Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Today was the first anniversary of the first issue of the Corridor Business Journal, my employer for the past year. We had a reception to celebrate, and as part of that, we laid out a display with each of the 52 issues we have made. Looking at them, I was taken aback by how recent some of the stories feel. It doesn't seem possible that we did some of these months ago. At the same time, some of the issues are a hazy memory, while others I don't remember at all. The fact that I was putting out a paper (with a lot of spectacular help, I might add) while still going to the hospital for hours each day to see Will is pretty amazing to me. I don't recall much from those three months. The issues I don't remember are those from the week Will was born, the week he died and the two weeks after. I wasn't there at all and the staff came together to put the paper out in my absence. I needed to be gone and they made it possible. It would have been a pretty remarkable year under any circumstances. Dickens might have had a year like this in mind when he wrote about it being the best of times and worst of times. There are parts I would love to have to do over, of course, but I wouldn't have missed any of it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Mary alerted me to a story in the Chicago Tribune last week about the use of nitric oxide to help premature babies. As has often been the case with things like this, a story that once would have been skipped over is now read with intense interest. It talks about two studies on the use of nitric oxide and the fact that they came back with contradictory results.

Will was on nitric oxide therapy for much of his short life, so we're curious to see data about its effectiveness. Will started out in a similar study being conducted by his attending physician. He was a prime candidate for the therapy because of his underdeveloped lungs. Early on in his treatment, he wouldn't necessarily have been put on nitric oxide, but because the NICU was helping to conduct the study, we were asked if Will could participate. Because nitric oxide is thought to help underdeveloped lungs and we knew that our son would need all the help he could get, we agreed. It was a blind study, so we had no idea if the tanks hooked up to his ventilator had nitric oxide or some benign control gas. As Will's condition worsened early on, they pulled him out of the study to make sure he actually was getting nitric oxide; the doctors were confident enough of its effectiveness that they wanted him to be on it.

So, did it help? Who knows? It certainly doesn't seem to have hurt, and even the study cited in the Tribune article that calls into question its effects doesn't suggest that it does harm so much as that it has no real benefit. Regardless, it is important research that we never would have known about or thought to have an impact on our lives. Our experience with Will certainly opened our eyes, and I know that I read about all sorts of medical news now with a fresh perspective: You never know when something is going to hit close to home.