Friday, March 21, 2008

More cords!

I'm swearing off grand conclusions about the state of Pippi. For I fear this blog may be a jinx: Announce she's wonderful and she'll melt down for a week; voice fears of that meltdown and she'll delight for days.

We get it, Pip! You are a mysterious, wily little girl. Stop rubbing it in.

Life has returned to some semblance of normal after the hospital. Hope now sleeps with supplemental oxygen from about 9:30 to 6 or so. We think it's helping, but I've learned my lesson about conclusions.

The oxygen is a simple setup. Then again, so are moonshine stills. Both bear a passing resemblance.

Hope is on a small strip, or cannula, that shoots a 1/2 liter of oxygen into her nose a minute. That's connected by hosing to a gray box about the size of a dorm-room refrigerator. It takes room air, humidifies it with a small amount of water and converts it to pure oxygen. It's a glorified air compressor, not unlike the quarter-suckers at gas stations that fill tires.

Hope's bassinet is about 4 feet from the monstrosity, but she's hooked to it by a 25-foot tube. That's enough to make it from our room, where she still sleeps, to her nursery, where she eats. It's also enough to make it halfway to the back door when Lulu is barking before being snapped back by the end of the line. That's great because I was running out of excuses to shout profanities at 5 a.m.

The point of all this oxygen, of course, is to help Hope over the hump during apnea episodes. It may not eliminate those moments when she stops breathing. But it should give her enough reserves to avoid a meltdown for those 3-8 seconds before she catches herself and resumes breathing.

Of course, that involves more cords.

Her foot is wrapped in a device and connected to a portable pulse oximeter, an electronic device that measures the saturation of oxygen in her blood and heart rate. The oxygen rates tell us when she's having trouble. Normal oxygenation is 95-100 percent. An alarm sounds when rates fall below 88 percent. Or when she shakes her foot. Or when we touch her. Other than that, it's awesome.

Seriously, things have worked fairly well. The cats show an unhealthy interest in our new collection of cords. Lulu thinks the oxygen machine is a rival and won't turn her back to it. Initially, it was scary having a large, humming, explosive device that can be used as a bomb in our bedroom. But hey: I'm the bomb too, and Mo is almost used to me.