So the question of the day is....When was the last time you blew a bubble??.....but let's get perspective first....I'm not talking about the wimpy little crackle that happens when a small pocket of inadvertent air gets into your chewing gum.....or the pathetic little concave orifice you happen to create when you force your tongue to stretch your Wrigley's spearmint gum in an attempt to make a bubble......I'm talking about that monstrous bubble you create from actual bubble gum......you know the bubble that is a big as your head.......the one that makes you start grunting like a neanderthal as loud as you can in hopes that somebody...anybody will look in your direction and validate your creation.....cuz we all know that unless somebody sees and and says "holy moly" that it doesn't really count.....and even then you're somewhat leery of that exact validation....since you know that it could be "that" friend that hears you and responds.....you know...."that" friend.......the one that won't hesitate an instant to abandon their obligation of recognition of the bubble in lieu of instantly seizing the opportunity for their own entertainment.....yes...some of you know "that" friend......the one that instantly plunges their grubby little finger into that perfectly shaped pink orb with the sole intention having it explode and thus encompass your entire face in a great smelling yet annoyingly sticky facial mask.....as if their betrayal wasn't enough of an assault, they then laugh incessantly as you attempt to pick each sticky shred from your face.....which is when you realize that gum and facial hair makes for a very painful combination that resists any attempts at separation.....yes this is the bubble I'm referring to.....the one that begins, not with light grey or white colored chewing gum.....no these bubbles attain their origin from that fantastically ginormous (yes Mark I realize that's not a word, but I'm using it anyway, and everyone will know from context what it means!!!) that ginormous wonderfully sugar laced blob of pink goo that is so large and sweet it's next to impossible to avoid drooling when first excising it into a substance that can be managed by the average human being.....it's bubble gum that must be employed.....and by the way, what genius ever decided that bubble gum had to be pink??? Is it just me, or has any one else ever wondered why bubble gum is pink.......if you think about it, isn't the primary target demographic for the sale of bubble gum the little boy???? EASY PEOPLE, stop calling me a sexist pig.....I realize that little girls love blowing bubbles as much as boys, but come on let's be real for a second.....when I ask you to picture someone blowing a bubble don't you automatically think of the stereotypical dirty faced little boy with marbles in one pocket, a frog in one hand, untied sneakers and messed up hair.....yes it's a stereotype, and yes you definitely want to market to girls as well, but you'd think a well educated marketing director back in the fifties when this stuff was invented would have been thinking of the little boys as the target audience (did ya like how I just threw out there that bubble gum was invented in the 50's???? Like I really know that!!! I just made it up, but it sure fits my argument). I mean come on.....why didn't they make the stuff blue!! Or black for that matter.....can you imagine a huge wad of black sticky bubble gum taking up every little boy's mouth and stuck in their hair???....now we're talkin'!!! The point is that blowing huge bubbles with a big wad of gum is a ritualistic form of entertainment that every red blooded American kid has (or should have) gone through. Blowing bubbles is just plain fun......so when's the last time you blew a bubble??? Maybe it's time you rediscovered such joy. Bubble are fun....period. What about the little plastic bottle of bubbles....remember those?? That little bottle of what pretty much amounted to dish detergent with a label around it. Open it up and stick your finger in it to find the magic plastic stick with a circle on the end of it. Dip....blow....and....tadaaaa.....BUBBLES!!!! What sadistic jerk invented this little gem of a toy!!!! How many of you every blew a million of these only to suddenly find out that when one of these little babies wafted ever so gently back down onto your face and popped it forced acid like liquid into your fragile little eye socket only to have it sting like a red hot lance!!!! Then you'd do what any natural human being would do when their eye is experiencing excruciating pain........that's right you instantly drop the bubble goo and rub your eye......sure rubbing any painful portion of your body is a natural pain reliever.....yeah, except when your fingers are covered in the liquid of torture because you were forced to cram them into the bottle to begin with to extract the crappy little piece of plastic to begin with!!!!!! Now your eye not only has the remnants of the bubble that has been inadvertently splattered into it, but it also has a fresh dose of the liquid from hell that has been forcefully burrowed into it by your own actions!!! But even though your eye sight has been permanently damaged and your eye is now as pink as the bubble gum wad in your mouth and will be for days, you continue with your bubble blowing entertainment....because......come on.....let's face it......THEY'RE BUBBLES!!!!!.......and....we....love....BUBBLES!!!! I too love bubbles, but today, I realized that the UCD NICU has forever changed something in me.....and that my friends......is my love for bubbles. You see, today I was holding Parker and had the bubble revelation that I'll now share with you. I sat there holding him and suddenly had a panicked feeling. It was a familiar feeling of panic.....not life or death panic.....just that...oh...crap....feeling....that feeling that I have come so accustomed to feeling when I DON"T hear bubbles. Not hearing bubbles is a bad thing......sometimes.....let me explain. When the boys were on CPAP I was not only constantly trying to help them find the elusive comfortable position with the CPAP device, but was also constantly listening for bubbles....you see, the CPAP device would require a "seal" to work optimally. When there was a good seal there was a canister of water hooked up to the device that would bubble. The more consistent the bubbling the better the device was working. If, however, there was an obvious sound in the room devoid of bubbling you knew that he was not receiving the optimal amount of pressure and oxygen......no bubbles meant he wasn't doing as well as he should. I didn't really realize it but, like a Pavlovian dog, I have been conditioned to listen for bubbles....or the lack thereof.....as soon as you notice the lack of bubbling you feel that sense of panic or doom signaling that your baby boy isn't getting the proper dose of life supporting oxygen that he needs. Well, today I got that sense of doom when I my subconscious recognized the lack of bubbles and alerted me. It didn't take but a fraction of a second for my conscious mind to scold my subconscious mind and remind it that he was no longer on CPAP and therefore did not require any bubbles. He doesn't need bubbles and hasn't for a little while, but my "bubble conditioning" in so ingrained that that panicked feeling just comes over me subconsciously. So after I overcame my bubble conditioned response, my mind started drifting (as most of my writings do) and I began thinking about how much joy bubbles have brought to me in my lifetime.....and how this new twist should be perceived......are bubbles still good or have they been given a negative connotation......even when on CPAP, bubbles were a good sign.....but back then, and apparently even now, the lack of a bubbling sound causes my body to react negatively.........but it's really the lack of bubbles that brings negative feelings not the bubbles themselves......so are bubbles still always good.....this is what happens to your brain after 100+ days in the NICU.....my hope now, is that they have developed enough, they are strong enough and that they are healthy enough for me not to ever have to contemplate CPAP bubbles ever again....I think I'll go chew some Bubble Yum now....does anyone even know if they still make Bubble Yum???
Okay, now that you've suffered through a ginormous rant, I'd better get down to the details of the boys :):)
Parker: Is in cruise control right now. His oxygen flow on the high flow cannula has been decreased to two liters. This is great for a couple of reasons. First, it means that he is on the verge of getting off of the high flow and onto a regular cannula!!! It also meant that today, for the first time, they dropped him down to one liter temporarily so that mom could try breast feeding for the first time. Parker did great!!! He latched on for a few seconds right away!! He didn't stay on and wanted nothing to do with it after that, but it is a huge success that he even took an interest on the first try. Because they both have been on vents and feeding tubes for so incredibly long the process of learning how to suck, swallow and breathe all simultaneously could easily be a three week process. Today's attempt was merely an introduction to the event. The fact that he attempted right away shows great promise. His recent episodes of Bradycardia (severe lowering of the heart rate) have not seemed to be of concern to the docs. Because he immidiately resolves the situation on his own, they have been telling us that they will be monitoring carefully, but want to leave it at that. They seem to be happening less and less and we are hopeful that they will dissapate all together.
Tyler: Ty is doing very well as well. Our big pow-wow with all of the docs was very educational for us, but didn't really change anything largely in part because Tyler seemed to begin making progress again. Our primary concern was that of his lack of progress. He must have felt our frustrtion, since he began to show some progress on the day of the meeting. We felt a lot better being able to hear all points of view from both medical teams ( the pulmonary docs who will be monitoring the boys after discharge and the NICU docs who have been with them from day one). The bottom line is that, due to his subtle advancements again, we are remaining on the patience train and letting take the time that he needs. It seems to be working. Today they took him down to three liters of oxygen support. He came off of CPAP at 5 liters, went to 6, went back to CPAP, came back off at 5 and held steady for several days. A few days ago they took him down to 4, which he tolerated, then today down to 3. He seems to be handling it so far.
They both continue to gain weight and both are enjoying being held more and more which is heaven for us. Sorry for the long delay in getting specifics to you....it just gets harder and harder to find time to write.....then when I do I ramble:):)