Friday, November 19, 2004

In addition to the pale skin he is almost assured of having, perhaps Will is going to inherit something else from his folks: the urge to write. How else to explain his flair for the dramatic? It seems as if our son -- before even being able to hold a pen -- is crafting his own one-man show, an autobiographical performance called "I, Will... Or Maybe I Won't."

Tonight's segment in this on-going saga was a curveball. After dealing with up and down oxygen levels for the past three-and-a-half weeks, he's now dealing with carbon dioxide levels. We've got him remembering to breathe in, it's breathing out that's the problem now. We came to see him early this evening, and he seemed to be doing fine. His oxygen levels were good, he was continuing to tolerate his milk, and seemed to be resting comfortably. Within the hour, he had a room full of doctors and nurses increasing his ventilator settings significantly, taking frequent blood gas samples and giving him more surfactant. His CO2 levels had been headed toward dangerous levels, and they were working to quickly bring those down. They did, and by the time we left at 11 p.m., he'd had his third good blood gas sample in a row and seemed ready for a quiet night.

Breathing problems will continue to be a problem for some time for Will because his lungs are so immature. The good news, the doctor told us, is that as he continues to do well with his milk, and subsequently, to grow, he will be able to generate new lung cells that will slowly but surely help him to breathe better. That's a long process, but we're willing to wait. At least he can always get more surfactant. The doctor told us tonight that the record number of doses given to a baby is 13, and Will is sitting at 12 with the promise of many more days like this where he'll need it, so it's safe to say Will's name will be etched in the record books soon. While I'd hoped for highest vertical leap for a 24-week-old baby or learning to read before anybody else, the surfactant record seems more realistic at this point. All in good time.


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