late night walk at the NICU

November 25, 2008 at 5:45 am 5 comments

Hi everyone. It’s late. Alex is having her vitals checked, and preparing to pump one more time before bed (the goal is eight 20-minute sessions per 24 hours…easier said than done). I wandered down to the NICU for one last look at our boys, and one last conference with Sarah and Sandy, last night’s and tonight’s NICU nurses. Sarah’s got Satchel and Pablo, and Sandy has Levi. Levi screamed and screamed tonight – I bore witness to some of it. He of the generally perfect “sats” (oxygen saturation levels, I think) and no heart murmur and freeness and easiness, he the ump who called the game in the 7th inning, is suddenly riled up and vocal about it. Sandy says maybe he’s afraid of the dark, or too hot, or too cold. Or maybe he senses his brother’s plight in the next room. 

Pablo – the big man, the one we thought would come out smoking a cigar, continues to struggle. He’s now on a light morphine drip to ease his discomfort and stress. It seems he was flailing and wailing himself to exhaustion, and that his immature lungs don’t yet have the strength to support such activity while simultaneously carrying on the whole breathing thing. So he wriggled and moaned and yelped and his oxygen levels looked worse and he worked harder to breathe. He already has a breathing tube (he’s “intubated”), and now they’re considering a radial arterial line – a kind of IV directly to the artery in his arm that would enable them to monitor his blood pressure constantly, and to get more accurate readings on his oxygen. He is reacting to the meds he’s been given, and he is slowly falling into line, but more slowly than it seems the NICU staff would have hoped. In general it seems the level of concern surrounding Pablo is slowly rising. Can Levi really sense this from his adjoining room? Is he wailing in sympathy and solidarity with his former cellblock mate, whose woe he can now divine over so great a distance? 

Satch meanwhile is doing pretty well. Murmur murmur says his heart, but he’s breathing room air (that means getting no oxygen help at all) and tonight was having a good time of it. His eyes are so often open, and those gray-blue murky orbs stare right out at you, though lord knows what it is he actually sees. He is limber, contorting each limb in strange semaphore patterns as his hypnotic gaze burrows its way into your soul. Is he a dancer? A thinker? Or just working on his hesitation pitch?

Up on the fourth floor I returned to Alex, who is having struggles of her own. The initial pain killers have worn off, and she’s battling the pain of significant surgery with only minor medicines. I gave her a full report of the goings on one floor down (she had wheeled herself down a few hours earlier) and she and I exchanged worried words over Pablo, whose very name means small. Levi, by the way, means “joined,” or “united.” And Satchel…that just means satchel. So these boys are our small united bundle – and they seem ever so eager to reclaim that pose.

I’ll head sleepward now, thinking good thoughts and knowing that tomorrow’s reports will lift our spirits. Since I started this post my roommate’s breathing has become regular and it appears she’s found some comfort. I hope the same is true of that motley crew downstairs.


Entry filed under: update. Tags: , , .

Satchel’s dance Something new under the sun(lamp)

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike Kupietz  |  November 25, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Dan, I never knew you wrote so well. On top of everything else, you’ve got a little bit of the poet in you.

    Thanks for these comprehensive updates. I’m glad to see you’re taking what must be a very stressful process of watching your wife and new children all require hospitalization with your usual grace and good humor.

    I know in my gut that this all will pass and end with in due time a large, happy and perfectly healthy Sax Sonenberg clan (and sadly, that you will probably be too busy once the kids come home to allow us all be a part of it as you have been.)

    I can’t help but be excited for you. You know, it’s very rare in life that you know you’re at the start of a great, long adventure. Usually you can only define those moments in retrospect. But this is the humble beginning – literally the birth pangs – of something triply momentous. You, me (I hope), Wacks, Lex, Hume and so many other of the people we’ve been lucky enough to know have touched greatness, because we’re all sensitive, astute, artistic. And you’ve done more with it, and I think worked harder on it, than anybody, and built yourself a life doing the things you love – a rarity to be appreciated. Those three dudes are lucky to have been born into the family they were.

    One thought that I continue to be tickled by – it’s a good thing that the SPX-90 only had up 3 voices, because I still can’t help but feel that that long-ago effects preset is somehow connected to this. If it had been Eight Dudes you might be in big trouble today!

    Much love,

  • 2. Mike Kupietz  |  November 25, 2008 at 8:22 am

    By the way, I’m coming around to thinking that one L In Satchel might have been a better idea.

  • 3. Wendy  |  November 25, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Thinking of you both and the small united bundle…hoping everyone is doing better soon! Lots of love, Wendy p.s. Dan, you are a fantastic writer!

  • 4. Erika Meitner  |  November 25, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Hi guys,
    You’re doing a great job with the babies–it sounds like they’re in excellent hands (yours and the docs)! And the blog is lovely & amazing! Make sure they give Alex good drugs. There’s no shame in percocet, and the more comfy she is, the easier (and more fruitful) pumping will be. We went through the c-section recovery & mad pumping too (though not with multiples), and I’m continually amazed at the body’s capacity to heal itself. The slow hallway shuffles and walks, when she’s up to it, will help too….
    Sending thoughts, joy, prayers, love, Bronx cheers, etc.

  • 5. shnootre  |  November 26, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Mr. K, Wendy and Erika – thanks so much – great to hear from you here!

    Mike – I STILL can’t believe you remember THREE DUDES (which was the name of an effects patch I programmed that made one voice sound like three in harmony). Eight dudes indeed…

    Dan and Alex


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