Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's day, then and now

The NICU nurses used to make cards "from" Max to us on holidays. Max's NICU stay overlapped with most major holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Easter... Now that I think about it, given that he spent six months in the hospital, perhaps this isn't such a remarkable achievement.

Last year at this time we were enjoying a Valentine's day card from Max (see attached photo). This year, I got Carolyn a box of chocolates. It's an improvement.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Great Blizzard of the Year 10

The Washington Post has been running a contest to name each snowstorm as it hits us: Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, Snowverkill, Snovetchkin. Back in the old days, we'd just name the great storms after the year they happened in. These storms are just merging into one great mega-storm--treacherous streets, cloudy skies, sudden burst of snow like summer thunderstorms.

The Great Blizzard of the Year 10
Which one is this again? Snowmageddon or Snoverkill?

We had a few days' respite, so the county was able to plow out our road. The appearance of a snowplow in our cul-de-sac was like Paris '44 or Baghdad '03--one of the two.

The first plow in weeks
Do we throw flowers or loot the stores now?

Max has been sick for several days. He's having a few digestive issues, so Carolyn and I are pumping more food into him at night. Where did this come from? Neither one of us is sick, his older brother seems okay. Perhaps it was the Synagis shot?

Angry, sick
Not even the camera will make me smile

In the past, Max has been particularly cranky before a developmental leap of some kind. Today, while Carolyn and I enjoyed a few hours of peace at our offices, it appears that Max got very interested in walking. He can't manage it unaided, but here's a video of him walking with assistance.

Max Pushing His Mailcart from Codered Summer on Vimeo.

Max was tired at the end of the day, but seemed to be in a much better mood. (So was I.)

That's a copy of "The Going to Bed Book" cradled in my arm.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reflecting on reflux

Max had an event-filled week, with his 15 month checkup (complete with two vaccinations) on Tuesday and his monthly Synagis shot on Friday. Somewhere in there Max picked up a cold; it flared up on Thursday and at Friday's shot the nurse reminded Carolyn that "colds get worse before they get better". And then on Friday night it began to snow.

Katy and the Big Snow
Katy, we need you!

Max was a little uncomfortable, but he got to bed without much incident. I worked until midnight and then noticed that there was quite a lot of snow. Don't ask me why, but between midnight and 2:00 AM, instead of sleeping soundly, I went out into the blizzard and shovelled snow. Crazy? But consider this: several of my neighbors were also out at that hour doing the same thing. We agreed that we were just trying to stay ahead of the accumulation, but the storm filled the air with snow and electricity. We were elated to see the old world erased in front of our eyes, and keeping the walks clear felt heroic. Well, what do you expect from a bunch of men on Friday night? None of us could sleep.

Snowmageddon by night
The night was as bright as day

When we woke up, it was still snowing, and there was no way to keep ahead of it. Max's cold really bothered him, and aggravated his reflux. In some ways, I had forgotten that he even had reflux, but when he threw up his morning bottle, we were right back into the fight again. Carolyn and I cudgeled our heads to remember all of the tricks we had perfected to keep food in Max. He was once again like a fragile waterballoon full of formula. We resorted running 100 ccs or so into him during his naps to keep him from getting dehydrated. We also kept the pump rate below 1 cc/min, burped him after three sucks at the bottle and many other precautions we thought were behind us.

Our theory is that post-nasal drip, combined with the ng tube, really inflames his stomach and interferes with its ability to close the esophagus. Maybe it's crazy, but he certainly had a very runny nose.

No-one looks good in extreme closeup

By Sunday night Max's cold seemed to be getting better. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but Max's reflux (to me at least) also appeared to be subsiding. In a few days, he'll probably be back to his old self. But the weekend was a vivid reminder of how we used to live.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pushing and grabbing

Breakfast zoo
Originally uploaded by andreas.lehnert
Max has lately taken to "cruising", or walking while holding on to furniture to help him balance. When given a toy that allows him to stay somewhat upright, Max can manage a controlled topple. In this video, you can see Max pushing his friend O. In addition, Max's obsession with O.'s hair is on display. Perhaps Max--condemned to life as something of a chrome done--is jealous of O's thick, lustrous hair.

You may recall that O. was the victim of a brazen prune-stealing episode in the fall. That case is still under investigation.

The bucket game

The bucket game
Originally uploaded by andreas.lehnert
Max has started to really enjoy his baths. Part of the fun is playing with his bath toys before getting in. In this video, you can catch glimpses of Max taking great satisfaction in throwing plastic cups into the empty bath. (I apologize for the shaky camera work.)