July 7 5:15 pm
Being educated isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Sometimes it is just plain better to be ignorant and dwell in the darkness of the unknown. Heather and I both find ourselves wanting to know as much as we possibly can about what's going on with the twins. These days when we go into the NICU I find myself not looking for the nurse right away, but rather looking at all of the different machines to analyze all of the readings. It didn't take long for me to learn what each readout stood for and how to compare about five different readouts from five different machines to figure out exactly how they are doing at that very moment. Of course this is only a very small piece of the puzzle and is only a snapshot of how they are doing right at that moment. After briefly scanning the machines it is time to bombard the nurse with a thousand questions. Most of them are extremely accomodating and seem very happy to be sharing info and actually seem to enjoy speaking with you in such depth. The more I know the better I feel.....usually. Then there are those things that don't help at all to know about. Today was one of those examples. Allison is this outstanding nurse who was the first to get us both comfortable with being interactive with the boys. She encouraged Heather to change Parker's diaper right away and helped us to feel more comfortable getting in the incubator. She was overseeing Parker today. So the good news of the day was relayed to us upon first arriving. Parker had been responding very well to the anti-biotics they had started him on last night and had seemed to stabalize somewhat this morning. After sharing this good news with us she informed us that she was going to be taking a blood gas soon, so we may want to visit with Tyler awhile. So any other reasonable parents would have followed that subtle clue. Not us. After visiting with Tyler for awhile we went back over to see little Parker who had not had his blood gas yet. Allison told us they hadn't gotten to it yet and were about to........from now on, these will be golden words to us......words that will never be ignored......words that will prompt an immediate departure from the area only to return long after the experience is over and recovered from. We didn't need to witness the event......it didn't give us any usuable information to understand their progress better......it didn't enlighten us to any further data or readouts......it really didn't serve any other purpose except to cause us great pain. Taking a blood gas means that they have to actually send some blood to the lab to determine exactly how much oxygen and exactly how much carbon dioxide is in the blood. This is the best way to determine how well the lungs are functioning. There are machines that constantly monitor the oxygen in the blood through a light attached to thier little hand, but this is not any where near as accurate as a blood gas. So four times a day they have to take blood to have it analyzed. This is plenty of information......this is useful information.......this helps me to understand the medical process and proceedures they are undertaking to help my sons.......this is all I really needed to know........BUT NO!!!!!!!!.......John and Heather had to stay to witness the collection of the blood.......a process that provides absolutely no valuable information that I need.......it just broke my heart. The amount of blood they need is not enough to draw from an IV, so they collect the sample through a foot prick. They prick their little foot to make it bleed then collect their sample from there. Now we've all probably experienced something to this effect.......prick......drop of blood on a slide or a paper strip......Owwww.....then the band aid......not really what Parker experienced. They basically have to milk the little prick area and collect blood in a tube.......yeah I said milk.....they squeeze his little foot to get a drop then collect it in a tube.......repeat......repeat......repeat.....repeat......as I'm watching my son's little face twist in pain as his little mouth opens up unable to cry it's impossible not to notice his little arm flailing about.......you know he's in pain and is trying to call out for help, but the process continues.....and all you can do is watch......your logic kicks into gear and you tell yourself that getting his accurate blood gas is paramount in the priority of things, but logic can't overcome the shattering of your heart. He's soooo small and in soooo much pain. This process goes on for almost four minutes.......yeah almost four minutes!!!!!..... as they keep squeezing his teeny tiny lil' foot to get drop by drop the sample they need. My hands are sweaty, my heart is racing and all I can think about is how he is trying to call out for help. Then things got bad......his eyes opened.....now they have opened in little slits before for a short amount of time, but now they are almost 80% open.......and they aren't closing. They finish taking the sample, and get him tucked into his favorite tummy position so he can recover, but recovery doesn't come. His eyes stay open and stare blankly as we watch his oxygen saturation rate drop (it should be in the upper 80's). Sometimes it drops into the low 70's and maybe even into the upper 60's, but only for a second before it rebounds back into the 80's. Parker's dropped like a rock........all the way down to 24!!!! Then Allison says, very calmly, "Hey Parker, your coloring doesn't look good" Oh Course it Doesn't!!!! The boy's got no air!!!! I bite my tongue and stand back and let Allison work. She is truly an angel. Very calmly she begins working......suctioning his airway, readjusting his vent tube, cranking up the oxygen.......I'm so grateful for her. Within about two minutes he rebounded. His stats came back up and before we new it he was back in the 80's. Afterwards, we were talking with Allison. I told her how I was really panicking when he went into the twenties. She said she wasn't as worried about the readout as she was about his coloring. That's when she jumped into action. She said it happens.....when you have to draw blood and do other things they simply don't like it and will destat. Now I know why she suggested we visit Tyler. Ignorance is bliss. I really didn't gain anything out of that experience except to know that they have moments of pain that a parent should never have to witness. I'm sure there will be a lifetime of moments where I witness them in pain.......but most of those will be life lessons with something to be learned or gained. For now, they are simply much much to small and have no life lesson to learn, to have to go through that.
Right now it is just pain that they have to endure.....they don't know why and will not learn anything from it.....right now it is just pain. I can tell one thing, I will choose to not endure the pain of being an observer ever again. Without anything that I can do, it only serves as parental torture.......torture that I will avoid.
I just realized I couldn't end on that note so here's to positives of the day: Tyler is up to 8 ml of breast milk every three hours which is double what he was two days ago.....Parker is up to 4 ml which is great since they were contemplating lowering his due to his infenction.....Parker is responding to the anti-biotics.......and both boys seem to have their PDA's still closed :):):) Okay, gotta remember to focus on the positives!!!!!!