Saturday, June 24, 2006

Consolidating the gains

Maggie and I are now working again, but we still try to get to the hospital in time for rounds, because that's when we get the most information on Woody and can get our input on his care. On Monday, I made a special point of waiting around for rounds because that was the first day on for the neonatologist for this period*.

But ever since then, rounds have been happening earlier and earlier and neither of us has gotten in on time to actually talk to the team. Maggie would get there for her morning pump 'n' visit around mid-morning, but they would have already rounded and we had to hear about his progress secondhand through the nurses. So imagine our happiness this morning when not only did we make rounds, we were told some pretty encouraging things about Woody's progress from a long term perspective.

Woody has had a bit of a tough week, but ever since he got his new tube in on Wednesday he's made some important gains, holding to a couple of downward shifts on vent settings (for the first time in memory) and gaining a steady, if not spectacular amount of weight (he's now up to 1050 grams, or about 2 lbs 5 oz). Beyond the statistical improvements, we've noticed a welcome difference in tone-- the nurses talk about when we take him home, and when we can start nursing, and when we attempt an extubation, and stuff like that. I look back on the first couple of weeks and note that most of the hospital staff spoke to us in pretty circumspect tones and didn't seem to want to be optimistic, which is probably right from the perspective of not making us get our hopes up too much, but sometimes felt like we didn't have any idea if a good outcome was possible.

There is nothing magical about what has to happen from this point-- Woody needs to get bigger, and he'll gain weight and improve his lung performance in a feedback loop where he gets bigger and builds better lung tissue and then he doesn't have to work so hard at breathing and can devote more calories to getting bigger. Some milk, some love, and some good care is the long and short of what he needs now.

*Neonatologists at The Hospital That Shall Not Be Named are on for two week stints, and the current one is the head honcho for lung type research and issues, so we've been excited about some high-level oversight when he needs it.


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