Friday, March 5, 2010

One year ago

It's been one year since Max graduated from Georgetown's NICU and moved to the HSC. That makes March 5, 2009 one of the four candidates for Max's birthday. The others are his actual birthday, his due date and the day he came home. If we count from the later birthdays, Max doesn't seem as developmentally delayed; indeed, he's downright advanced. More on that in a second.

Looking back on Max's transfer to the HSC, what I remember is the wrenching sense of dislocation as we left behind the nurses, doctors and therapists we'd come to know during Max's 4.5 month stay. We can see now that Max's stay at the HSC was a step on the long journey that brought him home. It's a day to look back at the distance he's come, which is what birthdays are all about.

Nurse K. preps Max for his cross-town journey

Carolyn and I took Max to Children's--right around the corner from HSC--this week to see a developmental specialist (with the Pynchon-esque name of Penny Glass) and to get a routine checkup from the phrenology service. Penny examined Max in a dingy room where the brightest objects were the toys she brought with her. I think the room was designed to minimize distractions. Max did okay on his tests; Penny put his development in the 10 to 12 month range, which would put him right on schedule if we count March 5 as his birthday. The exam itself felt like a play session, with Penny dangling toys, letting him chase balls and so on.

At the hospital
First thing you learn about the hospital: you always gotta wait.

We also had an appointment with the neurosurgery service, notorious for its delays. Max didn't get a CT scan this visit, but we do like to have him seen regularly. His head continues to grow and with his fontanel closing, nature's pressure release valve won't always be available. The neurosurgeons examined Max, measured his head and declared themselves satisfied that Max is on his own growth curve way out at the 99.999th percentile, but at least he isn't jumping to the 99.9999th percentile.

On the couch
Hopefully, hats won't come back into style

During Max's evaluation, Penny remarked that Max's cough sounded as if he had "the croup". I scoffed, insisting that the croup belonged to a bygone era of medicine. However, Max has been sick, so Carolyn took him to the regular peds service. And, of course, he does have the croup. Who knew something so medieval-sounding could still be a problem? And surely I've learned my lesson regarding karmic justice by now? Max is on his second ten-day course of antibiotics for the underlying ear infections and we're applying leeches to control the croup.

With a cold
We just can't seem to keep tissues in the house