Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The inevitable (but minor) downturn

After so many good days in a row, it is only natural that we now seem to be going the bad direction on the 'roller coaster' that is preemie care. Woody is just completely stuck on his ventilator settings, and is very sensitive to any changes in his settings. This morning they attempted to change his breathing rate from 50 to 45, and young Captain Crankypants just really hated that. His blood gases went down, his oxygen needs went up, and the nurses and doctors quickly decided to put him back to his previous setting rates.

This marks something like the fourth attempt in five days to wean Woody down on his ventilator settings with no success at all, and coupled with some marginal blood chemistry test results has qualified today as not as good as most of the previous week. To make things worse, because his tests are not as good, he has been ordered for a number of additional blood tests, and since they pulled his arterial line last Friday, he has no set port to take blood out of, which means that every test means another needle stuck in him. Which, needless to say, he hates.

(A quick note about how one can tell what a preemie hates. Yeah, he can't cry yet, and it's not like he files a formal grievance with the hospital any time he gets a procedure that he doesn't like. But recall that we watch his numbers carefully; when he gets stressed his oxygen percentage in his blood goes down [in the lingo we call that 'de-satting'-- i.e., desaturating, since the blood oxygen percentage measures the relative oxygen saturation level of his red blood cells], his heart rate goes up, and his blood pressure can go either way.)

His continued need for relatively high ventilator settings and his extreme touchiness when it comes to being bothered have led the doctors to consider another 'two day rule-out', which I explained at some point last week, to screen for all manner of infections in his lungs. Also, he is still on his first breathing tube, and since he's actually growing a bit now, he may have outgrown it, necessitating a new one. Overall, however, although he is not doing as spectacularly as the previous few days, my general worry level about him is still not as high as it was, say, a week ago, which is definitely a good thing.


At 3:56 PM, Blogger Bill Hooker said...

I like to had me a heart attack when I read that entry title! I'm glad it's not any of the things my feverish imagination conjured up. Seems like you're in for a bit of a roller coaster in the next few months, but so long as the overall trajectory is upwards (healthwards) it's OK.

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

Hmm... didn't mean to spark that reaction. Perhaps I will alter it.

At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nate & Maggie -

I just heard about your early arrival -- congrats on a very cute, if a bit small, new baby! I'm following the blog, enjoying your entries (is it ok that I'm laughing out loud while reading quite frequently?) and keeping you guys in my thoughts!

Kate Jaycox


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