Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Hundred Baby Sized Revolvers

Dear Ellie,

Every day there is something new to fret about.  Some new mass in your lungs.  Some new bacteria invading your throat.  Some imbalance in your blood stream.  Some small thing that could become a big thing that could send the nurses and doctors plunging needles into your arteries or cutting into your tiny body.  “Progress means having more good days than bad days” one of the nurses told me, and it couldn’t be more true.  Your mother and I are carefully training our expectations.  Bad things will happen.  We know that already.  The question is, "how many?"  

In the days since your mother and I have been here, I’ve raked Google Scholar for every contemporary meta-analysis of conditions that occur while a 4 month premature baby matures.  Brain bleeds and necrotizing entercolitis and pneumonia and sepsis of the blood and chronic lung disease, to name a tiny fraction.  It’s like there is a hundred (baby-sized) revolvers pointed at your incubator, each one loaded with a single bullet.  As each day passes, a trigger is pulled, and we hold our breath.  If you are lucky, there is a click, and then silence.  If not, then a bullet spews forth and plunges into some random place in your body.  Perhaps it afflicts you with a glancing wound.  A mild concern.  Or maybe worse.  We haven’t seen “worse” yet, but I fear that it’s only a matter of time.  The nurses tell me to “stop thinking.”  

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