Tag Archives: animal

the eric update – day 34: no ROP (yet)! a kilo! wet dogs. and flowers.

day 34: a hand hold with piglet

eric seems to be stabilizing quickly. he only had 6 alarms today, which is a lot better than the 36 he had just a few days ago – and many of those alarms were induced the nurses “meanie” sessions where they due all manner of not fun things to him. and he’s continuing to pack on the weight; tonight he weighed in at 1020 grams which is 2 pounds 4 ounces and means that he’s finally, officially hit the kilo mark! hooray! his breathing also seems to be getting more regular and stronger, which means that they’ll probably try to put him back on the nasal cannula soon.

we were also surprised to find that his eye specialist came by for eric’s initial visit to assess whether or not he any signs of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). we were surprised because we weren’t expecting to see the eye doctor for another week or two. i guess they like to check micropreemies early and often. the absolutely fantastic news is that the doc says that his eyes are “perfect” right now! that said, the doctor cautioned us that it’s nearly a certainty to see some manifestation of ROP in a micropreemie, so they are going to keep a close eye on him ( ahem! it’s an eye specialist joke! ) in the coming weeks.

other than that, all was quiet on the nicu front. we still haven’t been able to resume the kangaroo care, but hopefully that will change over the next day or so.

a day at the dog park. II.

and i have photographic proof that kris and i are trying our best to regain some semblance of our normal schedule. today, we had a little free time and we went to the dog park. our city isn’t very dog friendly, in terms of official dog parks, so we had to become members of a private dog park; prior to eric’s birth we were dog park “regulars”, but haven’t been able to find time recently for all the obvious reasons, much to the dismay of our two dogs. so, today, we were finally able to enjoy a little time away from the nicu with the dogs.

a day at the dog park. I.

a day at the dog park. III.

a day at the dog park. IV.

bees do it

and we even stopped to smell the flowers. even if they weren’t roses.

a small, red flower made quite large

the eric update: walking the dog(s)

what’s my boring life like outside the nicu? well, here’s a couple of glimpses that both involve walking the dogs. with four large dogs in the house and no fenced in backyard, you can imagine just how much dogwalking there is to be done. at a bare minmimum they all need 3 walks a day totalling somehere around 2.5 miles. gina and diane (and ruby) help out a lot, but i to still get my (un)fair share of walking a day, of not only because walking 2 miles a day is a Good Thing.

last sunday, i was walking a typical route, not particularly paying attention to anything as i’m lost in thought about the day’s tasks at hand. as i’m walking up logon street, passing the meyer may house, getting ready to cross onto madison, i find that i have to pay attention in order to not fall into a hole left by the missing curbs ( a funny story itself, someone has decided that the curbs and driveway entrances on our block are not historically accurate, so they’re tearing them out and putting in new ones that look suspicously similar ); as i’m getting ready to step over the hole, trying to manage two large dogs ( a 105 pound malamute and an 85 pound bernese mountain dog ), i hear screaching tires, followed by racing engines. but i can’t quite see what’s coming up the street, because of all the trees and shrubbery in the way. so i continue to step out into the street just in time to see a truck pass by at about 90 miles per hour ( not really 90 m.p.h. but that’s what it seemed at the time since it was only a few feet away ) followed by two cop cars literally in “hot pursuit”. i could hear them continue to race down the street as i wondered what would have happened if the timing had been any different. later i would learn that it was this guy and that he crashed into a police cruiser just about a half a mile down the street. surprisingly, i didn’t hear the crash. you don’t see that everyday, now do you? too bad i didn’t have my camera.

aside from almost getting run over during a high speed chase, most dogwalks are quite unexciting. sure, they like killing small land animals and might pull you down the street in an attempt to maul a cat or squirrel or skunk, but usually it’s just a plain-vanilla walking and poop-picking-upping. and with the poop-picking-upping, you don’t want them to “get the runs” for all the reasons that you can imagine. so, it was with much dismay that i found mauja squatting multiple times and leaving runny, stinky messes everywhere. odd. i thought. hopefully he’s not getting sick.

diane would later ask me if any of my dogs had runny poops. “aha!” she said, when i told her that, indeed, mauja just did. “i suspect that means he’s the one who ate the four sticks of butter off the counter today.” the next day, gina would tell me that his poops would get worse. much worse.

so, if any of our nicu nurses reading this, you can blame mauja for your not getting the multiple loaves of zucchini bread, as he ate all the butter in the house and nobody has time to go out and get any more before the zuccs go bad.

today harper went to the vet and didn’t come back


today harper went to the vet and didn’t come back. after almost a year after we discovered that
harper had epilepsy
, we decided to have him euthanized.

even though i could rattle off the rationale for why it was best for everyone involved, it was impossible to stay composed as i opened the car door and let let him jump in – seeing how utterly and completely overjoyed he was at going somewhere, anywhere, in the car. turning left onto a main street, just a few miles from the vet, from the back seat harper sticks his head out the driver side window – his big, floppy ears flopping in the wind right behind my head; i catch a driver stopped at the cross street light crack a giant grin at the sight. harper pulls his head in and vigorously licks the back of my head and ear just like he always does when he’s really, really happy.

i tend to think of myself as a bit of a modern man. i do dishes. i get a little misty eyed during certain movies. i don’t think i have a problem crying in public. and yet, i was hoping that i could muster a modicum of composure while talking to the vet and her assistants. i had grand plans of maintaining a cold, clinical distance from the actual specifics of the situation. of course that’s not the way it turned out, and before i knew it i had the assistant and the vet crying.

i don’t remember much of the conversations. mostly everyone just reassuring me that i was making the right decision. that there really wasn’t anything left to do. that i somehow hadn’t put much thought into what i was going to do with his remains. that cremation really isn’t that expensive. that i had to decide if i wanted to see the procedure. that even though i’d probably regret it later, i couldn’t. that if i wanted i could stay with him as long as i wanted.

then his lease comes off and is neatly folded and handed to me, replaced with a green, cloth leash. the door opens and an assistant calls for harper in an oddly cheery tone, presumably to not get him anxious. the vet hands me his leash and says she’d like to walk me outside. we walk down the hall, as i make clumsy attempts to gather my wits. the door opens into the lobby and everyone looks up. i see the other customers slowly put the pieces together. teery man with neatly folded leash. and no dog. immediate sadness on faces and quick looks to their own dogs.

i come home and mauja is very upset at having been left out of the car ride fun. and then he looks puzzled when he sees harper’s leash in my hand. i see him quickly deduce that he’s been tricked and harper is either upstairs or outside. he runs everywhere and then gives up and decides that he’s going outside to guard his rawhide that he likes to tease harper with.

it’s natural to try to draw some lesson from all this. this wasn’t the first pet that i’ve seen killed or put down, so why was it so difficult? i think it might have been because he was so young – not even three years old – and so, so completely devoted to you when he wasn’t having seizures. his sole desire in life was to be as close to you as possible. and because of that near infinity of love that almost could vibrated from harper, you wanted to do everything you could to make him happy. but in the end, we learned that disconcerting lesson that everone learns the hard way.

sometimes everything you can do isn’t good enough. and that’s o.k.