Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life is Fragile

What a week. So we had a pretty terrible day last Monday. I was giggling, playing, and taking smiling photos of Norah (left) when she began to cough. She was having a difficult time so I passed the suction catheter to help with her secretions. I had a tough time passing to the normal depth, and she immediately went gray and still. Not blue, not purple, but gray. I called out for help and her respiratory therapist responded quickly. I grabbed the ambu-bag for him, and did what I could to help him revive her. She seemingly turned to stone in an instant. He called out for more help. Her color started to return as he bagged her, but when the charge nurse came in, she started to turn gray again. Just then, Jeff arrived with Harper. As the nurse called a code over the PA system, the three of us left the room. Now that she was in good hands, I was able to lose it. I sobbed uncontrollably in the hallway. Harper could sense something was wrong and also got pretty upset. He said he wanted to take the elevator downstairs, so Jeff went with him while the social worker stayed with me in the hallway.

Everyone was flooding towards her room, and when there wasn't room for more people, they all stood outside looking both anxious and somber. They were doing chest compressions in there, trying to bring our baby girl back to us. A few people left the room, telling me they were doing everything they could. After (what I was later told was) nine long minutes, I heard a female voice shout, "YES!" Soon after, someone came out to tell me that her heart was beating again. I am so thankful to all of those that brought her back, especially those that took turns doing CPR.

The ride to Primary Children's was awful. The ambulance rushed us there with the sirens and lights on. It was not exciting or thrilling; it was nerve wracking and stressful. She made the trip safely while being bagged the entire time by Metro Fire EMS. They weren't able to get an IV in, so had to place an IO (intraosseous) in her tibia. Poor girl.

So it's been a really difficult week of ups and downs, but she's been much better during these past couple of days. It looks like we're going to be hibernating at Primary Children's PICU for the winter at minimum. Who knows what will be done at that point. All that matters is our girl is back with us. Time will still tell if there was any permanent brain damage from those nine minutes, but we, along with the doctors, are very optimistic. She was happy and smiling yesterday (Tuesday), and seemed more herself than she has all week.

Life is fragile. Go hug your children, your parents, your siblings, and everyone else that you love. And be sure to tell them how wonderful they are... because you never know what can happen.

Settled in at Primary Children's. So exhausted.

Oh happy day! As of Tuesday, she's finally playful again. (Don't mind the IV in her head. It's better than an IO!)

Sleeping sweetly on Tuesday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nine Minutes

Nine minutes. Nine long, horrific minutes. Norah had an awful day. We all did. She coded & it took nine minutes for the staff at South Davis to get her heart beating again via CPR. We're back at the PICU at Primary Children's, but she's stable and sleeping comfortably. I'll post more updates when I can.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Like Brother, Like Sister

I love this... check out these photos of Harper when he was just shy of 2 months old, and of Norah at about 3 1/2 months old (click for full view):

Out of the ICU!

Three is my lucky number, and they say that "the third time is the charm", right? Let's certainly hope so. Norah transferred back to South Davis for her third stay. Let's hope this one sticks until it's time for her to come home. South Davis rented and trained their respiratory therapists on the only ventilator that will work for Norah. She has expensive taste, that's for sure.

Though Life Flight came to transport her via ambulance, she moved a step up from the isolette to a gurney due to her growth. Speaking of growth, she's up to 4.4 kg, which is 9.68 lbs. I recently realized that Norah isn't a newborn anymore. It makes me sad to think that I missed so much of that wonderful but fleeting phase. She's developed so much in the last few months, and almost all of that development has happened in the hospital. I sure miss my baby girl.

Our family has been divided for almost four months now. This division has become our new "normal", but it certainly hasn't gotten any easier. Sure, I don't cry every day anymore. Harper no longer seems to feel abandoned every time we leave him with a family member for the day. But that doesn't mean it is any easier. We've only learned to cope with it better. I still feel reluctant to leave the hospital at the end of each visit. I still think of her constantly, and ache to be together. I don't think it will ever get easier. But we make the best of it. We smile and laugh with each other as well as the hospital staff. We cuddle and play, and do our best to make the most of the time that we do have together. 

So precious in the hair accessories made by one of Jeff's co-workers just for Norah!

I just can't get over her sweet face. And those eyelashes kill me!

So precious!

Finally settled in at South Davis

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Puppy Love

The first time I fell in love with a dog, it was with my best pal Kristen's greyhound Neptune. She was the sweetest, gentlest princess I had ever met. Neptune led me to wanting to adopt a greyhound of my own. When I first delved into home ownership, greyhound adoption was the first thing on my make-a-house-a-home to-do list. I remember the day Kristen went with me to pick up Dottie from Arizona Adopt a Greyhound. It was love at first sight. She was a petite girl for a greyhound, and had an independent (read: snobby) personality and the most beautiful dark brindle coloring. This first photo just kills me with her lovely face.

Over time, Dottie had quite a few health problems: ear infections, digestive woes, and paw/nail problems that have plagued her since about age 5 or 6. I can't even count the many attempts at treating her poor paws. Her paw/nail problem baffled multiple vets. But she was still our sweet snobby girl and we loved her.

I first met Dexter at an adoption event. He was a scared sweet big boy looking for a home. He raced for about two years in Kansas City before coming to Phoenix for retirement. Life with Dexter was a bit of a journey. He was clearly abused during his racing career, and perhaps before it too. He could be a bit agressive with other dogs when put in a bad situation, and was very wary of humans. Sometimes he'd be so spooked that we couldn't get him to come inside the house. Poor guy. Over the years, Dexter warmed considerably. He gave the best hugs, and loved to hog the bed.

Just before Harper was born, we stopped letting the dogs rotate turns sleeping at the foot of the bed with us. We didn't want to take chances of having a 100 lb dog jump onto the baby accidentally. It took them awhile to adjust, but they eventually did. To them, that was the end of an era. From that point forward, the dogs were constantly having to adjust to the shenanigans of their humans. It hasn't been fair to them at all, and now we have the added concern of soon bringing home Norah with all of her respiratory concerns.

The day after my gallbladder surgery, Jeff took on the awful task of dropping the dogs off with the kind woman who runs GPA SLC. You may remember that she helped find the perfect home for Noodle, too. She agreed to take Dexter in to her own home and adopt out Dottie to a friend of hers. Since this happened the day after my surgery, it was just too physically painful to cry. Jeff and my mom helped me fight from sobbing because it was murder on my body. As a result, I still haven't found myself fully able to grieve the situation. I miss them so much, but know it was for the best. The reality is that they're going to homes where they'll probably be much happier than ours. They'll be the center of their little universes again, and that's exactly what they deserve - especially at their old ages of 8 and 9. They were our kids for so long, and I am so thankful for their companionship over the years.

Dottie & Dexter, your mama and daddy love you so much. I hope you can forgive us, and I hope you enjoyed our years together as much as your daddy and I have. We miss you so so much, and not a day goes by that I don't think of you with love in my heart.

Some of our favorite memories with Dottie and Dexter:

  • We lovingly referred to them as the most "pathetic" dogs on the planet. Just look at the sweet pathetic looks on their faces. <3
  • Dexter loved to catch snowballs in his mouth every winter; Dottie loved to chew on ice in the summer
  • A few months after adopting Dexter, I attempted to take up jogging. I took both of them with me the first time, but before even a single mile had passed, I was having to literally pull Dexter along. He has zero endurance!
  • In her younger years, I'd take Dottie to charity 5k walks. She liked being social with the other dogs, but sometimes I sensed a little competitiveness in her pace.
  • Though I can't recall the reason, I remember once crying on my bed in Phoenix. Dottie came right up to me and licked my face to cheer me up. It worked.
  • Once I had to carry all 65 lbs of Dottie across a giant parking lot in Phoenix because it was too hot for the pads of her paws.
  • Dottie was a sun worshiper. She loved to spread out in the grass and soak up the hot sunshine.
  • One time Kristen brought over one of her foster dogs for a playdate. The moment we went outside, her foster dog just trotted into the swimming pool, thinking it was only a couple of inches deep. Down he went! FYI: Greyhounds don't float well since they have so little body fat!
  • The first time Dexter met Jeff, he clearly didn't want him to leave. Jeff was sitting on the couch when Dexter came up to rest his head in his lap and heaved a big sigh.
  • In Arizona, there was an especially large bee flying around. Dexter thought he would do his duty and chase it away. He trotted over to the bee, snapped his jaws in a fury, missed, and came running back into the house as if he was being chased by a pack of hungry cats.
  • Dexter loved to lean against us. He'd just lean in, begging your arm to be wrapped around him. We couldn't ever deny his hugs.
  • Dexter was especially gentle with Harper, and I often got the sense that it was in a protective sort of way. When Harper would get upset at a random barking dog during a walk, I'd always say "Don't worry buddy, Dexter will protect us!"
  • Dottie, Dexter, and Noodle bore their own track into the backyard in Seattle! Here in Utah, Dexter still loved to run, and for some reason it made Harper laugh so hard! Dottie, on the other hand, would often go back inside. She became antisocial in her old age!
  • Backyard picnics with the dogs begging for food cuddling with us on the blanket 
  • As mentioned in Noodle's post: The fact that they were there for our wedding in CA - I'm sure everyone who was there remembers Dottie and Noodle's Great Escape!
  • And who can forget the "bucking incident" as hilariously documented by Jeff
  • Though a pain at the time, I'll always remember the many many road trips with them including a Thanksgiving with Kristen in NM, several trips to CA, and of course our multiple out-of-state moves.
  • Dexter's ears could rival the softness of any puppy ears!
  • Dottie's nicknames: Moomooz (she had what I called cow spots on her chest), Moomoozers, Dotsalot, Skinny Minnie... but when she was in trouble, we called her by her full racing name: Dotsero!
  • Dexter's nicknames: Dexterious, Dexterious the Mysterious, Dexter the Perplexer, Cuddle Bear
  • Their collective nicknames: Mangies, Puppies, Mange-mo-my-moes (don't ask), Smellies (this one was well deserved... Dexter could especially clear a room)
  • The love they always had to share, especially when you most needed it

Sisters Dottie and Noodle reunited.
Dottie: "Oh no, not you again!"

Dexter snoozing a few days before the wedding

Driving to our honeymoon

The only thing Dexter loved more than eating... sleeping

Miss Priss in Seattle making it known that she hated the snow, though it was only a light dusting.

My Skinny Minnie. She was often on a hunger strike, but would eventually give in and eat.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Doing the Math

You may have noticed that I'm keeping track of Norah's weight progress on the sidebar to the right. When Norah was trach'd, we were told that she would only get to come home when she could be transitioned to a ventilator that was approved by the FDA for home use. These vents only go as low as breaths that give volumes of 50cc (think of the amount of air filling a balloon). That is far too much for Norah, so we were told that she would have to be around 5 kilos (11 lbs) to be taking in those kind of volumes.

Well, now the doctors are rethinking Norah's lung volumes. Due to her restrictive lung disease (caused by her small chest space), she isn't going to be able to take in volumes that are typical of most babies. The normal lowest ratio is 10cc's of volume per kilogram. But right now she's at about 6-7 cc's per kilo. Any higher could do permanent damage to her lungs. What does this mean? Well she probably won't be able to transition to the home ventilator until she's about 7 kilos or so. 7 kilos = 15.4 lbs for those of us living in a non-metric land. Yes, that means more patience, many more months of being divided as a family, and of course... more hospital bills.

We had a rough day yesterday. I received a phone call at about 1pm from one of the ENT doctors asking for permission to do a scope down her trach to see if there was something that might be blocking her airway and causing her distress. What distress, you might ask? Well the blue baby blues are back in full force. On Thursday night she had three episodes of desatting to the point of turning blue and needing to be bagged. When I got there on Friday, she was clearly having another rough day (her second bad day this week). She was just so uncomfortable and upset. She had a major desat while I was there alone with her, but fortunately recovered when I bumped up the oxygen on her ventilator and did my best to comfort her.

When they did the scope (they placed a camera with a light down her trach tube), they gave her a sedative that didn't seem to have much of an effect on her. She tolerated it well anyway. They said everything was good there, so we at least can rule that out as being a cause for her troubles. For now we're just going to wait and see how she is over the weekend. South Davis finally got the ventilator and is working to train their respiratory therapists on it. However, so long as Norah continues with these bad days, she won't likely be going there any time soon. Only time will tell though.
Related Posts with Thumbnails