In newspapers, you get blamed sometimes for failing to follow through.
Big splash on the front page: "THIS GUY IS A DIRTBAG!" Then, nine months later, the case winds its way through the machinations, memories fade, the news trudges forward, more scandalous dirtbags emerge, follow-ups get fewer and farther between until -- woopsie daisy -- a blurb is printed on page 43B reading: "Allegations of alleged dirtbaggery allegedly could be unfounded, prosecutors allege."
Critics call it a conspiracy by dirtbag newspapers to rake muck. I say it's human nature: Crises and scandal always get more attention than process, minutia and murky outcomes. When the answers aren't always clear-cut or better than you initially feared, it's even easier to forget the initial problem.
This blog is no exception. In that vein, here's some answers to issues that no longer loom as large as they did a few months ago and some that do.
The spitting of blood: Once a weekly nuisance, it's faded considerably in the past few months but hasn't disappeared. For about two months this summer, Hope would wake up crying. We'd rush into her nursery and see her laying next to a pool of dried blood. We did two endoscopies to pinpoint the problem.
Old pal Dr. Spitenup concluded it stems from her hernia and stomach rubbing against her esophagus. His solution: Well, it stinks, but it doesn't bother her, so live with it. We investigated on our own and believe it was exacerbated by supplemental oxygen fed through her nose as she slept. We have a good friend with cystic fibrosis who uses oxygen. She reasoned that the oxygen dries out her nasal passages, leading to blood that Hope swallows, and then eventually spits up.
We stopped using the oxygen at night. Viola. No more blood twice a week. But the issue persists. A few weeks ago, Hope awoke coated in a mammoth pool of blood so old it was black. We think it was from the rubbing of the hernia.
The eyesight: Six months ago, Hope's eyesight was tested as a matter of routine. The opthamalogist, a kindly, geriatric fellow who inhabits a wood-paneled office that looks like a hunting lodge and I'll call Dr. Speakupsonny, found that Hope was extremely near-sighted and would need glasses when she turned 1. We were crushed. We always thought that, given her hearing issues, it was highly unfair she'd have to wear hearing aids and glasses.
We had a follow-up appointment on Election Day. Dr. Speakupsonny found that her vision has improved, but she'll probably still eventually need glasses. We return to the hunting lodge in six months.
The laryngomalacia: Hope wheezes when she breathes because her larynx is floppy. It's a fairly common, and mostly benign, condition that most kids outgrow by about eight months. She hasn't. That's probably because she is so small. At the rate she's growing, it could be an issue for another 2-3 years. This remains a cause of concern because she could have a very difficult time breathing if she catches a bad cold. Once again, this year, she is having the monthly Synagis shot, the uber-expensive shot to ward off RSV (a respiratory virus) that is recommended for preemies. Dr. Frosty also worries that she's expending so many calories breathing that Hope has a harder time gaining weight. There is a surgery to correct the issue. We are exploring it.
The teeth: Six months ago, I foolishly wrote a blog item proclaiming that Hope was teething. She still could be. But there is little evidence of it. Children with CdLS take forever to cut a tooth. The tooth fairy got tired of waiting by the door, checking her watch and tapping her feet, and was last seen speeding away in a used K Car, listening to, of all things, "'99 Luft Balloons."
The heart: Learning my lesson from the teeth, I am declining substantial comment. For about two months, soon after her birth, this was our biggest concern about Hope. Six months ago, we were told the situation looks good. We have another follow-up appointment soon. I ain't saying another word.
The Dice-K: For weeks, Hope's favorite friend in God's green Earth was a teddy bear of Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, also known in this age of lackluster nicknames as Dice-K. Lulu ate the doll. My sister faithfully mailed a duplicate. Alas, love is fleeting at a tender age and Hope's affections have wandered. Her new love: Big plastic cow on wheels.
The cutie: I am doing fine, thank you very much. And Hope is getting cuter by the day.