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katekath

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Long story short. My sister and I got to learn how to suction for my mum, who is on a trach. I had watched the nurses do it for almost 2 months now, so am pretty sure of the steps, but my friend had warned me beforehand that it is going to be so much different when you do it yourself esp on your own mother. Boy, she was right!

We didn't dare to put in the suction catheter too deep for fear of hurting my mum and was doing it too fast. In the end she still has lots of phlegm in there, but the nurse told us because we can't do it for too long, we had to let her rest and do it again when she needs it.

It doesn't help that both of us have RSI and I have it on both hands! :S Needless to say, the nurse was highly exasperated with us.

Funnily, my mum was happy with us, even though we were so clumsy. We can now help her without waiting for 30 mins for the nurse to attend to her!

Anyway, anyone has any tips to share for suctioning? :)
 

joelc

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It gets easier with practice. In time you won't even think about it!

What you have to do is insert the catheter until it hits the "Y" that goes to each lung.You will feel it hit this point and stop. Pull it back slightly and put your finger over the valve to start suctioning.
Keep spinning the catheter and slowly pull it out. That is all there is to it - EASY!
You can do this, don't worry, it doesn't hurt.
Sometimes I cough a bit but that is because it tickles, not because it hurts.
 

katekath

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Thank you for the encouragement, Joel! I panic after hitting that Y point where I feel resistance, because my mum started coughing and look so uncomfortable. Am going to try again this evening. Hopefully without any panic attacks. lol.
 

katekath

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Update and questions

Practice does make perfect. We are getting along fine after a few more tries, though I won't say we're perfect. ;)

I do have two questions:

It is okay to stop and suction a while more (2-3 seconds) when I hear the pump sucking out more phlegm at any point as I withdraw the catheter?

The phlegm that is stuck to the inner tube is yellowish, while the phlegm that I removed using the pump appeared whitish. I asked the nurse and she said the yellowish colour is due to a lot of phlegm sticking together and as long as the phlegm I removed directly from my mum is whitish, it is fine. Is this true?
 

joelc

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I would suggest continuing to suction and pull the catheter out at a steady pace. Then reconnect the vent to let her catch her breath. Then draw some saline solution through the catheter to clear it. Then suction her again, keep doing this until you have cleared all secretions.

My phlegm color is always white or clear. When it changes to yellow I get concerned because it indicates an infection, this is when we are more careful and more frequent on suctioning and in a few days it clears up and I am fine.

Good Luck!
 

OhioArt2

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Thank you for the encouragement, Joel! I panic after hitting that Y point where I feel resistance, because my mum started coughing and look so uncomfortable. Am going to try again this evening. Hopefully without any panic attacks. lol.

Hang in there! We were taught that we don't have to go all the way down to where it hits. We instinctively know now - you will learn where to put the thumb on the tube so you won't go down so far.

You'll be a pro in no time! Like me!
Just relax a little - if mum is happy then you are doing fine!

Penny
 

katekath

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Hi Penny,

Thank you for your encouragement. :)

The thing is my mum had been transferred to another hospital and they are not allowing me to do any suctioning for her. Hopefully when I can get it into their head that I had received training at the previous hospital, they will allow me to. ;)

Wan
 

joelc

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I am so sorry you are still having challenges. It seems unbelievable to me that they have such limited knowledge about these things. I would encourage you to fight and convince them you know what you are doing. Don't take no for an answer. They will eventually realize you do know and will let you.
 

OhioArt2

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Hi Penny,

Thank you for your encouragement. :)

The thing is my mum had been transferred to another hospital and they are not allowing me to do any suctioning for her. Hopefully when I can get it into their head that I had received training at the previous hospital, they will allow me to. ;)

Wan

We ran into that (we aren't allowed to suction) when my mom fell and ended up in the hospital this past week. (She's in rehab now... it's all very hideous) -
Guess what I found out because I ask a billion questions and complain - if you get her doctor to say you can suction her - TA DA! Like magic, you are allowed to suction her.

We ended up just packing up her suction machine and taking it with us. We don't even ask now. We just do it.

She fell a week ago today. THEY STILL DON'T HAVE HER BACKUP TRACH. We took that in too.
 

katekath

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Update

So I managed to get the nurses to do suction for her since the medical staff didn't allowed me to touch *anything*. I actually got scolded by the nurses for helping to put down the bed rails when she needs to go to the toilet. :X

But I am not complaining. My mum told me the nurses at this hospital treated her better than those at the previous hospital and she is eating better. I still have to mash up her food for her before she eats. No hard as rock stuff or any spicy food, else she will start choking. But the last time they checked her weight, she had lost quite a bit since she had been admitted, so we are on Propass for protein supplements. I was also told they added Omega 3 to the Milo she drinks every evening. That is the only full cup of fluid she is willing to have.
 

deb46

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about suctioning

It gets easier with practice. In time you won't even think about it!

What you have to do is insert the catheter until it hits the "Y" that goes to each lung.You will feel it hit this point and stop. Pull it back slightly and put your finger over the valve to start suctioning.
Keep spinning the catheter and slowly pull it out. That is all there is to it - EASY!
You can do this, don't worry, it doesn't hurt.
Sometimes I cough a bit but that is because it tickles, not because it hurts.

i have a question i have had a trach now for about 10 years i have been having a lot of check colds this winter the weather has been bad on me and i am back on antibiotics . the thing is my lungs huirt when i suction i mean ith urts bad i don't know if maybe i am suctioning a lot or just goign down too far . and a lot of times like in the mornings when waking up i have soem blood in it when i suction too so i don't know if i am irritating my lungs or just the fact tghat it is very dry in here ,can you give me some advice? thank you
 

joelc

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If your lungs hurt I would suggest the air is too dry, that also causes bleeding. (at least for me).

Get the humidity up in your house - do you use an HME during the day and a humidifier at night?

Also, while suctioning, keep spinning the catheter and slowly pull it out. The time should be no more than a maximum of 10 seconds. Keep doing this until there are no more secretions.
 
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