Saturday, May 20, 2006

Duck, Duck, Gray Duc(tus)*

Yesterday was a classic day of how the life of a micropreemie operates. Get some great news first, then some less good news later. Today I got a more complete picture of Woody's recent difficulties. His blood pressure is having problems again, he remains on the oscillator, but most importantly, his ductus appears to have opened up again. The nurses heard the characteristic murmur again last night, and an echocardiogram this morning confirmed that it is indeed open.

This can be looked at two ways. First, the bad way: the ductus issue can be very dangerous in and of itself. It makes the heart work harder, can cause sinking blood pressure, and can make fluid and in the worst cases, blood, to back up into the lungs.

The good way to look at this is that at least there's a diagnosis that explains why his lungs were having to work so hard yesterday to keep his CO2 levels down, and why his blood pressure is down today too. If we can solve the ductus, then the hope is that his lung issues can start to deal with themselves as well.

So here's the rub: they are giving Woody another two doses of the drug that temporarily closed up the ductus last week, and hoping that it works again, at least for a while. If that doesn't work, we'll be looking at surgery on Monday or Tuesday. This is a very frightening option with a baby of Woody's size, but I am told that it is actually quite common and has risks far less than the alternative. So if it has to happen, it has to happen.

While we are waiting to resolve this issue, the feedings are suspended and little else can really be done with him. So we just have to watch and wait.

*One of the outstandingly quirky things about Minnesota is that this is perhaps the only place in America in which the kids do not play Duck, Duck, Goose. Instead, they play Duck, Duck, Gray Duck. "It" goes around the circle and pats various people on the head saying (for example) "Pink Duck, Blue Duck, Grrrrreen Duck, Plaid Duck, Fuchsia Duck" until they get to the chosen victim, and then they say "Gray Duck" which is the trigger for that person to get up and chase them. Yeah, it's pretty weird.

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