Journal entry by T DiGiorgio

 Zac continues on the ECMO with the same plan to continue a slow wean.  Unfortunately he has developed another pneumothorax due to inherent damage in his lungs which they are treating with other types of tubes.    Several specialists are seeing him and working with the pulmonary doctors.  Healing of this takes a lot of time and patience.    Please continue to pray as we all are.  Specifically, please pay for Zac’s lungs to heal.  

Journal entry by T DiGiorgio

Zac is stable and showing signs of improvement with the ECMO.  The doctors are weaning his sedation and he is waking up a little more each day.  He is starting to sit up with assistance and follow some commands.  The plan is to go very slow to continue to allow his lungs to heal.  The doctors anticipate 2-3 weeks to hopefully get off the ECMO this time and avoid complications.  We can always hope for a quicker response as there are many unknowns but 2-3 weeks is a realistic estimate.  Please keep praying !   

Journal entry by T DiGiorgio

We are waiting patiently and giving Zac’s lungs the time they need to heal.  Zac is stable as the doctors and the team in the ICU continue to keep a close eye on Zac  and are doing everything they can to progress Zac in the right direction.  We thank them for their excellent and compassionate care.  

Please continue to pray for God’s loving hands to heal Zac.  God of Love, we lift up Zac today, who is facing this struggle.  We ask that you would bring healing to his lungs and  comfort and peace to his body.  Calm our fears and and let him experience the healing power of your Love!  In Christ’s name we pray.... Amen.

Journal entry by T DiGiorgio

Hello again everybody.  They told us this was going to be a roller coaster ride and they were certainly right.    On Saturday,  the doctors had been watching something they had seen on the chest x-ray which indicated an airpocket or tear of some sort on Zac’s lung.  He had developed a pneumothorax in his lung, which is a hole in the lung that causes the lung to collapse.   This is an unfortunate complication of ARDS and ventilators.     Today, the doctors put a chest tube in to plug the hole and allow the lung to stay inflated.  Unfortunately to allow this to heal, the lung must be able to rest and the only way to do that in his current condition is to put him back on the ECMO support.    They reinserted the cannulas and reconnected the ECMO today.   Zac handled the procedure well and the doctors think this will fix the problem.   He is again fairly sedated and will remain on the ECMO for at least 5-7 days to give his lungs time to heal.  

Let’s keep praying as we have been.  Let us pray specifically for Zac’s lungs to heal so he can get moving along the road to a full recovery.

Journal entry by T DiGiorgio

We woke up this morning to some amazing news from Chris. They clamped off the ECMO last night at 12:30 am to test if Zac could handle being off the machine. At this point he was technically no longer on the ECMO. A procedure to remove the cannula happened around 1 pm.   They had to give him a small amount of paralytic and pain med to do the procedure but the paralytic only lasted about 2 hours. He was only on the ECMO for five days. Prayers are being answered.

They also removed  the staples in Zac’s head from the craniotomy.  
The neurosurgeon  came to talk- sounds like he expects to know where he is neurologically in the next few days and then can decide a plan on rehab. 

We still can’t express enough our appreciation enough to everyone for  prayers and support being offered for Zac, Chris, Betsy, Noah, Diana and the whole family.  What a blessing everyone has been.   

We we are thankful for Zac’s progress and continue to pray that his lungs and brain fully recover soon!

Journal entry by T DiGiorgio

This ICU is a busy busy place.  Zac has two RN’s and an ECMO specialist with him  24/7.  They are constantly regulating meds, machines, tubes and wires.   They are amazing. Nothing to dramatic has changed.  He is still on a drug called versed (a strong sedative) which they are reducing very,very slowly.   It will take a couple of days to accomplish this.  After this he should gradually become more and more alert.   

They also Are constantly checking his blood gas numbers to decide how long to continue with the ECMO. 
They have been talking  about taking the staples out of his head tomorrow.   So always something going on to keep Zac headed in the right direction. 

Zac had a visitor today!  Buddy came to visit.  What a treat.  Betsy helped Zac pet him and Buddy was a little timid.  Katie held Buddy up in front of him and we saw Zac get a little wider-eyed.  

Let’s thank God for another productive day and pray for Zac to keep up the good work.   

Buddy pics below

Journal entry by T DiGiorgio

OK, We know this is August 2, but didn’t want to miss Zac’s birthday. Zac had lots of visitors and a little party going on in the waiting room.   One of Betsy’s dear friends, Teri, decorated his room a little. Anita brought a gift basket for his care team,which they loved, and a cake for the visitors.  There was FaceTime with all the family in Birmingham and they sang Happy Birthday.  They had prayed the rosary together for Zac and had a meal together to celebrate Zac’s birthday.

Zac continues to make small improvements which is what we like!   He has a great team working with him to get him well.  They have scaled back on the ECMO as he is working on making his lungs function on his own.  
They have reduced his sedation which allows him to be more alert.   

We continue to pray for Zac’s lungs to heal so he can be on his road to a full recovery as soon as possible.  Thank you dear Lord for all the progress Zac has made

Journal entry by T DiGiorgio

Today was another busy day for Zac.    His improvements are slow and small, but they are improvements and that is the direction we pray we continue in.    Betsy sent me quite a detailed lengthy update.  She is so smart I don’t know how she keeps up with all of this, but she does!  I will try to summarize the best I can.

-     This morning his ventilator setting was at 45% which is better than yesterday’s 60.  
-     They are ever so slowly weaning him off of some of the many different meds he is on as long as he responds well.
-     His CT scan was pleasing to his neurological team.
-     His labs are looking better.
-     As the day went on his blood gases are good; the nurses are happy with them.
-     The ventilator has been cut back to 35% this afternoon.   
-     Zac has not been as responsive today as he was yesterday.  He has only opened his eyes a couple of times.
      Betsy seems to think they wore him out yesterday and he is conserving energy for is his
      24th Birthday!   She sure did miss seeing those baby blues though.
-     Introduced the O2 challenge which (this is how I understand it)  is a way to evaluate how well the lungs are
       transferring oxygen.  

     Thank you God for all Zac’s improvements.  Please hover over Zac and his critical care team.  Thank you for such a patient, attentive and ever so kind team of doctors and nurses looking over Zac.   Lord, please bring Zac’s lungs back to health.  In Christ’s name we pray.  AMEN!


Journal entry by T DiGiorgio

     We are so happy to report that Zac is making improvements today.    Zac has two nurses and an ECMO specialist 24/7.    Zac has a tracheotomy and still has the feeding tube in his nose.   The CT scan this morning showed no sign of any bleeding.   He does some have some fluid around his heart.   They started him on CRRT (Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy) to remove the fluids.    His kidneys are working well.  They explained that this will be a very slow process as pulling fluid to fast could cause neurological damage.  
     He is starting to participate in breathing on his own.  The Ventilator was lowered to 60.  His Blood Gas has improved.  So all in all, this is a great movement in the right direction!    
     The most exciting thing to hear was that he opened his eyes a few times today.    Betsy said he gave them a wide eye with a blink!  Of course tears of joy were shed and she was speechless.  The nurse quickly stepped in and told Zac that his Mom was there and had been there.  She also reassured him of where he is and that he is ok.   Betsy and Chris are so thankful for and amazed and in awe of the critical care team.    Zac would hate all this attention, but he is just going to have to deal.
     These are all slow steps in a more hopeful direction.   As Betsy was reminded by the nurse, all this could change, but for now... HAPPY DANCE TIME!   

    Thank everyone for their continued prayers for Zac.  We also have many prayers of thanksgiving to God for Zac’s improvements today.  Please Lord, let him continue to improve every day.  We pray for complications to stay away and Zac to have a full recovery.   
   Sorry....I just had to post this “wide-eye” picture of me and Zac.  Thanks for sharing it with me Diana!  Can’t wait to see those eyes again.   

Journal entry by T DiGiorgio

Hello everyone,
     Zac had a pretty quiet night.  They have taken him off the paralytic so he can try to participate in the breathing.  He is still very sedated.  The doctors seem pleased.   There may not be daily updates as we know that this process will be very slow.   We are praying and hoping for Zac to be making progress in the right direction.   God bless all his doctors and nurses and we thank God for their caring spirits and their caring hands.  
     We also thank God for all of you who are praying for Zac and the family daily and keeping them  in your thoughts. 
     As I try to think of clever things to write when I am journaling for caringbridge, my mind draws a blank.  I was scrolling through some things on Pinterest and this came up:  “Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”  Love it!  

The picture below is from the 4th of July week we all just spent at the lake.   We were all together having a wonderful week.   We are a big rowdy crew.  We are all here praying and pulling for you Zac!   

Zac’s Story

Site created on July 17, 2018

We have created this Caringbridge site to keep the family and friends of Zac DiGiorgio updated  about his recent accident and his progress towards recovery.    Zac was being his always helpful self when he fell from the front porch roof of his family’s home in Smyrna, Georgia on Saturday, July 14.     Zac was taken to WellStar Kennestone hospital in Marietta, GA.   He suffered a brain injury and is being taken care of by wonderful doctors and nurses in the ICU.    Please visit here for the most current updates on Zac.      Chris, Betsy, and Noah  appreciate all the prayers, love and support they have received.     Please continue to pray for Zac and for his team of doctors and nurses.    Thank you!