Tag Archives: dog

the eric update – day 96: welcome home, odin!

day 96: welcome home, odin!

psssst. i’ve updated the post – please scroll down.

he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home! he’s home!

( more later, lots to do )

time passes.

day 96: in the car seat!

we’re home. after 96 days in the nicu i still can’t quite believe that we’re actually home. and despite my slight anxiety that i’d be paralyzed by fear at not having a nicu nurse at close hand, i think we’re doing pretty well. actually, little odin is making things quite easy for us. he’s mostly just been sleeping the day away in the arms of family members that have come to visit. his monitor has gone off a few times, but they’ve all been false alarms. and while there was some concern that moving home might wipe out his “reserve capacity” and bring on another round of refluxing and alarms, he has only spit up a very little bit of food since getting home. so he seems to be handling the transition very well!

day 96: odin unexpectedly meets mauja!

regular readers might wonder how we were released so quickly without having any of the various surgeries that he may or may not need. in an amusing last minute twist the doctors changed the original plan that we discussed with them which involved eric coming home early next week after having surgery for his inguinal hernia. but it appears that scheduling for surgery is quite complicated and they couldn’t get a slot for him in a timely manner and they decided that they didn’t want to have him hanging out in the nicu waiting for surgery; they came back to us a couple of hours later and told us that we could bring him home today. as you can imagine we were, er, quite surprised. in a good way. mostly. so, due to the vagaries of surgical scheduling, we got to bring him home and wait for october 19th to arrive which is when he’ll have his inguinal hernia repaired. with each passing day that his reflux continues to remain under control they are increasingly confident that he won’t need any of the more invasive measure to stop the spitting ( woohoo! no gut tube! ).

day 96: auntie gina, ruby and odin

a large number of people have asked if i’m going to continue the postings now that we’re out of the nicu. i think the short answer is that i probably won’t stop posting any time soon. so if you’ve been following along, keep following along.

as a taste of what’s to come, some of you may remember that we bought a house for the snowdeal show ® with our sister-in-law and her partner and they are expecting their second child very soon. diane’s due date was within days of little odin’s original due day, october 16th, so things should even more exciting than ever, all the more so because she’s having a home birth, which long time readers might remember is what we originally planned as well.

it’s odd to think that within the next couple of days, odin – who just celebrated his third gregorian monthly birthday – will meet a cousin who is the same age, but not. or something like that.

But now, we sleep at home together for the first time! the Beginning of Many More Adventures to Come.

here are a few sights from The Very Exciting Day ( some dupes from above but with more description ).

day 96: next to the last nicu bottle

the whole discharge process took about 3 hours, which is two bottles in bottle time.

day 96: sweet ease

sweet ease is sugar water and it’s given to preemies in the nicu to calm them down. if a kid is screaming or uncomfortable, you’ll often hear a nurse say “just give ’em some ‘sweet ease'”. eric never fussed too much, so he never had much of the stuff ( some of the kids were sweet ease addicts ), which is nice because we never were too comfortable with training him to be comforted by sugar water.

but today it appears that they gave him some sweet ease while they were administering his vaccines, which needed to be done before he could leave.

day 96: last nicu bath

you can’t go home without smelling fresh and clean now can you?

day 96: new home monitor

despite being caffeine free, eric is going to go home with a monitor, so we can make sure that he doesn’t react adversely to the change in environments by slowing his heartrate and respiration.

we had to go to a “class” to learn how it worked as part of the discharge process, which was a little silly because we’re pretty familiar with monitors after 3 months in the nicu.

day 96: going home duds

he’s sleepy after the bath, a feeding an diaper change, but we decide to show off his very cute duds that he’s sporting for the ride home.

day 96: attaching the home monitor

the sensors for the home monitor are held in place on his chest with a cloth “belt”, which a much nicer alternative to the “sticky” leads. they’re cutting the cloth belt down to a proper size as they transfer him from the nicu monitor to the home monitor.

day 96: removing the pulse ox sensor

he’s has his pulse oximeter sensor on almost continuously from the the very beginning, so it’s a little odd to be taking it off for the very last time. what will i do with my time if i can’t stare at his blood oxygen saturation levels for hours on end?

day 96: in the car seat!

woohoo! normally they like to test kids out in the car seat, but we’re leaving on such short notice that we just cross our fingers that he’ll enjoy being in the seat.

indeed, he liked it a lot and didn’t make a peep during the entire process.

day 96: in the car!

that’s right! he’s in the car! he hasn’t melted in the rain!

day 96: odin unexpectedly meets mauja!

auntie gina greets odin when we arrive at the house. mauja hangs back for a bit and then decides that he really, really wants to get a closer look. it’s hard to tell, but if gina hadn’t stopped him, he would have had his front legs on the table and would likely have commenced with licking, which is probably not a good idea.

mauja loves babies and i think he’s going to have a hard time understanding why he can’t plant a wet sloppy tongue on odin whenever he pleases.

day 96: lounging with grandma snowdeal

gradma and grandpa snowdeal came along to help us with the transition from the nicu to home. they held eric for a long time which was nice because we had lots to get done. odin slept comfortably the entire day.

day 96: odin meets cousin ruby

cousin ruby lives in the house that we bought for the the snowdeal show ®, so she’s sort-of like a big sister. she’s been anxiously waiting to meet odin for 3 months. ruby was very thoughtful and brought a balloon along for a gift.

day 96: odin, ruby and grandma snowdeal

ruby is having a grand time talking to baby odin.

day 96: wired in a bouncy chair

we won’t be going anywhere without the home monitor and i’ve found that it’s a little tough to remember to not just pick him up and walk away without grabbing the monitor.

day 96: antiseptic hand wash and apnea journal

the antiseptic hand wash is going to be a very important fact of life for quite some time. anyone who touches eric must wash their hands before picking him up.

we have to fill out the apnea journal anytime the alarm goes off to give the doctors contextual information such as whether or not he changed colors and what we were doing at the time – e.g. feeding. so far, we’ve only have “loose lead” alarms which aren’t very important.

day 96: changing table

hey, it’s a sneek peak at his nursery! it’s sort-of a green-silver-blue with artwork theme. more pictures later.

day 96: first meds at home

eric gets his nightly meds for reflux.

day 96: auntie gina, ruby and odin

auntie gina also lives with us in the house we bought for the the snowdeal show ®, so you might be seeing many more pictures of her, if she doesn’t mind.

they were watching the presidential debate which obviously wasn’t doing much to help keep ruby awake.

day 96: sleepy time in the co-sleeper.  sort of.

it’s time for sleepy time in the arms reach Co-Sleeper®. the only problem is that he’s not so sleepy.

day 97: auntie diane, ruby and odin. I.

auntie diane is super duper pregnant and her due date is within days off odin’s original due date, so she’ll be having the baby very, very, very soon.

day 97: auntie diane, ruby and odin. II.

auntie diane was on the short list of visitors at the old nicu so odin is quite familiar with her belly. whenever auntie diane holds odin, her baby starts to stir, so maybe there’s some sort of baby-to-baby communication going on.

the eric update – day 93: impending exit from the nicu?

day 93: a boy and his dog. I.

we haven’t heard any concrete dates about when he might be ready to go home, but his neonatologist told us today that they are going to consult with surgeons and various specialists and come up with a plan on thursday morning! i don’t think he’ll be going home on thursday, but they said that we’ll have a much more concrete idea on thursday evening about what steps need to be taken in order for him to be discharged! if everything continues to improve, i think we’ll be busting out of the nicu, very, very soon. of course, we’re vigilent of falling victim to the the curse of the nicu and we’re careful to not ever mention that he might be coming home when we’re by his bedside. all the nurses are familiar with the curse and completely understand when we spell out h-o-m-e as we’re discussing the issue within earshot of odin .

day 93: reflux "desat".

it might have been a little bit of an overstatement to say that his reflux disappeared. every so often he lets us know that he’s still refluxing, even though he’s sending very little milk out his nose or mouth. despite the occasional desats, he’s still doing quite well – although his doctors admit that they don’t know exactly how to account for his speedy recovery when just last week it seemed that he was a good candidate for surgery.

the third green line from the top shows a running tally of his heartrate and on the left side of the screen you can see a substantial dip of over 60 beats per minute which occurs when milk has started go up into his esophagus stimulating nerves that slow his heartrate.

the blue line below the green line shows his blood oxygen saturation level and you can see that it also dipped ( known as a “desat” ) as a result of his slower heartrate. his blood oxygen saturation fell below slightly below 80% which is enough to make the alarm go off, but not enough to make him change skin color from pink to blue.

the desat alarm is not too bid a deal, but if his heartrate has continued to fall below 80 beats per minute then a different alarm would have sounded indicating that his heartrate had fallen dangerously low at which point he’d be having an episode known as bradycardia.

day 93: a boy and his dog. II.

when pressed to give the odds, his doctors still think that he has a 30-40% chance of needing the nissen and g-tube surgeries, although obviously they’re getting confident enough to begin the discussions about when he might be able to come home. despite the fact that the odds are increasingly in favor of not performing the surgeries, the doctors indicated that they’ll probably send him home with his inguinal hernia unrepaired on the chance that he’ll eventually need the hiatal hernia, nissen and g-tube surgeries, thus diminishing the chance of needing to put him on the ventilator several different times ( in other words, they’ll hedge their bets and vent him once and perform whatever surgeries they need to perform all at one time ). also, despite being caffeine free, they said that they will probably send him home on a “home monitor”, since they’re not sure if his reflux will return after being sent home.

since it’s impossible to know if his heartrate is fluctuating and he’s desatting when he’s not showing obvious signs of refluxing, i have to admit that i feel a little more secure knowing that he might be coming home “wired”.

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.