Saturday, December 25, 2010

Some Assembly Required - Epic Failure

Christmas Eve snuck up on me, only in that after a long evening of church, dinner and socializing, having settled into the idea of closing my eyes soon so that Santa could work his magic, I was presented with my first late evening parental experience with a cardboard box full of pieces of plastic and metal that in 34 simple steps, the use of a hammer, a screwdriver, a drill and a file (this one was not listed as a needed tool, but ended up being critical) would turn into something Thomas would treasure for at least as long as it ended up taking me, my father-in-law and my brother-in-law (also not listed in the needed tools section) to assemble.

The torture device in question is a Cozy Coupe, a nice little 4 wheel push car, no motor or any moving parts, save for the wheels. And not just any cozy coupe, but the 30th anniversary edition, which means they've had 30 years to get assembly down to a science. To keep things simple, there are no words in the instructions, its all pictures, letters and arrows. Issues #1 was the precise fit (or lack there of) of the pieces. A simple axle through a wheel proved to be a mix between an optical illusion and a defiance of the laws of physics. Some quick file adjustments got us over that hump. Issue #2 was all me. To secure the wheels to the axles requires the use of a metal cap and a hammer. Initially, not wanting to brave the sub freezing temperature in my Homer Simpson pajamas, I attempted to apply the cap to the axle delicately in the living room. This approved both inadequate to attach the cap and excessively loud enough to wake Thomas. So I was forced to brave the cold each time I needed to hammer (6 trips in all). As I was distracted, frustrated and flustered by 5 other people watching my exploits, I managed to apply a cap to an axle without sticking the plastic hubcap on first. An irreversible oversight that has left a blemish on the Cozy Coupe. Basically it looks like Thomas is riding around with a spare tire. Theoretically we can dremmel that cap off. Part of me wants his car to be perfect, part of me wants the reminder of my first attempt.

So Christmas morning went very well. As my dad is recovering from his surgery, they were stuck in Cincinnati rather than making the trek to my sister's in Virginia. Although judging by the weather, that may ultimately have been a blessing. To help my parents get a little Christmas excitement, we brought a laptop into the gift room and used Skype to let my parents watch Thomas enter the room and open his presents. I'm happy to say that he went right to the Coups and really enjoyed it. And he was not overwhelmed by the toy store that lay before him. He took the time to check out each present and enjoyed himself all day. He seems to be impervious to being spoiled so far, but now I have to figure out how to build another room onto the house for all of his stuff. Pledges have been made all around that next year there will be restraint, but that's a long way off and by then, he'll start knowing what he wants. And his birthday is a week away...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twas the Week Before Christmas...

It really twas...Christmas day is 6 days away and we have a spoilage alert! Thomas is about to get bombarded with gifts from grandparents that will be beyond his comprehension or ability to fully enjoy before he outgrows them. I have been as stern and disapproving as I can be. Lots of harrumphs and eye rolls but nothing seems to work. I'm afraid that my beautiful wife is also complicit in this act of treachery. Alas, I've seen the home videos of her childhood and its written that we are doomed to repeat what we have experienced. So I will stand back and watch as Thomas spends as much time playing with ribbon and wrapping paper as what was inside them.


I will provide an update of the festivities later this week. In the meantime, I wanted to touch on a couple of things that are less humorous, but have been on my mind. The first concerns Thomas' grandfather, my dad. Let me just spoil the ending and let the reader know that this has a very happy ending, but over Thanksgiving we learned that my dad had prostate cancer. It was very sobering and scary for all of us. Fortunately prostate cancer is the kind of cancer that you want to get, if there is such a thing. My dad and his doctor were on top of things and caught it early. They went in last week and removed the cancer cells and everything looks really good.

The month that I was aware of the challenge my dad faced and the possibility that things could have turned out much worse were obviously scary. Not only for me as his son, but it brought to mind how important and impactful both of my grandfathers were on me and the possibility of Thomas missing out on spending time and learning from my dad was not a prospect I wanted to deal with. Thomas already has a natural connection with both of his grandfathers. Goes right to them and truly knows them to be something more than the large number of people that fawn over him (he is not want for attention). I am thankful that things turned out ok, because Thomas has to learn the tradition of making waffles from scratch on a random Sunday morning from my dad. Not only because its a memory I treasure, but also because my dad does the recipe from memory and by the time I get up these days, the waffles are already done. So someone needs to get that recipe for me. Best waffles in the world.

The other thing that has me bothered/thinking these days is my little brother in the big brother/little brother program. He just turned 16 and he has reached a point in his life that is truly a crossroads. He's making some really bad choices that will have far reaching consequences. For the first time in our relationship, I am finding myself acting like a parent more than a friend. Unfortunately, I can see in his eyes some of the same "you don't understand or I don't want to talk about this" look that I know I would have had at that age. He's still just a kid and I know he just wants to ignore bad things in the hopes they'll just go away or resolve themselves. The choices he has made, I've warned him against and tried to show him the opportunities and alternatives that are there for him if he wants them. There's really not much more I think I could have done, but I can't help but feel I'm failing a bit. Thomas could easily be him, sitting across from me, not wanting to look me in the eye. In just 2 years, I've seen my little brother change dramatically. In some ways, he's exactly the same, but in others obviously not. He's grown alot. Thomas, too, has grown so much. I worry about the choices that Thomas will one day be faced with and if I can properly prepare him to minimize the mistakes that he will inevitably make. Why do people sign up for this stuff?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Short Stories of laziness

So, I was supposed to post a video of Thomas climbing the stairs last week and I was supposed to post a new blog entry this week. Well, I didn't get around to last week and here it is this week and Thomas didn't do diddley for me to write about (actually he was awesome, is growing and took a bunch of steps, but go with me here, I'm laying out an excuse), so I'm forced to cover for him by posting, not one, not two, but three big time videos. I will have a very stern conversation with Thomas about his responsibility in regards to this blog. I'm pretty sure that will tide everyone over for a little while. I'll be back soon. Thomas says hey.

Thomas climbing stairs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GdsEtvow98


Thomas playing with Tyler
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxK29m1yaSE

Thomas walking with balloon
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfvkOOd8E_w

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Obsession and a Movie Review

Couple days behind this week. I'm blaming the travel days and the tryptophan. We are up in Virginia with my extended family and Thomas' cousins. Mom and son are both a little under the weather. We think this is Thomas' first real cold and he's actually fairing a little better than mom. His nose is running and he's sneezing and coughing, but he's still non-stop. Part of his non-stoppedness (made up word that I just copyrighted, so please send me royalties every time you use it) is his new found obsession and the first real grey hair inducer that he has presented his parents; stairs.


Thomas absolutely loves going up stairs, whether it is one step to get in out of the living room at MeAnn and Pop's or a full set of stairs (which are also at MeAnn's and here at the beach). We've got them blocked off with a gate, but he goes for them every chance he gets and it is just the most awesome thing to him. Maniacal laughter and, at times, reckless speed up the stairs. He's also working on down, but that is too much for me, so I end up hovering about 5 inches from him. We've got a video of him climbing that I will post here.


And the movie review. We drove to Shreveport last week and for the first time, used a DVD to pacify/entertain (Pacytain, copyrighted!) Thomas. The movie chosen, and basically Thomas' first movie to watch ever was the Muppet Movie. Thomas asked me to submit this review on his behalf. I am but a ghost writer, so the opinions and views of Thomas do not necessarily represent those of the site.


"Hi everyone and welcome to Thomas' Back Seat Movie Review. Today I'm reviewing the film 'The Muppet Movie'. A harrowing tale of good and evil. From my research, I've learned that this movie was released over 30 years ago, or 15 Thomas' ago (Get it? Because I'm almost 2 and so 15 of me would be 30! Huh? Huh? Never mind, its my first joke, they're bound to get better once I learn some more words). 30 years, wow! Can you imagine how big iPads must have been back then? I was really looking forward to this movie, because I'm huge follower of Elmo and my understanding is that some of the characters in this movie are Elmo's kin. So, did I laugh? Well yeah, I laughed my head off, but to be honest, I laughed my head off at the Geico commercial with the little piggie, and some times when my mom says 'in a moment', so the bar isn't that high.


Overall, I found the muppets to be colorful and they moved on the screen alot. I really like that. Give me random movements and lots of action and I'm pretty much in. The plot was charming, but I found the number of cameos to be excessive and honestly I didn't really recognize most of them. Eventually I got distracted by the lights of the passing cars, so I don't really know how it ended, but I'm pretty sure since it was a movie about the muppets wanting to make a movie, things must have turned out ok. I give it 3 out of a possible 4 pacifiers. Until next time, here's burping at you."


So there you go, Thomas is a tough but honest critic. Since we're talking movies, Thomas was kind enough to pose for two shots, the first as Harry Potter and the second as Harry Potty. Get it? Huh? Is this thing on?



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Small Step


Week 2 of the new and improved blog. Feeling fine. So I spent a fair amount of this last week considering what I could/should write about. I've got a goodly amount of ideas, but I wonder what is noteworthy and interesting vs. pedestrian and common among all parents. Alot of life now is about making those personal sacrifices that I frankly have a hard time making. As Thomas becomes more mobile and curious and independent, he becomes more time consuming and challenging and exposed to dangers. Whereas before when Thomas would just sit there and we were worried that he was breathing and growing and all that good stuff. Now, he is moving and exploring and into everything he can, so if he's awake, we have to be vigilant and basically on guard duty.
A leash seems alot more plausible and acceptable than it would have before (he is dressed like a dog above, so why not). I guess we won't resort to that, but I'm not entirely ruling it out. So there feels like very little downtime exists for either of us and I know I'm getting more sleep than when there were feedings in the middle of the night, but I still feel really tired. I think Rebecca does too, but you know, its my blog, so we're going to focus on how tough it is on the dad.


So, anyway, the focus of today's blog is this exclusive, never before seen footage of Thomas walking! He's been toying with the idea for several weeks now, but I think we're really getting close and here is the proof. Please enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bL0pB_DW6c4

Monday, November 8, 2010

A New Year's resolution

They are an utter waste of time...unless you start one in the middle of November instead of January 1st. I've missed writing this blog, but much like my homework that I used to ignore, once you let it start slipping, the pile just becomes so unwieldy, its easier to hide from it than to try and tackle. So I've made a promise to myself to try to get back into the groove on this. I'm not going to tell anybody though, so maybe you'll find it and maybe you won't. Of course, if you haven't found it, then you didn't read that last sentence, so I'm only talking to the ones that did find it. Shame on the rest of you for not continually checking the blog while I ignored it. See, now its your fault and I feel better about myself.

Oh yeah, we're here about Thomas. Thomas is less than 2 months from his second birthday. So what has he been up to? Well he's about 19 pounds and about 30 inches long. He presents a challenge for mom and the clothing industry, because he is long and thin, which I guess is un-baby like, but it is dad like, so I'm cool with it.

Achievements. Let's list them:
  • He's really, really good at repeating words. This video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZiP0nbeFYc is just the beginning. Please ignore the fact that we keep our child in a cage outside with a dangerous animal. Its just easier to keep our house clean this way. I will post another to show his vocabulary. He's also good at pointing at things you ask him to point out. he knows how to brush mommy's hair and pretend to feed Elmo the way he gets fed.
  • He's standing. He can pop up and for the most part just hang out without any assistance.
  • He can bench press 10 pounds. It doesn't sound like much, but we're really concentrating on form right now.
  • He's not walking yet, but he can if you hold one hand. He crawls, really, really fast and wants to be able to walk that fast. So when he can't, he abandons the walk for four legs. He also bear crawls and he's started moving on his knees without his hands, kinda scooting.
  • He can open drawers and cabinets and has his eyes on door knobs. Which is really awesome for us.
  • He ate part of a crayon today. This is actually quite huge. Because of all of the tubes and such that he had to have down his throat, Thomas has an aversion to textures and still can't handle solid food without gagging. The crayon was the biggest and most solid thing he's eaten. It was yellow.
  • He knows right from wrong. He doesn't really care, but he does know. There are certain things that Thomas likes to grab or places he likes to go. If we catch him and say no. He crawls away as fast as he can and laughs his head off. Its quite maniacal.
  • He just continues to laugh and be happy as can be. The only times he ever cries is if he gets stuck with a needle, he doesn't want to go to bed, or he misses his mommy. Thomas has really become attached to mommy and he misses her, if she's not around.

So that's a quick synopsis of where we are. I will add more, hopefully once a week is the plan. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Pics

I noticed the other day that all of the pictures to the left are from the first 6 months of Thomas' life. So I thought it best to add another slide show. We're a semi-camera happy family, so I started to load up pics backwards from the hospital story backwards. 900+ photos later, I was able to get back to October 30th. That's 4 months if you're wondering. Some day we'll look back and wish we'd done a better job of documenting Thomas' formative years and he'll look back completely stunned at all the things we put him through for the sake of a photo.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Good problem

Its Sunday night, Thomas, Rebecca and I are all home. I had to scoot out of town Friday and got back this afternoon. In the meantime, Thomas got his release papers Friday afternoon. I had hoped it would work out and I got the word on my way to the airport. Friday morning, Thomas was really starting to come around. He stopped completely rejecting the idea of a bottle and took 30 ccs for me. Rebecca and her mom took over as I ran home to pack and mercifully, they let Thomas go home.

A curious thing happened sometime in the last couple weeks, between the 2 surgeries and the recoveries, Thomas became a mama's boy. Its not something I've talked about much here, because its been a very raw subject for Rebecca. A shortened pregnancy, 6 months in the NICU and the need for both of us to work has been very tough on Rebecca. Despite an amazing ability to put forward a strong front for the public. she's always expressed a disconnect with Thomas, afraid that he didn't see her any different than the nurses or the nanny. I always argued against this, because I could see Thomas respond in very unique ways to Rebecca. But despite my best efforts, Rebecca would blow off my observations, believing that I was only trying to make her feel better (I did want her to feel better, but I told the truth). It was very difficult to witness and just that much more difficult for her to go through. Its been a weekly, sometimes daily discussion and more often than not led to tears.

I don't know if others who have had to watch their child raised in a NICU feel a similar disconnect. Rebecca always said that she lost a bond with Thomas because he was taken from her early. I can logically argue all I want as to how bonds are constantly forming and evolving, but this is an emotional thing that isn't easily resolved by reason.

Its a weird thing, because as a father, traditionally speaking, we're not afforded a defined nurturing role. As much as you may want the whole thing to be a partnership, in the end, its not quite equal. You're not the mother and you can't present any sort of argument to the contrary. I've found it to be frustrating and difficult to relate to Rebecca. Probably, because as a father, I have no choice, the bond I create with Thomas is defined in the actions I take and my ability/willingness to be involved with his life. So it has always been difficult for me to relate to something that she's not sure she has, when I'm not afforded it in the first place. I don't know if that makes any sense or just came off like a psychology text book, but it felt good to write it, so there.

I have always known, never doubted, that Thomas knows Rebecca and me above all others and that he loves us, as much as an infant can love. I believe Rebecca knew it as well, but nothing about what we've gone through is normal and so there is always that constant pang, what did we miss? How is this different than what it would have been under normal circumstances? Thomas has decided to change the paradigm a little bit. He has become extremely clingy to Rebecca. Especially this weekend, he's now most content in her arms and reaches for her when he sees her, even if MeAnn is already holding him. Rebecca is taking great joy in it (we'll see in a week how much fun carrying Thomas is at all times). Its really cool to see.



I don't think there is any such thing as normal when it comes to pregnancy, child birth or child rearing (hence all the grossly inaccurate and/or generic books that are available for your enjoyment), but at least for the moment, I'm very happy that Rebecca feels like a "normal" mom.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thomas' foot

video

Here's a quick little video of Thomas discovering his foot.

Friday Feeding update

Thomas took 30 ml of formula this morning! That's not very much, but its the first time he's shown any interest in the bottle, so I'm pleased. They also just took the IV off, so hopefully Thomas will get thirsty and we can get out of here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday night





















I'm in Thomas' room laying on my favorite couch, which has been my home for the last two nights, and feels oh so inviting for this evening as well. Thomas is asleep, which hopefully will continue through the evening, minus the nurse visits to prod and poke. Last night he did fairly well, the night before not so much. I'm pretty tired, which has made it difficult to generate the energy to give an update. As such, I'm not going to format this entry and place the pictures judiciously within context.


Basically, all we are waiting on now is for Thomas to drink some formula, something he is absolutely not interested in. he's moving around good, sitting up, kicking, eating baby food. Just no liquids. He's on an IV, so that may be working against him. Never the less, he can't go until he does. Its fairly frustrating for all of us. As much as I love seeing Rebecca for an hour or so a day and sleeping on a piece of furniture that can be wiped down, we're ready to go home. Thomas is ready to go home, but he's stubborn as well and he knows what he wants and what he doesn't and there's no reasoning with him.
The last 2 days have steadily gotten better. Rebecca and her mom are doing the day shift, when Thomas is awake. Since he's bed-ridden, its up to them to keep him entertained, which is very draining. He's actually becoming somewhat demanding. He'll drop tears on you in a second if he doesn't have exactly what he wants in his hand. Hopefully this is temporary and he'll go back to his sedate self when we get back home.
I drew the night shift. The first night was very rough. Thomas was still in pain and despite being very tired, couldn't sleep. The slightest noise would make him stir and then subsequently cry. there was an hour stretch where he would dose off, get a body spasm, jerk back awake and cry, over and over. Finally, we decided to give him some drugs and he settled down. Last night was much better, he pretty much slept constantly between nurses visits, as did I. Its very disconcerting waking up and there's a nurse already in the room checking vitals.
Neither shift is good, and its been a little tough passing each other at night and in the morning. Fortunately, Rebecca and I went out to dinner while her mom stayed with Thomas last night and tonight. Two nights in a row of just the 2 of us eating at the same time in the same room is very rare. I could get used to it though.
Its late, so I'm going to grab some sleep while I can.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Video Update from Thomas

video

Well its 10:30 at night and Thomas woke up and wanted to address his public. The quality isn't great, but if you watch all the way through, he has some important words.

9 p.m. update




I'm sitting in Thomas' room listening to him talk and complain and occasionally cry a little. He's a little grouchy and not crazy about having a board taped to each hand. They ran an IV in each just in case and so in addition to having to lay flat on his back, he doesn't have full use of his hands. So yes, he's got lots to say.

All signs are good so far. We expect to be in the hospital for a few days, but he may be sitting up as soon as tomorrow. The doctor said that babies are much more resilient than adults and that what will take Thomas a couple days to bounce back from would take an adult weeks. Not to mention that, unlike adults, when a baby feels pain, they stop doing whatever movement causes that pain.



Rebecca's mom came in to town, which is of great benefit. We're working a bit of a rotation so that we can get out a bit and get things done. Thomas' primary nurse and guardian angel from the NICU, Tina came by this evening to make sure Thomas is on the right track and being properly looked after.




Thomas has fallen asleep, so I think that's my cue to sign off. I'm a little tired myself, so I might try to rest before the next nurse intervention. Every 3 hours all night. Woo hoo...

11am Update - The Consultation Room

Exactly an hour later and the nurse walks up and I was expecting her to hand me the phone again, but she said that it was time to go the consultation room to meet with the doctor. So we quickly gathered up all of our electronics and various bags, as we are loathe to travel lightly anywhere. We rushed into the consultation room and waited for the Doctor. He said everything went well. One large incision, 2 small pieces of bone (one at the base of the spine and one where the cyst is). The doctor found the cyst to be odd, but not threatening upon examination. He couldn't remove it because it was too close to the spine and has sent a sample to be tested in the lab. So hopefully that will be ok. He said when he cut the fat at the base, the spine sprang up a little, which was a good indication to him.

We're back in the waiting room, waiting (ironic). We were fortunate to get our original seat back (the music is still playing from the video game. There's no way to turn it off). Thomas is getting moved to recovery and then later today he'll be admitted to the hospital.

more to come

10am update

We're still in the waiting room. They give us an hourly update from the O.R., which I just got. A nurse actually calls us from inside. Basically all is well. They are still operating. Couple things that we weren't aware of before this morning. They have to remove some bone from the spine to get at it. In the future, it may need to be fused, but he didn't think so and that Thomas should be able to play sports. There is a possibility that the spine could become tethered again, so we'll have to watch out for that. I'll give you another update when there is something to say.

Things that I hate

I hate that surgery has to be so early in the morning that I have to wake Thomas up.
I hate that he is so trusting and happy that he doesn't fight getting into his car seat and doesn't get anxious by the familiar smells and florescents of the hospital. (My dog Charlie freaks out about any building with a linoleum floor because it means the vet, a bath or boarding, maybe one day Thomas will too).
I hate the look of shock and confusion on Thomas' face when
I'm holding him and someone sticks him with a needle to draw blood.
I hate all of the possibilities that the doctor has to disclose that could go wrong right before he takes Thomas away.

I hate the waiting room.
I hate this waiting room with a broken tv.
I really hate the Nintendo Mario Kart game that keeps playing the same song over and over and over.
I hate these chairs.
I don't hate the food in the cafeteria, but I'm not calling
Zagat's.

I hate that we have to put our lives on hold again.

I hate that we're so used to this routine that sometimes the magnitude of the situation is lost on me.
I love you Thomas. I love you Rebecca.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Et Tu Brute?

I still owe and plan to make good on the surgery clean up from a couple weeks ago. There is much to be said about that. But in less than 12 hours, Thomas goes under the knife again, and hopefully for the last time for the foreseeable future. This one makes us all a little nervous, especially Rebecca (she's a mom, so she says its ok).

I think I've mentioned that Thomas has a tethered spinal cord (if not, I just did and we'll move on). A tethered spinal cord is not as bad as it might seem I guess. Basically babies' spinal cords are not fully developed. At the end of the cord are a bunch of nerve endings floating free in a sack of fluid. That sack of fluid can sometimes adhere itself to something else down there. As it happens, this is fairly common with Preemies (I swear, we really should have gotten one of them regular babies). If nothing is done about it, as a baby grows, the spinal cord gets stretched and, needless to say, nothing good comes of it. So the thing to do is go in and untether it.

This procedure is obviously dealing with the spinal cord, so a neurosurgeon performs it. Now the good thing is, as far as procedures a neurosurgeon performs, this is a relatively minor procedure. There is a cyst on the cord that he wants to check out, but all in all, we should expect about 4 hours in the OR, where they will stab him in the back (hence the clever title). From there he/we will spend 2 to 3 days in the hospital recovering. Then he should be completely back to normal. I know Rebecca would appreciate any prayers and well wishes that you can throw Thomas' way tonight and tomorrow. I will update things tomorrow, and maybe get caught up on other blog items.
Mike

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Of Vanity and other deadly sins

So, some of you may have noticed that Thomas is wearing some sort of apparatus on his head, but have been too polite to mention it. Is he planning to play hockey? Does he fall alot? Is he hoping to be cast in the next Tron movie? (Yes, I know this one is for a very select segment, but it was a great movie. Look it up)











Well all are really poor guesses, so shame on all of you. I must admit, prior to being a parent and remotely caring about other people's children (I still really only care about Thomas, no offense to other children who may be reading this. By the way, good for you for reading!), I saw babies wearing helmets and had no idea what was going on. My best internal guess (because I never bothered to ask) was that the helmet was protecting a soft spot or something else that wasn't fully developed. Little did I know that I'd come face to face with the very helmet that I rarely gave a second thought to (probably not as ironic as I'm implying).


Turns out, the helmet is used to shape a child's head, to make it nice and round for that day in the future when Thomas decides to shave his hair either on a bet or in tribute to Michael Jordan. Thomas spent 5 and a half months, mostly on his back, which gave him a rather flat head in the back. The nurses did a great job of rotating him to minimize the effect, but you can only do so much. You basically have 2 options; Option 1, sit back and let nature take its course, hoping that the head will work itself out or that Thomas develops a talent in baseball or bull riding (where a hat is required), or option 2, shape the head with this contraption. This is completely cosmetic and he's not in any danger health-wise. We're just trying to bump Thomas up a notch more on the cuteness scale.


We debated about this greatly. We were concerned about whether this was a good investment, whether the helmet would hurt Thomas, whether we wanted to pile one more thing on Thomas' plate. There were many arguments in favor of not doing anything:
1. He could use his head as a coaster (what a great party trick!)
2. The flatness of his head would make him extremely aerodynamic in the tuck position when riding a bike.

Actually those were the only 2 real positives I could come up with, so we went with the helmet. We're such good parents.


Thomas wears the helmet 23 hours a day and he will probably wear it for 2 to 3 months. It just depends on how quickly he grows. The helmet is designed to encourage growth and we go in once a week or two and get adjustments. They measure the head and shave away the Styrofoam on the inside. He's already making good progress, so hopefully we won't have to wear it too long. It doesn't seem to bother him too much, but he does like to bang it with his hand.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Its Wednesday, so let' start cutting...

Five a.m. It probably doesn’t have much significance, or isn’t a big deal to most people, but in the Elliot household, it’s not a time of day that we see much of. We’re more night owls and thoroughly uninterested in getting up before the sun does. Even Thomas has adjusted and is more than happy to ease into the morning at his own pace. There is very little that would alter that for us; Haley’s Comet seems appropriate or a World Cup soccer match. The other reason is surgery. They always seem to schedule surgery early in the day. Such is the case today. Thomas is currently in surgery for various procedures on his private areas. In the interest of discression and modesty, I won’t get too specific, but he is getting circumcised and having 2 other procedures in the same area. I really hate that I haven’t kept you all up to speed, because there is a bunch that needs to be revealed. Just seems that every time there is something to write, I’m left without time or energy or both.

Oh well, no use crying over spilled blogs. This is a day surgery, so we’re only supposed to be here for 6 or 7 hours. Plenty of time to whip this puppy out. Today we’re at Medical City Dallas, which brings us to hospital #4 on Thomas’ bucket list of hospitals that he just has to visit. We checked in at 6 and scooted upstairs to get vitals and slip into a sexy smock (Thomas got one too). Then down to pre-op, which was (Still is I guess) a large room with about 10 beds separated by curtains. Every bed had a child of varying age waiting to meet with their doctors and get rolled into surgery. I can’t imagine how much tougher it is to deal with your child’s surgery if your child knows that something is up. With Thomas, we have a wild child who is blissfully happy at all times and almost immediately bounces back from anything traumatic. The other kids had fear and trepidation that you could see in their eyes. The doctors and nurses are obviously well acquainted with this, so they do their best to become their friends and make them laugh. It was a lot like watching a standup comedian warm up an audience, but there were 10 stages, so I could hear all of the routines.

We ran into one of Thomas’ NICU surgeons, Dr. Hermann, who had been a favorite of ours. He had performed the hernia surgery and when we saw him today, he remembered the exact bed that Thomas was in when Thomas was his patient close to a year ago. Great parlor trick. Then it was time to wheel Thomas out and scoot us to the waiting room. Medical City has a cool feature. They have monitors all around, similar to at airports that give you an update of the progress of the patient, procedure under way, procedure closing, finished. The nurse gave us a sheet explaining the monitor and said that she would write down a code so we would know which one is Thomas and still protect his identity. The tricky code is: ELL__T, T. Very hush, hush and complicated. Reminded me of the Navajo who were used to transmit messages during World War 2, inpenetratable. Wait…no…they just hid the vowels. Now Rebecca and I are sitting in the cafeteria, passing time til Thomas goes to recovery.

After this, Thomas has one more surgery, the tethered spinal cord. I’ll update you after Thomas gets out.