Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Sorry for the lack of an update last night. I know people tend to think that means we were at the hospital all night dealing with some terrible crisis, but this time it was really a factor of time. I'm back at work pretty close to full-time now, and the holiday week means we must put out our paper in three days instead of four. That meant I needed to do writing for which I'm paid when we got home from the hospital last night.

That said, Will did have a difficult night, needing much more oxygen than he has recently. They shifted him to a different ventilator that is more like what most people probably think of when they hear the word "ventilator." It helps him to take deeper breaths when he is breathing on his own (which he is doing more and more), and chips in to breathe for him when he is not. It was transitional, helping them to assess what he needs, and they then put him back on the high frequency ventilator shortly thereafter. This one gives him several tiny puffs of air each second, and shakes him a bit to work off the carbon dioxide. (I'll try to do some reporting in the next couple of days on this so I can better explain what this machine really does for him). Overnight they gave him more surfactant to help him breathe as well -- he surely holds the record now.

Because he was still having trouble holding his oxygen levels this morning, they decided to give him another course of dexamethasone, the steroid that helps decrease the inflammation in his lungs. The last time he received this, when he was at his worst about 10 days ago, he rebounded quickly and had three or four really good days of stability and easy breathing. We hope this time it will have a similar effect. He is stronger now than he was then, so he starts from a better place and it should be better for him.

The good news is that the attending physician in the NICU right now is Dr. John Klein. If you click on the link and check out his clinical interests, you see they line up pretty perfectly with the very things Will needs most now. Dr. Klein wrote the instruction manual for the ventilator that Will is using, so it is reassuring when he is the one who comes in to tweak it and make it work better to help Will. That's not to say any of the doctors and nurses have been anything less that great. Each seems to do what Will needs at any given moment. It's just a further indication of how lucky we are to be where we are.


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