Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Views from a Hospital

I haven't much to add, today.

But I have been reminded that people are looking for updates on our boy.

There is substantial confusion, it seems. There is no uniformity of opinion as to why B. has got this rare disease. NEC afflicts 3-5% of premature babies, and the majority of those are 28 weeks gestation or younger. B. may be premature, but he was born at 34 gestation. And he has got it not once but twice. The best guess that our doctors have is that our boy has a severe milk allergy - unfortunately, this is not easily testable or provable.

So we are in a holding pattern, waiting for the end of the antibiotics, rejoicing that he (and his X-rays) are looking better, waiting for the scary part: reintroducing food. We are praying that this time his bowels will be able to handle it, and that "NEC" will fade from our vocabulary.

On Fatherhood

Today I was asked, again, what it felt like to be a father. I fumbled through an adequate answer, as I have each time before. Wonderful. Amazing. Defining. As good as I imagined, and better.

Here is what I should have said:

My dear interlocutor, fatherhood is the best of me. When I am apart from my son, I am shallowed, hollowed, and incomplete. My son is the centre of my small universe, and in his cot is where my heart lies; my home is his hospital room.

Dear friend, in fatherhood my love is not weakened or divided but trebled and quadrupled, beyond the paltry limits of how I thought I could love. The wreck that these difficult times should have made me has been filled up to overflowing with the grace of God, making me better than I am. I am a father, but not fully a father yet, and God is making me the father I could never be.

But, O inquisitor, at the same time this fatherhood is analogous to a child's experience of a petting zoo. He meets, greets, and pets the zoo's puppy, and goes home. Then after begging his parents to return, he goes back to the zoo, where he spends the day with 'his' puppy under the watchful eye of the zoo's proprietor. His family are on the rides or eating cotton candy, but he lives for that small dog. Sometimes the people running the zoo are impatient with him because he is underfoot constantly - sometimes they grant him more liberties because they know how he handles the pup. But no matter how much he feels like he 'owns' the dog, that small child will never be the owner until his parents break down and pay the exorbitant amount for which the zoo asks.

And in my case, I am still waiting for my Father to break down and give me that for which I so ardently yearn.

- V.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

August 11th Moments

It was a beautiful day today, and I had a chance to look out over a sunlit panorama of a sylvan city, seeing it from a new vantage point with fresh eyes.

Today I noticed that even the lunch ladies at this Children's Hospital are gentle. Nurses, doctors, and specialists all betray signs of humanity, and it is so refreshing. No one has told us to go home or opined that we could take 'a day off'. Our opinions and our observations are heard, and respected.

The halls are covered with beautiful artwork.

There is a children's library.

I was able to read Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin while rocking my son in a well-made glider, we two resting skin-to-skin.

While our boy is sick, looks sick, we feel confident everything possible is being done to heal our son as fast as possible.

... Moments of divine grace.

- V.


the·od·i·cy [thee-od-uh-see]
–noun, plural -cies.
a vindication of the divine attributes, particularly holiness and justice, in establishing or allowing the existence of physical and moral evil.
[Origin: 1790–1800; THEO + Gk dík(é) justice + -y, modeled on F théodicée, a coinage of Leibniz]

I was told that theodicy dealt with the problem of evil: ie., why do bad things happen to good people?

Why do bad things happen to the innocent?

Murder, infanticide, abortion I can understand - God must allow the free will of the evil man as well as the good, and the will to choose both good and evil. But why does He allow His little ones to suffer pain where free will is not involved? What have they done? They can't understand it, rationalize it, numb it with drugs or dissociation ... why must they suffer the pain of illness?

And why must I hear the heart-cracking wails of my infant son? The nurses do not find his veins with just one try; an IV today took 50 minutes of trying, and crying.

B. starts crying now if his legs or arms are grabbed - he anticipates the needles and the blood-work that will come.


We have been transferred to the local Children's Hospital, into the NICU there. B. is showing signs of a recurrence of NEC.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

- V.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Minor Malaise

Last night I dreamt that it was a little over a year from now... and E. was giving birth to twins.

I would leave B. in his cot on one floor of the hospital to provide labour support to E. on another.


Thinking about it in the daylight, I wondered at how deep into my unconscious has sunk my despair over B.'s interminable stay. For I despair of ever getting him home. I wonder if they will continue to experiment with his diet until he is old enough to eat steaks, and asks for them in polite Queen's English.

It isn't anything major that has precipitated this malaise... just mind-numbing fatigue coupled with a couple unpleasant facts: that B. appears to be rejecting his new formula, that his hemoglobin continues to drop with no transfusion scheduled, that he has lost 7 ounces in the past three days, and that he has been over three weeks in hospital with no end in sight.

I shouldn't complain. God has been so gracious to us. So merciful.

But I am griping. A little. We do want our boy home.

- V.

Friday, August 3, 2007

This blog is rated...

Who knew?

- V.

Update on the Boy

So, 'tis Friday.

First, B.'s X-ray showed nothing but what they expected to see ... gas, and no signs of the NEC. Second, the run of antibiotics finished today. Third, my boy started back on feedings (small amounts increased by even smaller increments), but on an "elemental predigested formula" as opposed to Similac, which the hospital here gives all preemies.

I've never been so delighted to see a child eat... and the suction power, the gusto!

It is a joy to have reached this point in B.'s hospital stay, and I thank God for His mercy.

- V.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Some Ochlophobic Wisdom

I had a chance to look at a couple blogs yesterday, and to my delight the Ochlophobist has produced a masterful apologia along the lines of my much shorter "I believe".

He covers the following themes in a decade of sophic pearls:
1. Rest. True Sabbaticals...
2. Quiet. I should have covered this in my article.
3. Environmental privacy. A practical solution to environmental issues - the simple Golden Rule.
4. Agriculture. I detect traces of Wendell Berry here, as well as my beloved locavore.
5. The value of money. I heard Ron Paul speak thusly.
6. Usury. Bravo! One of the few things from the Old Testament that Protestants have decided to ignore completely, usury needs to be crushed within Christian circles at a minimum.
7. End aesthetic violence. "Signs, signs, everywhere signs..."
8. Education investment. This needs a response. Suffice it to say that while I enjoy the concept, I would take issue with the implementation thereof.
9. Truth in product speech.
10. Roads.

- V.