Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Update

We're still plugging along here, no big troubles on the Woody front. Maggie is always a little bit worried about him, which is understandable*, but there is little to get too exercised about. For a while we were a bit concerned about his lack of weight gain, but it appears that was a temporary problem, or at least my back says that. We will have a weigh-in on Friday, so we'll know for sure then. But he looks pretty chubby to me.

After discharge, the hospital told us that their policy for copying medical records was that they'd do it for some ridiculous amount per page. Maggie followed up a few times with people in the administration to maybe consider giving us a free copy of the records, because a) that would be REALLY EXPENSIVE and b) it's uncommonly important for us to be able to have all the early records in case he needs medical attention when we're not at the hospital later. To their credit, the Unnamed Hospital agreed to make us a full record and it arrived yesterday. So we started going through the records and learning what the doctors and the nurses and the lab reports said about everything.

My primary observation is that hospital records are remarkably boring. If you can take interesting news and can successfully obfuscate the meaning with jargon and stilted writing, then you should probably go to medical school. I have never seen such a lack of adjectives in my life. We looked carefully for any observations about us, of course. Remarks about parents fit into the almost insultingly generic category of "social", and they manage to be as un-illuminating as possible. "Parents were at bedside." "Parents are interactive." "Advised mother about situation." "Parents seem concerned and engaged in condition of patient." I have yet to see anything about how "Parents are incredibly intelligent and understant patient's condition far better than we do". But then again I'm not done reading this yet.

The real thing I'm interested in, besides just helping me remember how weird everything was, is to get an idea of how serious things were at various points in the hospital stay. For example, I knew his glucose levels were bad in the first week, but I guess I didn't realize how bad. An average glucose level runs at 60-90, but for the first few days he was consistently reading near 300.

The other thing I really appreciated were the notes from the delivery. They were written by a resident, Dr. A-M. I only saw her on two other occasions; her term ended shortly thereafter, and I understand she's now a neonatologist in Alaska. I will always remember and be thankful for her. When things looked really bleak, and I saw the tiny tiny baby that had just been born, and didn't really think that there was any hope**, I remember so well her eyes between the cap and the mask opening wide as she told me "He's BEAUTIFUL!". She also told me that he had done so well and wanted to breathe and had great APGAR scores (3 and 7) for being such a ridiculously early preemie and that we should be really proud. I just appreciate so much that she was able to give us some hope.

I am currently beginning to put together a timeline using our observations and the medical records to put together Woody's history. It will be a fun project.

*Maggie has some small hypochondriac tendencies, and the worst thing that could possibly happen for such a person is to have some of the fears come true. I mean, we did refer to her blood pressure as "180/preeclampsia" in jest to make fun of her, and look what happened. So no, I don't really blame her.
**My defense mechanism is to try to make wisecracks to keep the mood light. So they put him in the 'sterile bag', which is literally a plastic sack, so as to keep him warm right after delivery, and I see this and declare "I asked for paper!" Ha, ha, ha. I'm so sure I mentioned that ~amusing~ anecdote before.

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