Dear Faithful Readers,
I have not been keeping this blog in hopes of gaining readership or to get the most “site visits” possible. I have simply been keeping it to help all of you stay informed, and to help myself in the process. My writing to you has been so very therapeutic. I thank you again for visiting this blog enough to keep me writing. I say this now because I noticed today that we’ve had almost 12,000 visits since I started writing. (Half of those visits have probably been from my Aunt Ninnie), but for the rest, it’s nice to know so many people care enough to check in so often.
David is shaping into a real boy these days. He’s losing some of his preemie look and his distinctive features are starting to show through. He’s also growing quickly. He’s growing so quickly, in fact, that they’ve had to put him on a diet. At first they restricted his caloric intake and now they’re giving him a diuretic every other day for at least the next few days. He has recently been retaining fluids, and although the doctors tried to hold off from giving him a diuretic as long as possible, they finally decided that it’s probably best for him. The major downside to the diuretic is David’s potential nutritional loss of things like sodium and potassium. To counterbalance this the nurses now supplement him with a little extra “S & P” in his feedings; they season him with a little extra salt and pepper, as they call it.
He is still on high-flow oxygen at 2 litres. Just so you’re aware of where he is and where he still has to go, David started out on 3 litres of high-flow. The docs weaned him last week to 2.5 litres, and then weaned him again a few days ago to 2 litres. He needs to get to 1 litre before he can be switched to low-flow. If all the other criteria I told you about have been met, David can go home on low-flow, although we would probably rather wait until he is completely free of any supplemental oxygen needs before we take him home.
What I’m saying that I can’t believe I’m saying is that the end is in sight. We can finally start to think of it, and that’s nice.
David is doing so well at this point that I ask you to shift your positive thoughts for a moment over to my father. He came to Vermont from Virginia last week to meet David for the first time. Unfortunately he became sick with a fever and a cold as soon as he got here and spent four days trying to recover at our house. He and my mom returned home to Virginia on Friday morning and on Monday morning he was hospitalized with severe bacterial pneumonia. On Monday afternoon the doctor told my mom it was so severe in fact that he might not survive it. My sisters got the first flight home from California, my brother and his wife and their newly-born daughter drove up from Charleston, SC and first thing on Tuesday morning Graham put air in my tires, I packed a small bag and my pumping gear and I made the ten-hour drive home, stopping twice in hotel parking lots to pump from inside my car and calling Graham to ask about David and calling my sisters and my mother to ask about my dad.
I’m not telling you this for sympathy, or to make this whole “story” more dramatic, but simply to tell you the fact of it: that it could not have seemed more unreal, that seeing my dad lying there, sedated and ventilated on that hospital bed, and the deja vu of it all could not have felt more like just a bad dream. Because that’s what it does feel like, or maybe that’s what I’m making it feel like: “unreal,” until he gets better, at least, which is happening, slowly.
I visited my dad in the ICU as soon as I arrived on Tuesday night. He’s hooked up to the same machine that David was hooked up to, so I could read the monitors, which is the first thing I did. And I kept doing it. I kept looking at the monitors and watching the breathing line on the screen, and I watched it stream across until I reminded myself of something, that I wasn’t there to look at the same monitors I’ve been looking at for almost three months. I drove 700 miles to see my dad. I went there to look in on him, and to let him feel that I, and the rest of his family, was there.
Out of respect for my siblings, my mom and my dad’s family all the way over in England I don’t need to give any details, like the details I give for David. I don’t need to talk about what he looked like and what the potential diagnosis could be. That’s too personal for more people than just me right now, and too sensitive.
After our visit on Tuesday night we all went home to my parents’ house and enjoyed a bonus evening together. On Wednesday morning I went to visit my dad once more. I left my dad’s bedside at 9:30am and made it the 700 miles back to David’s bedside by 9pm, just in time for his feeding. David never even knew I was gone.
And so with that, I ask for more good thoughts for David, and for my dad. We don’t even need good thoughts. Maybe just take a deep deep breath, and focus on it, and think of how good it feels.
Breathing feels pretty good.
J & G & D