We received a call from the NICU at 5 a.m., which by itself is enough to make my brain go into over-imaginative hyper-drive. I've grown to dread NICU calls, but calls coming in at 5 a.m. are almost guaranteed bad news. Somehow, I just don't think a 5 a.m. call will be to inform us our daughter has developed the capability to poop solid gold nuggets, thus drastically helping pay for her medical bills.
No, this morning's call was to inform us Zoey had to be placed back on the respirator, since her sleep apnea spells were occurring too often and the little girl was, frankly, becoming exhausted.
This kind of news always seems to come with the proviso that steps back like this shouldn't be seen purely as a negative. Nurses and doctors routinely remind us each preemie baby situation is different, and no one care template works for any two babies. It's all just a great, grand balancing act with expected steps forward and back.
But it's all annoying and frustrating, regardless. I could reassure myself 100 times each day that Zoey going back on the respirator isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it just underscores how insanely precarious her situation is day-to-day, or even hour-to-hour.
We sat down with a social worker today who started us down the additional seemingly impossible path of paying for all this medical miracle work. At the end of the meeting she asked how we were coping, and then she suggested we try to work out a schedule to help us better sleep and recuperate.
It's good advice, at least as far as the words go, but putting together such a schedule seems laughable on its face. In the first place, my wife can't drive until her c-section incision heals and, speaking as the guy who dresses that gaping wound every morning and evening, I don't think she'll be driving any time within the next month. Therefore, getting to the hospital is basically an impromptu family affair, unless we manage to secure a babysitter, which is itself a rather murky undertaking. Each day has so far been a remarkable exercise in improvisational logistics.
Sheer exhaustion is another major player in all this. I managed, at most, about 45 minutes of sleep last night, and what sleep there was was haunted by incubator dreams and Finn's passing, to say nothing of the financial calculations ringing in my head in a seemingly endless stream. Focusing on actual freelance writing work when I can steal away even for an hour is almost an exercise in futility.
We have to remind ourselves daily that the last couple weeks and the upcoming three or four weeks have been and will be the hardest of this whole ordeal. Gradually, things simply have to get better. When I think back to the first three days, it's almost downright shocking we managed to pull ourselves through that inky blackness. I'd likely remember it all only as a blur of activity and emotion if I hadn't written it all down while it was still fresh in my mind.
Hopefully, tomorrow will begin with good news. If not, it's not like we haven't had a lot of practice dealing with the alternative lately.Posted by Ryan at January 13, 2011 08:35 PM | TrackBack