Monday, August 04, 2008

The Story of Isaac, part 4

Friday May 28th, 2004.

Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit. NICU. Its pronounced Nick-u.

The hours that Chris is asleep are spent watching over Isaac. Meeting cheerful nurses, consulting with doctors, trying to witness to our social worker. The family sees Isaac. I run out of clothes and begin to get fragrant. UCSD Hillcrest is about 35 minutes from our home God is truly our Great Physician. Hes given me everything I need to keep it together for the last 4 days. Moment by moment I'm sustained as needed, composure sometimes, other times, tears.

On the trip home I lose it so bad I almost crash my car.

The visitors begin.

Mrs. Bentley and I walk into the lobby and I run her through the prep that Ive now gone through several dozen times name, date, relationship to patient, sticker, scrubdown. But this time I learn the hard way, one more question of the lobby nurses needs be regular, Is Isaac Harrell undergoing any procedures at this time?

We roll into the NICU and wander over to Isaacs spot in the room. His monitor bells explode - beep, beep, bongbongbong! Several doctors and a nurse run to his bed. A nurse puts her hand in my chest and suggests we come back later.

As we walk out I see a tube forced down his throat, they begin breathing for him by pumping a bag on the end of the tube We leave, with confusion and, I'll never know why, no fear.

Chris is dignified as ever, and stubborn. Wont use a bedpan for her life. Her BP still wont steady so shes shipped to another floor for 24 hour direct-nurse care. She shares a room with a delusional man who keeps pleading for a drink of water, some poor chump who tried to off himself by drinking bleach, and later a moaning woman whose leg is destroyed car crash, so we talk about buying a Volvo.

Later, we find that Isaac hemorrhaged - his lungs filled with blood and collapsed. Several minutes without oxygen. These things happen when babies are born too early. The word comes, Hes touch and go for now. We caught him in his last minute. We wont know if his lungs are still okay for at least another week or two. We had to give him seven doses of surfactant after pumping the blood out of his lungs. We wont know about brain damage until August. Some babies that go through this, never recover - they never come back.

Isaac isnt even 24 hours old.

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