm does not work so you have to use a suctioning machine to pull it out. This is a suctioning machine, it uses a vacuum to pull out the secretions.
Jan and I practiced on a dummy and it went well but then we had to practice on Dennis. You have 11 seconds to push the tube down his lungs till it hits a wall and if it hits to hard you can damage the lung. Then you have to pull the secretions out using the tube. All of this is done in that time and Dennis has to cough while we do this. Well, we passed but it was very stressful. I just thought Lord, we will have to do this as many as 5 times a day and it’s very invasive, please help us. Then one day we had a Respiratory Therapists that did suctioning a different way, a secret way that we could not tell the others about or she would get in trouble. You stick the hose on the trach and he just coughs it up. Well, we tried it and it worked! Thank You God! We have done that every since and we didn’t have to stick those tubes down his lungs. This was a small miracle but we never take for granted the blessing we got that day. Did I mention that our friends Debbie and Max came to visit and the nurses made them pass the test, and they did with flying colors!!