Monday, November 08, 2004

A quick update after tonight's visit to report that Will continues to hold his own. His oxygen and ventilator needs were up slightly, but still much better than where he was 36 hours before. He'll get that third dose of indomethacin yet tonight, and then we cross our fingers. His other excitement for the day is the reason for the delay in receiving the indomethacin. An IV line was installed in his arm that will likely stay for several weeks. It was placed near his right hand and runs up his arm and into the area around his heart, and will be used to deliver medicine to him. After they put that in today, they decided to give him a blood transfusion (he's had a handful before this), which pushed back the indomethacin. This IV replaces a line that has been in the vein of his umbilicus since birth. The arterial line in that area came out about a week ago. Both are removed after a week or two because, while it's an easy place to put such a line, it also is an easy spot for infection to creep in. The good news for his breathing is that the removal of the venous umbilical line will allow them to put him on his stomach, a position that puts less pressure on his lungs and will make it easier for him to breathe.

An obvious question, or at least one that I was quick to ask, is, "Wouldn't this actually make it more difficult to breathe because he'll need to raise his body at the same time he fills his lungs?" The answer, obviously, is "no." As it was explained to me, while on his back, his organs put pressure on the diaphragm. On his stomach, there is less pressure on the diaphragm and it is easier for him to fill his lungs. In addition, it allows him to use muscles on his backside to breathe after so long relying on those elsewhere to do the work.

I haven't reported on Will's weight in a while because the scale readings have been a bit misleading. He is at 618 grams right now, quite a leap from the 531 of a few days ago. We have been assured that this bulking up is mostly fluid retention brought on by the indomethacin, which, in the course of constricting blood vessels, also slows down kidney function and urine production. He will, as we were told in easy-to-decipher medical lingo today, "pee most of that out" in the next couple of days. For now, it has left him with a bit of a double chin that I have been thoughtful enough to refrain from documenting photographically here.

On a final note for tonight, take a gander at the number at the very bottom of this page. People have checked in on Will more than 1,000 times in the past nine days. It is heartening -- and a bit astonishing -- to know how many people are keeping tabs on our little guy. We have received e-mails from friends of friends, relatives of co-workers and even people who have never met us but somehow found the site out there. Whoever you are and however you got here, keep pulling for him. It's working.


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